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Hit-job journalism misses the target again Jordan Peterson's critics continue to ignore the most interesting thing about him

Peterson walks away unscathed (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)

Peterson walks away unscathed (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)


February 5, 2021   4 mins

The hit-job interview is a staple of British journalism. There is, I suppose, an obvious attraction to it: while it can destroy its subject, it can also make the career of a journalist. And yet for the reader, listener or viewer, it can also be deeply boring — for the simple reason that if the journalist makes clear their conclusion from the outset, there’s no chance of having a reasonable discussion. People who agree with it rejoice, those who don’t switch off. Nothing gets learned; no ideas are properly discussed.

Such was the case with an interview published in last week’s Sunday Times by the journalist Decca Aitkenhead. Her subject was Professor Jordan Peterson, and, like everything to do with Peterson, the interview has kicked up a fair amount of fuss — principally because it was so mean and hostile.

Peterson has been exceptionally ill of late. Since he withdrew from public life 18 months ago, he has almost died a number of times. He has since recovered, and will next month publish the sequel to his phenomenal bestseller ’12 Rules for Life’.

A fortnight ago, we spoke together publicly for the first time since his illness and discussed a number of themes, ranging from last month’s storming of the Capitol to the meaning of life. Despite the terrible health issues he has had to endure, I was relieved to find Jordan in fine working order. As ever, he was thoughtful, engaged and intricately knowledgeable.

Our conversation lasted just under two hours, but — as is usually the case with Jordan — it left me wanting more, as is the way with any serious discussion. Although hers was an interview with Peterson, rather than a discussion, it is obvious that Aitkenhead, who has spent much of her career at the Guardian, had a very different aim.

In the fallout since the interview, the Peterson family have made public the messages that The Sunday Times sent in an attempt to persuade Peterson to do the interview. These communications talked of the sympathy that the journalist felt towards Peterson after his ill-health. A commissioning editor at the paper wished him well and described how the profile piece “would cover his life and career to date”. The paper promised: “We run longform features, telling the whole story, rather than short flashy headlines.”

The resulting piece was headlined: “Jordan Peterson on his depression, drug dependency and Russian rehab hell” — which while not “short” is hardly the opposite of “flashy”.

The same standards appear to have been applied to the piece’s accuracy. During the interview, Aitkenhead made a number of serious errors — including the claim that Peterson had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was immediately repeated in newspapers around the world, before the Peterson family posted a recording of the interview, showing that it was incorrect. Ordinarily accusing someone of schizophrenia would be a major issue; that it has only formed a part of the discussion surely says something about the relentless hostility of the rest of the interview.

Atikenhead seemed unsympathetic to Peterson’s illness. And a considerable portion of the interview is dedicated to disparaging Mikhaila, who had helped to facilitate the interview. As is clear from the recording, a number of Aitkenhead’s claims  — such as that Mikhaila at one point “interrupts sharply
 raises her voice and waves her arms” — are what a benevolent editor might call “colour”, but what other people might call “exaggeration”.

And it is the ‘colour’ that Aitkenhead pumps into the piece that is so revealing. For example, we are told that Mikhaila talks “with the zealous, spiky conviction of a President Trump press spokeswoman”. Why — of all the women in the world — might that imprecise example come to mind, other than to try and force a link between Trump and Peterson? Elsewhere, there is little subtlety: “Parallels with Donald Trump come to mind; another unhappy man closed off from his emotions, projecting strong man mythology while hunkered down in a bunker with his family against the world.”

Such a comparison is so inexact as to be wilful. Regardless of whether Donald Trump is “closed off from his emotions”  — and that never seems to have been his problem — Peterson’s connection to his own emotions, and indeed his fragility while speaking in public, is one of the traits that makes him most unusual. I have seen large auditoriums hold their breath as they have heard Peterson’s voice teeter on the edge of tears. But that needn’t bother Aitkenhead, who seems more intent on carrying out hits.

That would certainly explain her diagnosis of Peterson’s recent battle with various prescription drugs: “I wonder whether toxic masculinity might have been a culprit.” But how does such a claim bring any value to her piece? Why use the term “toxic masculinity”, as though it is a genuine medical condition which can only be diagnosed by journalists of a certain political persuasion?

The problem with all this is that not only does it reveal an interviewer’s ideological motivations, but, more importantly, it means that the reader doesn’t learn anything of value. Of course, the fact that Jordan Peterson has been ill is of some interest.  But it is the least interesting “interesting thing” about him.

Yet the same mistakes continue to be played out over and over again — each time being replicated almost exactly. In her piece, Aitkenhead refers in passing to the now infamous exchange between Peterson and Channel 4’s Cathy Newman: “His explosive confrontation with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News in 2018 resulted in the network calling in security experts after some of his supporters posted abuse and threats online.”

In fact, that exchange was a rare glitch in the media matrix. Channel 4 sent their interviewer in to do the usual, crass and ill-informed hatchet job. She was meant to put words into her interviewee’s mouths, deliberately misrepresent his thoughts and then send him packing, only for Peterson to expertly turn the tables, reducing his interviewer to silence. But as this latest incident demonstrates, Channel 4’s failure seems to have done little to discourage journalists from burnishing their portfolios with hit-jobs.

In the end, what’s most striking about Peterson’s Sunday Times interview is how it proves that a certain type of journalist simply won’t give up. Even after all these years, the attempt to bring Peterson down continues. But by continuing their crusade, his detractors continue to ignore the most interesting thing about him: why it is that Peterson has made such a difference to peoples’ lives.

For that is an unusual phenomenon; unusual on such a scale that you’d think a journalist might care to find out what is going on here. Yet once again, the person sent to do over Peterson was not acting as a journalist, but as an ideological opponent hoping to finally take him out. And once again, the person who came off worse was not the subject of the interview, but its author.

 

 

 


Douglas Murray is an author and journalist.

DouglasKMurray

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adrianvandenboer
adrianvandenboer
3 years ago

The constant attempt by many main stream journalists to tear down Dr. Peterson is quite frankly disgusting.
Choosing to misrepresent many of his views and ideas at every turn and doing their best to find small morsels of things he’s said in which to feed off of to fit their own personal agenda and narrative is still far too common. Using a friendly worded and sympathy-ridden e-mail in order to convince to sit down for an interview so a hit piece can be written about him afterwards while he’s in a vulnerable state after his long and horrible illness and then only go on to mischaracterize his illness, his ideas, his character, and to not only demonize his daughter, Mikhaila, but also call into question the validity of her own medical conditions with which she suffered from for most of her pre-adult life, is just plain evil and manipulative. It’s quite possibly the worst piece of journalism I’ve ever seen for not only the amount of unwarranted vitriol in the author’s article, but primarily the means by which this interview was procured, which was just manipulative and evil. I call into question this author’s morals and ethics as they clearly seem to be lacking them based on their malevolence in procuring the interview by lying about what kind of article was going to be written and then just to go on to write an article full of contempt and malice.
This is why so many have a difficult time trusting journalists and media outlets and it’s because of situations just like these.

Nevertheless, great article once again, Douglas. (Also loved the conversation between you and Jordan)

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Hear, hear. I read the “interview” and smelt a vast swarm of rats – from the Trump comparisons to the “diagnosis” of severe mental illness, to the clear, bitter hostility to Peterson’s ideas. The exchange with Newman was depicted as a “clash” when in fact it was a car-crash – for Newman, in both professional and argumentative terms. And I write as one who has not always been convinced by the Peterson prescription; I’m just interested in the utterance of a brave, contrarian, individual voice. It is voices such as these which are needed more than ever, today; and which the left is more and more spitefully dedicated to suppressing. If one truth emerged from Aitkenhead’s blather it is this: that a continual media pile-on, the neo-Stalinist trick of petty persecution which the reds go in for today, with their hypocritical squeals of “hate-speech!”, takes its toll. And it’s time it was stopped.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Clearly the Aitkenhead woman had learned from the error of others. Clearly she wasn’t going to tackle JP face to face in front an audience and have herself casually made a fool of.

So she took the cowards way. The way of the person who comes across as sympathetic, honest and fair – only to stab you in the back later.

James Penrose
James Penrose
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

That’s exactly right.

