The 'Gatekeeper' theory

The Mother Jones article linking Dave Rubin to the Alt Right drew criticism from across the political spectrum.  However, a number of prominent Rubin critics rushed to defend the article.  Chief among them was blogger and social media presence Alex Katz.

Alex Katz has emerged as the most vitriolic critic of Rubin's show.  In an extended discussion with a Canadian fan of the Rubin Report, Katz condemned Rubin for hosting the likes of Paul Joseph Watson and Mike Cernovich, giving them softball interviews, and not challenging their fringe views.

For Katz, the media have a responsibility to act as Gatekeepers.  The media cannot simply present the views of Sandy Hook truthers, for example, as if they were an equally valid opinion.

This criticism misses the mark.  The purpose of an interview show is to introduce the public to interesting people.  The interviewer's goal is not to debate his guest, but to give the public an understanding of who the guest is and what he believes.

Progressive talk show host David Pakman invited Richard Spencer on his show not to debate him, but rather in order to gain a greater understanding of the Alt Right.  Hosts often interview fringe figures in order to better understand the movements they belong to.  The idea that an interview on its own is some sort of endorsement makes no sense.

Further, Katz conflates individuals with opinions.  The fact that someone holds absurd opinions on one topic does not preclude him from having intelligent things to say on other topics.  Paul Joseph Watson, along with his boss, holds many strange beliefs; that doesn't make everything either one of them says wrong.  A well supported claim advanced by a conspiracy nut is still a well supported claim that must be evaluated on its merits, not dismissed out of hand because of the source.

Most importantly, the public has a responsibility to make determinations of fact.  In a free society, the public decides what is true and who is credible.  Perhaps we would be better off if a collection of wise and learned experts told the public what to believe, but that isn't the society we live in.

Katz's position assumes that the public isn't smart enough to decide whether Sandy Hook was real or a "false flag" concocted in order to take away our firearms.  That view does not give the public much credit.

If Dave Rubin were a reporter charged with making determinations of fact, he would be responsible for evaluating the merits of what his guests have to say, but that isn't his job.  His job is to provide the public with an understanding of who his guests are and what they believe.

The Mother Jones article linking Dave Rubin to the Alt Right drew criticism from across the political spectrum.  However, a number of prominent Rubin critics rushed to defend the article.  Chief among them was blogger and social media presence Alex Katz.

Alex Katz has emerged as the most vitriolic critic of Rubin's show.  In an extended discussion with a Canadian fan of the Rubin Report, Katz condemned Rubin for hosting the likes of Paul Joseph Watson and Mike Cernovich, giving them softball interviews, and not challenging their fringe views.

For Katz, the media have a responsibility to act as Gatekeepers.  The media cannot simply present the views of Sandy Hook truthers, for example, as if they were an equally valid opinion.

This criticism misses the mark.  The purpose of an interview show is to introduce the public to interesting people.  The interviewer's goal is not to debate his guest, but to give the public an understanding of who the guest is and what he believes.

Progressive talk show host David Pakman invited Richard Spencer on his show not to debate him, but rather in order to gain a greater understanding of the Alt Right.  Hosts often interview fringe figures in order to better understand the movements they belong to.  The idea that an interview on its own is some sort of endorsement makes no sense.

Further, Katz conflates individuals with opinions.  The fact that someone holds absurd opinions on one topic does not preclude him from having intelligent things to say on other topics.  Paul Joseph Watson, along with his boss, holds many strange beliefs; that doesn't make everything either one of them says wrong.  A well supported claim advanced by a conspiracy nut is still a well supported claim that must be evaluated on its merits, not dismissed out of hand because of the source.

Most importantly, the public has a responsibility to make determinations of fact.  In a free society, the public decides what is true and who is credible.  Perhaps we would be better off if a collection of wise and learned experts told the public what to believe, but that isn't the society we live in.

Katz's position assumes that the public isn't smart enough to decide whether Sandy Hook was real or a "false flag" concocted in order to take away our firearms.  That view does not give the public much credit.

If Dave Rubin were a reporter charged with making determinations of fact, he would be responsible for evaluating the merits of what his guests have to say, but that isn't his job.  His job is to provide the public with an understanding of who his guests are and what they believe.