Tim N
Tim N
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I started to read the article and as soon as I came to the lie from Channel 4 about hiring security after the Cathy Newman humiliation, knew it was going to be a hatchet job as revenge for humiliating a sister. The supposed threats were just a smokescreen to turn the aggressor into a victim. The Channel 4 news editor Ben de Pear has form for far-left sympathies.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Tim N

If I remember correctly she was really poorly prepared and thought he’d be a push over. When Peterson described how many Women weren’t pushy enough to suceed, and that he’d worked with many women to help them be more assertive it didn’t fit her narrative.

When he pointed out that she clearly was an assertive and successful woman she even smiled – because she knew he was right.

The online threats were real, the vast majority were against Peterson.

As another commentator has said, I’m not 100% on board with Peterson – but he’s interesting, talks about ideas, criticises left and right, and interested in decent outcomes for everyone, not viture signalling.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

“If I remember correctly she was really poorly prepared and thought he’d be a push over.”

I think a lot of people thought that up until that moment. I certainly did. He has that thing that a lot of very clever people have of being constantly mid thought, open to new information, which can make them easy prey. They can appear too tentative, too uncertain.

But he’s developed some pretty good strategies for dealing with that. And he stays remarkably calm, though you sense it is quite an effort.

I saw him on question time after that, and you could tell everyone was a little bit scared of him. The whole panel looked like they were suffering from imposter syndrome.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Peterson is either a genuine thinker capable of deep genuine thought or a really really good actor.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

The whole panel looked like they were suffering from imposter syndrome.

HeeHee! I saw that programme. You’ve put it well. Thank you!

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Hope a peaceful way to stop people like Aitkenhead is found. If not it won’t be long before someone tries other methods. Traditionally activist hiding as journalists are stopped in an extra- judicial way – Saudi and Myanmar govts are good examples, but the death squads and cartel hitmen across the poorer parts of the world are equally effective though often putting as much emphasis on deterrence as retribution. Hopefully it won’t come to this but i for one am not going to bet on it!

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

…by the Trump impeachment standard, you are now a fugitive from justice, for inciting an insurrection.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

A peaceful way must be found. There is no other. And luckily the blob which is currently strangling our society has a number of massive weak points. In the first place its belief system is risible and contemptible; in the second it remains unpopular with the broad majority and in the third it is heavily dependent on subsidy. Expose the first, exploit the second and act on the third and within five years normality will be restored – just as Mrs Thatcher restored economic normality after years of social democratic flab. We just need a political party prepared to articulate these points. It might – just might – be the Tories IF they can rediscover their backbone.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

I agree with your analysis… But don’t think the tories are the party to do it. Frankly I can’t see much difference between them and labour. The saviour we need doesn’t yet exist. One day it may…

Eddie Johnson
Eddie Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Agree sadly. Boris and his cabinet have simply gone AWOL as the culture war rages around them and wokeism takes an ever firmer grip across all sections of society.
I have to keep reminding myself that Johnson, not Corbyn, won the election.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Johnson

Unfortunately the Trojan horse is already in Downing Street, with its anchor baby

Jim le Messurier
Jim le Messurier
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

If only….but you never know.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Dead right its time it was stopped. Until recently I believed the notion that between two opposites there is middle where you should try to find consensus. I now think this is a fundamental weakness in liberal democracy. I believe the instinctive tolerance of our society has been abused. The conservative position has constantly conceded ground in order to appear conciliatory and avoid conflict and partly through laziness and complacency. It has been exploited as a sign of weakness a case of give an inch and they take a mile. I say its time to stop accepting the seemingly small points you don’t really agree with for the sake of peace and quiet. Statements such as ” Yes of course there is racism (sexism etc etc) but we are getting better”. If it justified and I believe it is in many cases we should be saying ” No that is a complete exaggeration and distortion those accusations are inaccurate malicious and divisive, I don’t accept your accusation”.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

Quite so. And if this means expulsion from “polite” or “craven” society, so be it. It is the only way that this malignant tide can possibly be turned. But we also need to elect a government prepared to take the Blairite state to pieces; to restore the presumption of innocence – so no more McPherson – and to smash the quangocracy. And that would be a mere start. The blob which is currently asphyxiating freedom is composed of cancerous growths of slanted bureaucracy, media and academe. This must be relentlessly sliced away from the healthy and necessary tissue.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

I live in BC; just learned today that the Royal British Columbia Museum in our capital city Victoria, an institution that’s over a century old, is having its own little woke meltdown and bloodletting right now. The CEO has resigned and our woke leftist Premier is calling for a full “inquiry” into supposed “systemic racism” at the museum.

barryjohncasey
barryjohncasey
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

The Times has gone to the dogs.
Its reporting has taken a massive swing to the left.
You cannot out-Guardian the Guardian

Tim N
Tim N
3 years ago
Reply to  barryjohncasey

Amen
https://www.conservativewom
Every week the Sunday Times shows its new colours. If it goes down the pan it will be the fault of Brooks and Brooks alone.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Newman was made to look very silly so easily by Peterson as he turned her cheap attempts at entrapment onto her own head. Her gratuitous aggression, intellectual limitations and sheer bigoted arrogance were exposed for all to see.

I have never watched her since -her appearance is an instant turn off- as indeed is any edition of Snow’s intolerable C4 “Marxist Feminism Today” News .

That we fund his agitation propaganda and allow it to be called “News” is just anther disgrace surrounding the vertical collapse of the objective integrity of our national media. It seems that Aitkenhead is of the same stable. How tired we are of Woke Female journalists showing us their virtue politics – hopefully Andrew Neil promises change and a long overdue fight back!

Covid of course has merely added to the mountain of evidence that our Media no longer serve out interests or represent our views .

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Very well said. Thanks to the systematic exclusion of the right from celebrity, influence and power, society is resolving into a “them and us” situation very conducive to some sort of rebellion – a “counter-revolution”, so to speak. Here’s hoping.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

Main stream media journalists are not journalists, they are political activists. As you can read from the article, they constantly bend the truth to fit the narrative.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

Journalism is very poorly rewarded except for a few – a handful – of heavy hitters. Many work for free or next to nothing just to have their names in the paper.

That’s why it appeals to the Left activist. No decent job to go to they can have their bile spread far and wide for free through journalism.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Spot on…and there is also the creeping influence of click baiting, for the title and the writer, online. Clicks and interactions become the currency of choice, so the more sensational the peice the better (as we , here are in fact proving in an admittedly tiny way).

I imagine some of the Canary and Novara crew are missing the steady stream of pundit appearances on TV shows, and late night newspaper review gigs etc ( or the fees, I mean) after the star they had tethered their crareers to crashed and burned in the December 2019 election.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

Boy, this is so profoundly true that is almost painful. Honest journalism has disappeared everywhere!

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
3 years ago

And the really sickening thing was listening to the tape in hindsight. Aitkenhead comes across as sympathetic, understanding and compassionate. I felt quite sick listening to her – what a gross betrayal of trust.

David Waring
David Waring
3 years ago

But its so like the so called liberals who have adopted the communists disinformation strategy of calling people who aren’t Fascists.

Joe Smith
Joe Smith
3 years ago

At least they didn’t pull the old newspaper trick of saying if you don’t give us an interview then we’ll make something up. That’s the best that can be said of this situation.

Baron Jackfield
Baron Jackfield
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Smith

… but then she went ahead and wrote a load of vicious fiction anyway. One wonders why “journalists” actually bother to waste their time “interviewing” their targets when the piece is already planned to fit the agenda.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago

I have absolutely no idea what threat he poses to them or whomever. Where does this antagonism/hatred of JP come from?

It’s a great gateway out of their cult to be honest: to reveal their utter insincerity. It’s got one of my friends out of wokeism and I plan on using it regularly.

adrianvandenboer
adrianvandenboer
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Agree 100%

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

It is very simple: Peterson provides a stable intellectual basis to criticize the madness, that has captured us. The attempts to denounce him as “far right”, or supporting “toxic masculinity” are like the usual accusations of “white supremacy” designed to destroy him, because none of these allegations contains any truth.

All these allegations are made up because this way everyone involved knows on whose side you are on. If you support the lies, it means you accept the ideological constraint and you will continue to accept them. This way the system can pressure people into consent. If you share the lies, you are part of the group. If you call them lies, you are out.

Petersons ideas are attractive because they are bound to scientific facts and history and try to create a relationship to truth. Like every other set of ideas, they are not perfect or complete, but he never has to say that they are. The ideas are accurate and consistent, while the crazy mainstream narratives are on purpose not. Their ideas change all the time and the task of being a believer is to repeat the actual narrative without any expression of doubt.

That’s what these people hate about Peterson so much. He is asking you to question the narratives and he is giving you intellectual tools to do that. Peterson is a classic heretic, who challenges a corrupt elite of dogmatic clerics.

If you support Peterson you have made a statement that you don’t belong to the group. The more blatant the lie you repeat the more you belong to the woke cathedral.

It is the way power always creates its own realm.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Excellent analysis.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

I wish I could give you two upticks Jurek. Thank you.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Great comment, Jurek.

Gary Richmond
Gary Richmond
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Excellent analysis Jurek….. the problem the ‘journalists’ have is that, ordinarily they can dominate the debate. They can be superior and often times belittle their interviewee…. unfortunately for them, he’s way brighter and more well read than they are plus, his knowledge is grounded in real life experience which, gives him conviction rather than, the journalists tendency to swaying with the breeze of wokeism.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Richmond

and he had the foresight to make his own recording – it’s a great pity Sir Roger Scruton didn’t do the same with his appallingly distorted interview in the New Statesman. Not that anyone on the ST’s side of the fence would bother to listen to what he and his daughter actually said.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

And given that he did make his own recording, it beggars belief that the journalist would be so stupid to distort the truth to the extent that she did.

anna.draycott
anna.draycott
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

I left a message on Dr Peterson’s website suggesting that he bring an action for libel. Decca Aitkenhead willfully, maliciously and falsely claimed that Dr Peerson had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, an assertion which could destroy his career as a clinical psychologist as well as wound him personally. The recording reveals that she lied, blatantly and shamelessly.

All the criticisms here and elsewhere of this woman will be water off a duck’s backvto her. Hit her and her employer in the pocket for this appalling calumny.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

video is the thing….. the appearance speaks louder even than the insencre wheedling …a picture speaks a thousand words, a moving picture speaks a million…

G H
G H
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

A very good analysis.Thank you.

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

That’s a very good assessment of what’s driving their antagonism. On a more base level I’d say they’re often also too dumb to understand what he’s saying. Or let me re-phrase that: their ideological filters make it difficult for them to listen without prejudice so they constantly misconstrue his words.
Aitkenhead gives a fine example: she thinks he advocates a kind of callous, stiff-upper-lip ‘pull-yourself-together boy’ disciplinarian approach to life, when in fact what he’s saying is way more nuanced – life is hard, there is no escape from suffering, but if you face it bravely and with honesty it will help you get through.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandy Anthony

Exactly, Sandy. Peterson grabs the apostles of the “equality of outcome” creed by their necks and rubs kryptonite truth in their face – that nothing is ever given, and anything of value must be earned.
That clashes headlong with the identity politics principles… so they panic in his presence.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago
Reply to  Sandy Anthony

I think this is a big part of it. It’s like people are conditioned to respond to key trigger words and phrases with prescripted soundbites. Without wishing to be melodramatic, it’s a bit like the Manchurian Candidate.

For example, if you say that ‘Masculinity is not always toxic and has many benefits’ the response will be something along the lines of ‘Oh, I suppose you’re saying that rape, WWI and the Holocaust were beneficial?!’ Or ‘Maybe we should look into why Muslims commit so much terrorism’ will be countered with ‘People like you are the reason that Jo Cox was killed’.

They have all been taught to think that anything to the right of John Major is Hitler. This means they can’t differentiate between Jordan Peterson and Tommy Robinson so they attack him as if he was some far right thug. Unfortunately for them it make them look ridiculous. Unfortunately for us so many people have been so heavily conditioned to think like this it’s hard to see a way out.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Yes, you nailed it. I’ve always been perplexed at why he was hated and maligned. I never knew anything about him other than the 12 Rules book which I listened to as an audiobook and have a stack of post its from scribbling so many quotes I wanted to remember because they were worded so well and expressed such great truths.
I am a woman. I’m a feminist even. But the sort who simply wanted to be able to just do what I want to do without being told no simply based on roles and stereotypes. I feel my feminism is in the form of simply living my life unfettered by other peoples judgements and taking responsibility for my life and my well being.
His 12 Rules really promotes that and I was often howling with laughter over his calling out post modern ideology and grievance/victim culture. I have no use for that cry bully crap.
Then i come to find all these “feminists” hate him and they all piled on me for saying I thought his insights were pretty enlightened and accurate.
The only thing worse than hating someone you don’t know and haven’t bothered to listen to what they are saying/writing is when you decide to hate and shun or cancel someone who did take the time and didn’t find it to be offensive. That is what happened to me.
Most people seem to hate things without ever actually plumbing the depths of the object of hate. To hate this man based on memes or sound bites is to miss the point entirely. But it takes time and effort to read a book and to objectively take in what someone is saying.
Brene Brown wrote a book about how much people love to criticize and attack anyone in the spotlight. But if they themselves had to be in the spotlight, constantly justifying every syllable and casual remark, they’d probably suicide. I would. It must be so exhausting and demoralizing.
I look forward to his next book. Hater’s will hate, but those who listen to his message will thrive if they follow his rules. They ring of timeless truths and he worked hard to boil them down to their essence to make it interesting.

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
3 years ago

Well said Karen. Agree with you 100% – what you pointed out in paragraph 5 has happened to me a number of times.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

…..more particularly, Peterson is deeply heretical to the leftist orthodoxy because he has re-articulated the true role which religious doctrines have played in the civilization of humans, which is to postpone the perfection of humanity to the life hereafter.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Spot on!!

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

To certain people Peterson’s advice to sort your own self out before you try sorting out the world is directly contrary to the idea of being led by glorious leaders into the glorious future.

If people sorted themselves out we wouldn’t need any glorious leaders.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Hear! Hear!
You hit the nail on the head.

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Grand narrative and glorious revolutions are so much easier than the grind of working hard for years on end.

I don’t know what people expect after the revolution, maybe with luck they’ll be part of the tiny corrupt elite?

S A
S A
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Excellent summary.

Gary Richmond
Gary Richmond
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Plus, this leads to ever increasing dependency in all things from the either ‘The State’ or, from often well meaning but, naive others. At some point, everyone has to bear some responsibility for their own situation. Of course, there are many that really do need a hand but, there’s a lot of people who could take their share of the task who, don’t /won’t because it’s so easy not to ….

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

“Where does this antagonism/hatred of JP come from?”

That’s a great question which has bothered me for years. Let me offer you an explanation. Maybe you can relate or you can find out for yourself.

The most controversial issues that Peterson has touched are connected to ideologies of self victimisation and in consequence the criticism of an ideological architecture of absolute good versus absolute evil.

Peterson has successfully shown that the narratives of victimhood, the entitlement to safety and constant emphasis on a division of oppressor and oppressed are expressions of a dualistic gnostic world view, which does exactly what it accuses its opponents of: it creates a world of binary oppositions, which is as diverse and multicultural as a monochrome surface. For instance, the emphasis that “trans-women are women” is always accompanied by the assurance that no such thing as a stable form of sexual identity exists. While the concept of sexual identity is fluid, not bound to biological characteristics or can even determined after birth, trans-women must be women and nothing else. Otherwise you are being cancelled.

Peterson among others, but as the most vocal one, has successfully dismantled the inconsistencies of these ideologies and put them into an understandable form, while intellectually reliable and informed, for people who otherwise had had been enforced to swallow it up.

His great lectures on the bible and his historical outlooks are really accurate descriptions of totalitarianism and have been proven reliable against the denunciation and so they get more mad every day and are willing to go long miles for the purpose of destructing him.

Lynn Copeland
Lynn Copeland
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Yes, and the more vulnerable we feel in our victimhood, the less we are able to tolerate any person or any thing that challenges our right to it, and the more we will cling to it and to any “leader” or institution that supports our claim to membership. And the more compelled we will feel to annihilate any perceived threat. This willingness to sacrifice our self awareness and autonomy and agency in order to cozy up to victimhood is profoundly disturbing.
Thank you for your insights.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Peterson provides a coherent narrative of why the Western Left is wrong and the Revolution it pushes is pointless or a trade off of lesser evils at best.

Activist Journalists cannot forgive him for bursting their ideological bubble.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

He says what millions feel but cannot express as well as him.

Alex Wilkinson
Alex Wilkinson
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

There’s been some great answers to your important question already but I’d just like to add my tuppence.

Peterson is as cool as a cucumber. He doesn’t get riled or drawn into the emotionally laden tactics of the woke. Though the attacks are often personal and false, he is grounded enough not to get drawn into their world of faux outrage and instead cooly rebuffs their conformist cry-bullying.

He’s cool. And he’s rational. That’s a big threat to the woke.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Wilkinson

Yes, but it’s clearly not helping his health. I can only guess how stressful it is to be constantly reviled and attacked on personal grounds day in and day out, and to be constantly having to justify every tiny thing.
The haters really seem to revel in it, as they always do, the causing of stress and then asking someone why they are so stressed.
He is a huge threat to the Wokish. I suppose they don’t like their self-help books to come with the message that they have the power to help themselves if only they do the work.
But as a psychologist he does know how to stay calm and centered and not lash out from a place of emotional agitation. I’d never be able to maintain this long.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

A great part of it, which was revealed in the Cathy Newman interview, is his implicit rejection of standard feminist tenets, which he is capable of very handily taking apart. He exposes their lies and manipulations with straightforward evidence, as opposed to the concocted self-referential ‘evidence’ used in feminist ‘scholarship’. The resulting humiliation is just cause for fury, not reflection. And given that the feminist narrative has all but taken over the West, such a person simply must be removed at all costs.

Rod Robertson
Rod Robertson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

Well said.

Simon Sharp
Simon Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Corrie Mooney

Peterson is sympathizer with capitalism, with religion and mythology and considers there is still a lot of value in the liberal Judaeo Christian culture that forms the basis of western society. His views on all of those things are in reality quite nuanced but he is broadly sympathetic to them. On top of that he is popular, his ideas are reaching people and he has some serious academic credentials (even though debunkers often try to suggest he doesn’t). Worst of all he’s no really political – as in he doesn’t view ANY political system as capable of solving the fundamental problem of existence.

For the political radical (and the ‘radical-lite’ opinion consumers around them) this last one is the closest you can get to heresy of the worst kind. But all of his leanings are really ones that truly infuriate the political radical.

I find the reaction to him almost more interesting than what he says. And frankly I can understand – Peterson is helping to re-establish some faith in liberal humanist ideas and culture for a lot of people. I don’t personally find what he says that spectacularly unique though he does have a certain way of saying it.

But I can see how what he promotes and his popularity is like a red rag to a bull for political radicals.

There’s even a breed of ‘super intellectual’ radical leftist who devote countless hours pouring through Peterson’s utterances and looking for the slightest inconsistency or way to tie what he says together into something ominous sounding. The rhetorical effort some of these people put in is quite astonishing really but I can understand why they do it…
Like performing critical theory analysis on the bible or something

If I were still a political radical who believed in politics to solve the fundamental problems of human existence i’d be railing against him as well. Thankfully i’ve got older and grumpier these days 🙂

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Thank you Douglas Murray, perfectly put. Much credit to Peterson for helping so many people.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

It took quite a while for me to cotton onto the Jordan Peterson phenomenon and associated media hysteria. Just watching a couple of videos with talks and interviews with Peterson, I honestly could not understand the fuss being made. This was the bogeyman everybody was going so crazy about?

Frankly, all I could see was someone who was very educated, highly articulate and thoughtful, and with the gift of being able to analyse situations as they occur and discuss them in a rational and structured way. The only thing that irritates me about Peterson is the way he occasionally offers bald statements like “because I’m a clinical psychologist” to questions like “how do you you know that?” when the journalist is (rightly) looking for further (specific) facts/evidence to back up the arguments offered.

The majority of journalists just aren’t up to the task of conducting the kind of intellectual discussion with Peterson that would offer real value to readers. They don’t have the mental agility to keep up and get flustered and defensive when they discover Peterson is actually in the driver’s seat. It seems that the hit-job is their weapon of choice against that – going out on the offensive straight away. It is a bad, bad choice which makes them look even worse than if they had been honest but just tripped up.

Panel discussions and one-to-ones among writers of a higher calibre are the way to see the best in Jordan Peterson and understand what he has to say to the world. The talk between the author of this piece and Peterson, published by UnHerd back in 2018, was one of the most satisfying things I have watched for a long time. A real antidote to all the shallow, reactionary shrieking that goes on in the world these days.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The question you’re referring to wasn’t “how do you you know that?” it was
“what gives you the right to say that”.
More “how dare you” than “please explain further”.
Watch from about four minutes on the Cathy Newman interview.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago

Well, they hate him. And they will continue to destroy him as much as they can.

It is impossible for this bunch of phony propagandists (formerly known as journalists) to accept an alternative or should we say diverse landscape of ideas.

What they are doing is to promote the terms and linguistic expressions like diversity, inclusion and equity, while establishing a tyranny of synoptic doctrine and inquisitor style control over the narrative.
The media, the tech-corps and its political establishment is creating a world, where only those words exist but not a world where this is true. It is a tyranny of the mind.

Sex is non-binary, not apparent at birth (and hence later) and not identifiable through biological characteristics, but trans-women are of course women, and the idea that there is no identifiable sex is completely gone, because people have to be cancelled if they are pointing at this contradiction.

Peterson has to be strong. I wish him good luck as much I wish Mikhaila strength and conviction. Someone has to do it, guys. It is inevitable, that you meet the obstacles.

Please, keep on going. We don’t have so many alternatives.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Precisely. Orwell’s 84 was not just a satire, it was a prophesy. The left’s revulsion from a reality which contradicted it is now complete, and so it attempts to institute continual mass delusion, as if this were Utopia. Indeed, right from its poisonous idealist roots, Marxism carries the seeds of madness – consider its massive inconsistencies! All are equal, but the party, “representing” the proles, must have dictatorship. All are equal, apart from priests, peasants, merchants, nobles and their hangers-on – more than half the population! We’ll spend our days reading and fishing – apart from the proles, of course, who’ll be doing much the same as before. Wages are slavery, and if they go up all the time its because other people are slaves – somewhere… One might go on, but you get the picture. So ultimately, what drives the high priests of this vicious creed? Resentment – as many have said; pride – they can’t accept that they were wrong, especially after all that grandiose indignation; shame – they can’t begin to repent their support for such criminal brutality, so they might as well continue to deny it; and the denial of religious instinct – which is where the ambiguous role played by atheism comes in. If it affects a mind too early in its development, it can send that mind off the rails – hence the psychological importance of settled, established, religious and familial custom – what Yeats calls “the ceremonies of innocence”. Perhaps people will begin to realise all this, but for the moment the darkness continues.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

If it was only Marxism we had to deal with, that wouldn’t make me nervous.
Marxism as an ideological enterprise is quite consistent in itself. Marxist premises and assumptions are pretty straightforward and refer to a set of theories and philosophies which can be compared and criticised.

Marxists are a part of the problem, but they haven’t designed this bowl of lies.

What we have now is not Marxism, but a postmodern religious cult, which switches between Marx and Foucault, moral dogmatism and cultural relativism, capitalist tech-corps rule and socialist state monopoly, feminist ideas of sexual liberation and men attacking women who say that men are not women, the demonization of Christianity and the protection of Islamists, the abandonment of truth and consistency and the corruption of all institutions which grant these people posts, money and influence.

This all means a strange and overwhelming flexibility in ideological terms, while executing power the most straightforward way. To build a resistance against it, Marxists paradoxically have to be convinced that this is not their kind of joint. It will be necessary to find allies in the ripples of this ideology where people hide who are not satisfied at all what is happening, but are still too much dependant. The reason the woke hate Peterson is also the fact that he promotes material and spiritual independence and that’s the last thing they want.

Peterson is not the only one, who says that this is madness, but his voice is the most stable one, that these people were not able to annihilate by now.

If he is hunted down, others have to take care of his legacy.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

We clearly agree that these people are dangerous and all but insane – cultic fanatics for whom logical fallacy and inconsistency are no problem at all. We also agree that what Roger Scruton used to call the “religious deficit” lies near the heart of the matter and that Marxists are part of the problem. However, I continue to urge that Marxism lies at the root of the problem – their obsession with “equality”; their focus on colonialism, continuing Lenin’s false explanation for the improvement in working class pay and conditions; the “flexibility” that you note in the modern left’s approach as a classic instance of so-called “praxis”; the involvement of communist millionaires remarked by Dostoevsky and instanced by Engels; and crucially and most importantly – as Orwell saw with such stunning clarity – the distortions of reality, truth, conscience and witness, which spring centrally from the Marxist sophistry of “false consciousness”. I am well aware that some who praise or draw from Marx – the “Spiked” crowd, for example – would deny the above, but it seems to me they are deluded; they haven’t completed Kingsley Amis’s journey to the shores of reason. And since knowing one’s enemy is key, and reducing the wilful obfuscations of the “post-modernists” to the realities of their programme a vital necessity, I believe that we must carry our diagnosis down to the toxic roots of this movement in order to bring about its extirpation.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

Interesting point. Peterson on various occasions asked why Marxism is in the same boat with postmodernism, although both contradict each other on important issues.

In my point of view Marxism did not contribute to much to this postmodern ideology, because obsession with equality is much older than Marxism. Marxism, we don’t have to forget, is only one branch of the large field of left wing ideologies which have shaped contemporary thought. the early Marx and Engels were much more focusing on a term like freedom than on equality. The equality obsession is a newer development, when the modern societies have already become more or less equal.

Also, Marxism of the 19th century was less occupied with colonialism than it is today. Marx himself pointed out on various occasions that colonialism helped a lot in integrating developed countries into the coming socialist world order.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Quite so, but theories have a life and influence of their own, whatever their merit or strength; and for all that Marx himself may not be directly responsible for – or associated with – the further development of his views, it is nevertheless that tradition with which we are dealing now. Marx may have approved of colonialism – just as Shaw (also a socialist) was cool with regard to Irish nationalism; but Lenin used it to “explain” the resilience of the free market in Europe. Several commentators have noted the importance of this turn in communist politics, agitating against western probity, colonial establishment and even post-colonial links. Perhaps, then, I should refer to “Marxist-Leninism”. Fair enough. But crucially, vitally, centrally we must look to the assault on science, enlightenment, reason and logic which the modern left is carrying out; and that, I submit, has been given its most powerful boost by the Marxist-Leninists the more that reality has confounded them; and it finds its origins in the “false consciousness” doctrine. True, it’s appeal transcends the left, to some degree – for the lure of the irrational is a besetting danger to mankind. Nevertheless, the chief witch doctors of our day are inspired by a body of nonsense which we have to identify clearly if we are to confound them.

John Snowball
John Snowball
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

While theoretical Marxist-Leninism is at the base of these current cultural and political issues, it is the followers of the Frankfurt School and Antonio Gramsci who put them into actual practical application.
Marxist Leninism can be dismissed as theoretical wishful thinking, Gramsci and the Frankfurt School cannot.

Lydia R
Lydia R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

Trans women are now winning everything in women’s sports and the other female competitors have to go along with the charade as they are relegated to second or third place by men.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

The sports thing is a topic I have no real access to. The idea of trans-women athletes itself must have been supported by the sport’s associations, the Olympic committee, the political institutions, the professional and amateur sport’s clubs.

I would be more alarmed if there is a trans-woman professional tennis player, beating Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka ferociously and wining all the grand slam tournament back to back.

Right now it is still on the level of amateur sports events and low level athleticism. If the tide continues and professional sports is effected, let’s see how this will influence the debate.

Elaine Hunt
Elaine Hunt
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

It is affecting a lot of girls futures right now.
In the USA, boys are identifying as girls, and winning not just their sporting events, but also the sports scholarships which are attached to them. So you are not just demoralising girls ideas of themselves as competent athletes, but making it harder for them to fund their education. A double whammy for the misogyny, hurrah!

And one of Biden fist to decrees has been to overturn the ability of college and amateur sports competitions to keep men out of women’s sports.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jurek Molnar

“tyranny of synoptic doctrine” is a great statement-I shall use it going forward-with credit, of course. Thanks to you.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago
Reply to  stephen f.

I haven’t invented the term, only repeated it, but thanks anyway.

David Morley
David Morley
3 years ago

I have seen large auditoriums hold their breath as they have heard Peterson’s voice teeter on the edge of tears.

Peterson does have a weakness, if an endearing one, in that he is prone to emotion, close to tears, when describing the good he feels he has done. Not good on the grand scale, but good in the individual lives of ordinary people.

It clearly means a lot to him. Perhaps it even means an excessive amount. One feels that it is perhaps rooted in his own suffering – but who knows.

What is so shocking is that the author berates him for this, while simultaneously labelling him with “toxic masculinity” and suggesting lack of connection with his own emotions.

I’m not sure which of her emotions the author of the piece thinks she is in touch with, but to the rest of us she looks deeply unpleasant – indeed toxic. She has all the attractiveness of a person kicking a wounded dog.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  David Morley

Brilliantly put David – those are my exact feelings.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Why would anybody pay to read anything written by Decca Airhead (sic) or any member of our MSM? Almost without exception they are devoid of all knowledge or integrity. I gave up on it all years ago, and there was a time when I would read three or four newspapers a day.

Of course, what the likes of Airhead and Newman (why hasn’t she changed her name to Niewperson?) fail to realise is that millions of people cleave to Peterson because he represents an alternative to the self-obsession, ignorance and relentless bias of the media and governing classes. Unlike them he is at least authentic and has read some books. A lot of books. Serious books.

Mark Knight
Mark Knight
3 years ago

I read only the first third of The Times interview before it was clear what it was, which this commentary has precisely described. Thanks for giving my reaction a voice. All I can do is stop reading The Times, order Dr Peterson’s new book, and click on the link to watch your interview with him.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

From reading the Times article I gained the impression that Mikhaila Peterson was controlling and gatekeeping Dr Peterson like some malevolent harpie. Then I listened to the audio. To my surprise she interjected only a handful of times and these were quietly spoken and short. I’m not a fan of Mikhaila but the article was a complete misrepresentation of her behaviour in the interview.

Edit: Why am I being so polite? The journo lied.

Geoffrey Preston
Geoffrey Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

“Thanks for giving my reaction a voice” – that hits the nail on the head, and it’s precisely why I read and value UnHerd.

Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

Where is the link?

Graeme Archer
Graeme Archer
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Knight

I can’t describe how good I felt when I cancelled my subscription to the Times; to know that I was no longer funding, even minutely, nastiness of the sort so well described by this article.

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
3 years ago

Let this be a lesson to journalists who still think they can get away with misrepresenting the substance of an interview. The Petersons had the whole thing on tape, and thus were easily able to put the lie to Aitkenhead’s lies. And they not only had the tape, but the means to publish it – a power that no journalist or newspaper editor would have imagined a few decades ago when they held all the cards. If they want to survive as a profession, one lesson they must quickly learn is that they can no longer twist the facts to suit their agenda; they will be found out.

matthew.n.thomas88
matthew.n.thomas88
3 years ago

What struck me most about Aitkinhead’s comparison of Peterson to Trump hinged on being closed off to emotions and falsely concerned with image.

“Parallels with Donald Trump come to mind; another unhappy man closed off from his emotions, projecting strong man mythology while hunkered down in a bunker with his family against the world.”

The paragraph where she states this is two paragraphs after she’s had to watch as Peterson has to compose himself after he’s brought to tears by just thinking about the suffering of strangers. In an interview where a man is asked to speak of a crippling illness and near death experience, and to be the most vulnerable he can be, he is blasted for projecting a strong man image.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a ridiculous and ideologically driven reach. If there ever was a case study for dreadful “journalism”, this is it.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

It was her characterization of Trump as an “unhappy man” that had me scratching my head. “Unhappy”? I think that’s just wishful thinking, on her part.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago

Great point.

shack63
shack63
3 years ago

The first time I heard about Jordon Peterson was in the aftermath of his interview with Cathy Newman. I decided to watch that interview and it was incredible on so many levels. After that I decided to buy his book to see what all the fuss was about. I read it cover to cover. It was a bit of a meandering read, but to be completely honest, I have no idea what that book contains that could be deemed offensive to anyone.

He talks about the things he has learned during his years as a clinician and what traits and skills are typically needed to succeed as a functioning adult in society. Ideas such as taking personal responsibility for your life and your decisions, stop blaming others for your failures and just getting up every day and getting on with things are some of the topics covered. After reading the book I bought a copy for each of my two sons.

Subsequently I have watched a number of his talks and listened to his podcasts. I’m absolutely baffled how anyone could find this man or his ideas offensive.

Baron Jackfield
Baron Jackfield
3 years ago
Reply to  shack63

They’re offensive to those whose personal agenda and worldview tells them that “the great unwashed” (ie most of us) should be doing as they’re told by their “betters” (ie them) and not be bothering their little heads with disruptive ideas such as taking responsibility for their own lives.

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago

Interesting that the journalists that seem most keen to denigrate this man appear to be women. Ditum, Newman, Aitkenhead, wonder why?

” another unhappy man closed off from his emotions, projecting strong man mythology”

Frankly I’m sick and tired of being subjected to people publicly emoting. Doesn’t mean that having emotional control means you lack emotional maturity.

Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

Most, but not all. Don’t forget occasional UnHerd contributor Dorian Lynskey, who patched together one of the more disgraceful pieces about Peterson a few years back.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Joseph

And Pankaj Mishra.

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Pankaj’s article was fascinating because it revealed a pathological fear of The European.

Alys Williams
Alys Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

Add Helen Lewis to your list.

Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

The cliterati hate him because he obviously got the better of a feminist in a very high profile public way. The media generally goes out of its way to ensure that feminists get the last word in any argument, but on this occasion Channel 4 was too dumb to understand that he had wiped the floor with Newman. Remarkably, they thought she had got the better of him. It was only when they realised their stupid mistake that they brought into play the so called “threats to Newman from his supporters”, to cover their embarrassment. Gloat Factor 10 over here…. 11 with the Spinal Tap attachment.

Clive Mitchell
Clive Mitchell
3 years ago

Channel 4 news is delusional and an embarrassment. It should just call itself the Guardian news and be done with it.

Richard Powell
Richard Powell
3 years ago
Reply to  Clive Mitchell

There was also a very unsatisfactory follow-up piece by Hugo Rifkind in the Times on Tuesday. He’s usually a good, thoughtful writer but for some reason wrote tendentious crap this week, as most of the 2,337 comments do not hesitate to point out.

Ian Steadman
Ian Steadman
3 years ago

… and what of Aitkenhead’s disgraceful personal slurs? Would her journalist colleagues accept, from a white male, for example, the outrage that she perpetrates in referring to Mikhaila as “a pouting Barbie doll” while commenting on her hair colour and hairstyle? I thought that such slurs were supposed to be what toxic masculinity is about. Would Aitkenhead be “cancelled” if she were to arrive as a guest speaker at a university after using such sexist and abusive and misogynist terms? I think not: tendentious journalists of her ilk seem somehow immune from the madness of crowds. Nevertheless, despite these egregious deeds, the value in having the evidence of the words and the fabrications of Aitkenhead and those like her is that in years to come – possibly for centuries to come – we will have the EVIDENCE of her journalistic sins.”

Ian MacArthur
Ian MacArthur
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Steadman

If she were described in a similar fashion, she’d be utterly apoplectic.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Steadman

It’s okay because it’s a woman going after a woman. Competition for value in the sexual marketplace. She’s utterly unaware of the hypocrisy of her biologically based cattiness.

Grahame Allan
Grahame Allan
3 years ago

Jordan Peterson and his thousands of followers share a world view that doesn’t align with that of the MSM. He expresses his views thoughtfully and articulately. He must therefore be discredited, just another form of cancel culture.

mreszotnik
mreszotnik
3 years ago

After re-reading Ms Aitkenhead’s article I feel compelled to address the issue of ‘toxic masculinity’ she focuses her lenses on.

The entire problem with “toxic masculinity” is apparently that men refuse to show their emotions and in this way cause anger and aggression to fester on spill onto others.

Decca seems to be puzzled by this behaviour and argues that would be better if men shared their emotions freely. Unfortunately, for some reasons, she fails to ask the question about the **costs** of being vulnerable and truthful.

An example of that cost could be, I don’t know, perhaps if you show your true feelings to a stranger that promises to listen and be gentle and empathetic, it may just turn out, that person is dishonest.

Let’s say such a person would use your secrets, your pain, the feelings your shared for some nefarious purpose, let’s say, creating a clickbait article, putting your face in front of top magazine. Let’s say then that person bend their back forward to mock you for the very emotions you showed, mock you for the mistakes you freely admitted you made, laugh at you for being who you are and portray you as mentally ill and schizophreniac, at the same time portraying themselves as a beacon of truth and authority and empathy. That would be pretty high cost, indeed.

Well, I guess Decca concluded that such behaviour would not be possible. I mean who would stoop so low? Certainly no one she knows.

So yeah, men, please be honest and vulnerable, it’s ok to share your feelings, you can absolutely trust people like Decca, very ‘tolerant’ and ‘accepting’ to always be there for you.

So thank you Decca, for showing how men sharing their emotions works in practice. I imagine you would take totally the same angle if the interview was with a woman.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  mreszotnik

Excellent! She really is an evil human being.

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago

I can only agree with the many comments today in support of Jordan Peterson. But this sort of ‘journalism’ is increasing, so I am glad of places like UnHerd where it can be called out. It is imperative to keep dissenting from lies. About 15 years ago, Theodore Dalrymple made some astute remarks about the twisted nature of public discourse that was already well under way, and is now much further advanced with the advent of cancel culture.

“I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.”

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Reeves

wow, that’s a brilliant analysis of to day.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Diana Durham

Especially in the Scottish context.

G H
G H
3 years ago

Much like The New Statesman’s hatchet job on Roger Scrutton. Ideologically motivated, deceptive and malicious. And thanks again to Douglas Murray for so eloquently pointing this out.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Sadly, I am not at all surprised at this. The CEO of News International, the publisher of The Times and Sunday Times, is Rebekha Brooks, is it possible to find a more unscrupulous newspaper editor than she was ?

Politically The Times etc, flits from Left to Right over the centre ground, it runs campaigns on certain issues that it favours or denigrates. The old days are long gone.

I am very sorry to see Jordan Peterson subjected to such a piece of work, but if I could I would have warned him that he was being lured onto the rocks. People like Decca What’s-her-name are paid for such stuff, you only had to check her background to see what was coming. It was a rotten trick.

Tim N
Tim N
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

She was tasked with taking the Sunday Times to the left and it has showed. Im regretting my subscription every time I read the weekly slew of articles which would normally be suited to the Guardian.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

What is it with these women and their silly names? Are they trying to prove how clever they are? Rebekah. Decca. Really.

David George
David George
3 years ago

Thank you Douglas.
Fortunately an audio recording of the interview was made (available on JP’s YouTube channel) and a transcript has just been released on his website.
There is no doubt that this was a premediated hit job, a new low for a once respected news outfit and symptomatic of the web of lies required to sustain the woke agenda.
Hat tip to Rod Dreher and his new book Live Not By Lies.

daniel Earley
daniel Earley
3 years ago

I also think that this is symptomatic of journalism in general. I find there seems to be less and less ‘real’ journalism looking to find out information, research a person or subject and instead it just concentrates on a political spin or attempts to bring a person down, particularly if they are of an opposing political viewpoint. This article sums it up. The Sunday Times, once a paragon of the journalistic world, should be ashamed. I am also astonished that an editor should let such an article through and continue to employ a journalist who uses such methods.

Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton
3 years ago
Reply to  daniel Earley

“Journalists” and other media commentators have become political activists on behalf of their corporate cartel employers, who have bought up the media outlets and now control the public discourse – look at what has just happend in the USA. No more “real journalism”.

Lynn Copeland
Lynn Copeland
3 years ago
Reply to  daniel Earley

Yes, indeed. There’s also this fascinating phenomenon that’s gaining ground of journalists interviewing other journalists as if they are now the experts. Strange times.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago

I felt embarrassed for The Sunday Times reading that sneaky, mean-minded interview. Fortunately a majority of the commenters below the line seemed to feel the same. I expect The Times newspapers will continue to bleed subscribers. Why pay to read that sort of tripe in the Times if you can get it in the Guardian for free?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The Sunday Times has been almost total garbage for some years now. It is also horribly designed.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I find both the Times and S Times websites horribly designed. I miss many of the articles and only discover they exist via ConHome’s collation column.

David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Auberon Waugh was denoucing the Sunday Times as long ago as the 1970s. Needless to say, it has only remarkably declined in quality since then,

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Nothing gets learned; no ideas are properly discussed.
That’s the state of “journalism” in general, scare quotes intentional. There is no desire to inform, but to indoctrinate. It’s getting very close to outright state tv, with big tech as willing accomplice. YouTube actually took down a pair of videos from a Senate committee hearing that discussed the use of Ivermectin on Covid. The “follow the science” people essentially memory-holed the words of a doctor who apparently knows less about medicine than the fact police within technology.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

Good to hear some counter – argument to the anti Peterson brigade, however there is a serious inaccuracy in the first part of the piece where Decca Aitkenhead is described as a “journalist”. She is a political activist who cannot use the normal mechanisms to achieve power ( ie elections) so uses journalism as a cover for her actions. Thankfully the last paragraph goes someway to correcting the mistake.

Jack Walker
Jack Walker
3 years ago

Good article, thank you.

However, you are wrong in one small area, you say “but, more importantly, it means that the reader doesn’t learn anything of value”. I disagree, the reader learns what a vindictive piece of work the author is. That is a valuable lesson as it allows them to put everything else she says in the future into context.

Chris Mackay
Chris Mackay
3 years ago

I think it is a simple matter of envy – Peterson is so articulate – and hate. The default positions for supporters of authoritarianism. Freedom is too mucky for them as they would need to learn to like people as human beings rather than their present dismissal of those with whom they choose not to accept.

Lydia R
Lydia R
3 years ago

I read the article and the comments BTL. They were universally condemning the whole warped tone of the article. Luckily the Peterson’s recorded it themselves.

Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

That wasn’t luck. The Peterson’s are viper savvy.

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago

.
Then why did they do the interview in the first place?
.
Same as Scrutton with New Hatesman, same as anyone going on Morgan’s Breakfast Show – surely to goodness you know what they are going to try and do?
.

Katy Randle
Katy Randle
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

There’s an explanation on his website. Basically, they asked very nicely, and his English publishers said oh, the Sunday Times is kosher, and he wanted to get the subject of his illness out of the way before his next book is published. He went into it in good faith, but was evidently intelligent enough to record the whole thing.

Rafael Aguilo
Rafael Aguilo
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

Me thinks it’s part of Jordan Peterson’s DNA. He won’t back down when he’s in the right. While there are many Leftists that think and want to portray him as “crazy”, he’s certainly not stupid. He knows how to play their game, and beat them senseless.

Graham Willis
Graham Willis
3 years ago

In On Liberty, Mill sets out in detail what happens to an idea if you banish its counter arguments: that idea becomes dogma. Without continual defence in open discourse, an idea will become a husk, and is ultimately doomed.

This is what has happened to the globalized, neo-liberal left, because it is a badge of honour to signal oneself as one of the clan, because of the relentless concentration on point scoring, ad-hominem attacks, the left can no longer mount a foundational defence of itself.

The Cathy Newman interview was absolutely classic illustration of this.

jshore
jshore
3 years ago

Firstly, Mr. Murray, as a follower of your professional career, you are a credit to your country, your profession and to seekers of truth and justice anywhere.
Decca Aitkenhead is a “hit-job” journalist with an ideological and personal agenda and one of the last people in the world who should have been granted the PRIVILEGE of an interview with Jordan Peterson. Her interview and the Times error in publishing it should be discredited by all good people everywhere and dismissed to the dustbin of history as worthless and mean-spirited.
My only advice to the Petersons would be to exercise much more caution in granting such audiences and interviews, at least until Jordan’s health and fighting form are up to speed, to organizations and individuals who have no interest in the truth but are merely trying to advance their own or their ideology’s agenda toward a position of power…..a relentless and remorseless effort of the Left that is being played out daily throughout the West.

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  jshore

Agreed. But you have to wonder why Jordan did this interview. Surely he knew (or could easily have found out) the likely outcome?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Flynn

The outcome has been pretty good for Peterson though. More people see the game now. I think Peterson should do as many of these interviews as possible to keep exposing these “journalists”.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago

No. His daughter was deeply hurt by the interview. She’s posted her own response to it on YouTube. His responsibility is to protect his family. What you’re suggesting is not an honourable strategy.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

I’m sure she was. She is an adult and likely not a shrinking violet if she was raised by Peterson. After all, she has spent the last few years battling to get care for him. But my point was that these type interviews are very revealing for people and that’s a good thing. They also spread Peterson’s message, also a good thing.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago

I don’t agree. At first all the ‘controversy’ raised his profile a lot, but longer term, the ‘negative publicity’ angle is just corrosive and counterproductive. The average person does not have the ability or energy to critically examine everything they read. Mostly they choose to read pubs and voices they ‘trust’ and more or less believe. That’s just the casual reader, but I talk to knowledgeable and pretty smart people on certain forums with a leftward slant who I know for a fact would completely agree with this journalist’s POV and look no further because these people already have her POV, formed a long time ago, and there is NO talking them out of it. They would say Peterson completely deserves it because he is a horrible person, end of discussion. And these people as well only know Peterson from such ‘trusted’ voices, not from his actual writings or lectures, For the most part, people believe what confirms their prejudices. Nothing exposed, nothing learned.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Girling

Well, we don’t all have to agree. My opinion is that the more these “journalists” get exposed, the better. In addition to getting his message out, Peterson is doing all of us a favor showing just how bad these folks are.

If you read the thread you will discover in the comments that many people have discovered Peterson through confusion over one of these hit jobs. People listen to his podcasts and have bought his books trying to figure out what all the rage over him was about. As is obvious, they find absolutely nothing at all to get enraged over.

In any case, different opinions are absolutely to be expected. You’re welcome to yours, I have mine.

David Slade
David Slade
3 years ago

‘The Times has gone down hill’ seems a common English refrain but, by God, The Times has gone down hill’!

Such a shame, it used to be a rare refuge for objectivity in its commentary but has now succumbed to all the most vile traits of the age.

It does make me wonder how long before all media similarly capitulates.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Not only have the standards of the Times & Sunday Times plunged, Times Radio also has problems. They are losing their star presenter, Nick Ferrari, to Andrew Neil’s new TV channel and have hired……Cathy Newman, of all people, the broadcast clone of Aitkenhead.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

Oh god, not Cathy Newman!! Christ…

Graeme Morrison
Graeme Morrison
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

?? Nick Ferrari isn’t on Times Radio. (Wish he wasn’t on LBC or anywhere else either for that matter!)

Aidan Collingwood
Aidan Collingwood
3 years ago

Excellent article. People like Aitkenhead and Newman will never stop being rotten journalists, so they must always be taken to task, preferably in public, by people like Douglas Murray, a task at which he excels.

Antonino Ioviero
Antonino Ioviero
3 years ago

Well, Murray had a test run defending Roger Scruton from a similarly disgraceful attack.

Aidan Collingwood
Aidan Collingwood
3 years ago

Yes, that’s true.

kennethjamesmoore
kennethjamesmoore
3 years ago

01

Last edited 3 years ago by kennethjamesmoore
Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
3 years ago

I’ve read over the discussion on why they hate him, as it has puzzled me too. The first few times I read some snide comment under a lecture video that was otherwise thunderously applauded, I thought it sounded like one of those smart-aleck students in a class who wanted some attention for himself and just mouthed off recklessly. I did not know anybody at all disagreed with him, or disparaged him, until I came across the Kathy Newman exchange, and it seemed to me that she was just riding her own hobby horse. Slowly, as I got into his oeuvre, I became aware that there were indeed a certain number of people who seemed to despise him, although there were thousands more who revered him.

Eventually, it occurred to me to wonder why these people were so angry and hostile – what in his teaching could possibly motivate them? These thoughts took me back about 50 years to when I was studying Christianity and it occurred to me then that there did not seem to be any real reason for the Sanhedrin to target Jesus. Clearly they wanted him out of the way and hit on a strategy to get the Roman authorities to do it. Pilate tried to turn them away – not any of his business – but they insisted, and finally got him condemned. But why? What did he threaten of theirs?

All I could ever figure out was that he threatened their power in some way – if “the people” followed him, which they certainly seemed to, it could somehow undermine their authority. If it were myself who occupied their position, I would think it would be prudent to welcome him, to subsume his teaching since it never actually contradicted them. “Render unto Caesar…,” who could disagree with that? (At least at that time.) I suppose I must accept the limitation of my intellect, since I cannot follow the thinking. There is some very good speculation here about the consequences of the recoil against Peterson – the thinking that follows from it, I mean. But I simply cannot think my way into their brain and see what set them off in the first place. We are certainly getting vicious about our politics these days, but Dr. Peterson is not strongly political. If only someone could tackle one of these people and try to nail down what causes the reaction of vitriolic hate.

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago

Great article once again Douglas. I hadn’t seen that interview with Cathy Newman. I watched a shorter version and then an 8 minute version which I would hardly categorize as explosive. It looked more like a Professor politely correcting his student and the student running out of things to challenge him on. Much the same could be said of the article by Decca Aitkenhead although I would say it was even worse journalism with the same old vindictive WOKE skew. Just for her lack of professionalism I should think she will find it hard to get other interviews!

Bill McCardle
Bill McCardle
3 years ago

Decca and the Sunday Times will carry on with their dishonest and dishonourable journalism as though nothing happened. This sort of behaviour is why few trust a word most of the media print or broadcast. Decca has had her own family problems but even that couldn’t stop her trying to claim Peterson and his daughters scalp. Her agenda was clear expose “toxic masculinity” but fortunately she was incapable of succeeding in her hit job but only because Mikhaila had the good sense to record the conversation and the guts to tell the true story on the web. Jordan and Mikhaila should be proud of the way they conducted themselves their inmate honesty, decency and humanity does us all a service. And shows sections of the media for what they are – dishonest, twisting, unhappy, unfulfilled, spiteful narcissists masquerading as truth tellers.

Ian MacArthur
Ian MacArthur
3 years ago

Let’s not forget that the vile Suzanne Moore who, upon hearing of JP’s illness, expressed delight and begged to be allowed to write a piece exulting in his decline.

David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian MacArthur

Yes and now Suzanne Moore has herself been “cancelled” by the Guardian for transgressing the party line on “trans” right. Revolutions eat their own.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  David Platzer

Karma. No sympathy from me. Moore started whining when they came for her. Until then, she was part of the mob.

Antonino Ioviero
Antonino Ioviero
3 years ago

After a similar hit job on Murray’s friend Roger Scruton, can we just consider the sheer lack of humanity to do this to a very ill, possibly dying, man.

The most important lesson to be learnt? Always make your own recording of the interview!

James B
James B
3 years ago

The reason for these hit jobs seems to stem partly from massive insecurity on behalf of the interviewer and his/her publication. Mr Peterson is highly intelligent and possessing admirable integrity. Those who seek to bring him down are intellectual pygmies by comparison and, being keenly aware of this, consider mendacity and misrepresentation as being acceptable means to destroy – the search for ‘their’ greater good seen only through an intolerant and insufferable prism.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago

Your average journalist is NOT “investigative”, or enquiring, or trying to uncover truth. They come to an interview or “investigation” with the story already written by their masters. They are just blood-sucking parasites looking to provoke the words from their victims that confirm their pre-existing narrative.
Unless you fit the ongoing media agenda, you are deluded if you think they will report anything truthful.
Readers here I’m sure are already know that main stream media is an utterly unreliable organ of actual, factual news. It represents nothing but vested interests and paid propaganda. This is very worrying.

Christian Filli
Christian Filli
3 years ago

This whole episode makes my stomach turn and my heart ache, especially because it reflects a much broader and sickening trend of targeting people who THINK for themselves (and TEACH others to do the same). In the end, however, it is J. Peterson who has directly helped hundreds of thousands of people lead better lives, not the self-serving journalists who have attempted these “hit-jobs” in search of ratings and retweets. A few years from now, everyone will remember him, even if they don’t fully agree with his views. Where will the Aitkenhead’s and Newman’s of this world be?

john.r.forbes
john.r.forbes
3 years ago

The LEFT never ends trying to destroy Peterson! He keeps making them look as they are NASTY & DISHONEST!

Nigel H
Nigel H
3 years ago

I can vouch for the “large auditorium holding their breath when he gets emotional about the subject matter”.
I was in an Oxford theatre on October ’18, when Dr. Peterson did his tour. Dave Rubin introduced him and said before he came out; each night on the tour had been separate points of discussion in each theatre every single time.
Whether journalists like him or not, he speaks to a certain sector of the population, and I suppose this is/was reflected by the crowd ““the place was packed solid with folks – majority male, majority young, and majority white. All had handed over their £62, just like me, to hear the man.
Enormous round of applause/standing ovation at the end.
I think journalists/critics hate him because he has reached a sector of the population who feel they don’t, and they are being demonised for everything evil that’s gone wrong with the world, which may, or may not be the case. He has provided the appropriate vocabulary and thought processes for those folks in the theatre to realise they are not alone in thinking what they do, and the other side’s arguments are poor and based in more hatred, bile and fallacies than any other.
Journalists know they are a dying breed, as the world and its money moves from print to the web. Online journalism approaches the Daily Mail click bait mentality, and most “news” web sites with paywalls are circumvented with very basic techniques. The money available to journalism falls, and so most of those remaining are those who are prepared to sacrifice journalistic integrity (whatever that is) for yet another sensationalist hit piece.
I have yet to hear anyone who saw the Petersen /Newman conversation, and didn’t think she looked like a complete numpty by the end of it”Š watch “glitch in the matrix https://youtu.be/zQCTeGKHsVc
A lesson for all, if any journalist turns up, film everything.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel H

Yes. I think one of the most powerful undercurrents of the antipathy towards Peterson is his implicit rejection of feminist orthodoxy, which enjoys an hegemonic influence in the West today. They absolutely cannot abide someone who speaks to men as human beings who are good and valuable in themselves. It’s interesting because he doesn’t take an overtly anti-feminist tack, he just speaks as a psychologist who understands what people need regardless of their s-x. Feminists really hate that because he is much harder to dismiss than activists like those in the MRA community.

mc.carthaigh1953
mc.carthaigh1953
3 years ago

I have never read Peterson’s books but gave read a variety of reviews/articles (both pro/neg and fair/biased) on his work and ideas but having read the Sunday Times piece I am coming round to the view that if he creates this much animosity it might be worth spending the time reading him in order to make my own mind up.
Aitkenhead’s piece barely attempted to discuss his ideas and it was evident from the first paragraph that it was a hatchet piece.
I will probably agree with some parts and disagree with others, if my experience of a lifetime of study is anything to go on, but I suspect that I will at least come away happy at engaging with an individual who offers a challenge to the status quo…
If anyone has any ideas of where to start I would be very happy to hear suggestions.

Sandy Anthony
Sandy Anthony
3 years ago

He has a whole tranche of video-taped lectures on his You Tube channel. You could start there.

Jurek Molnar
Jurek Molnar
3 years ago

There are 17 lectures, every single one longer than 2 hours on the psychological implications of the bible. A series of events from 2017. Every lecture is long and fascinating and one has to take some time. And it is not about religion per se, but more about history and psychological challenges in every one’s life.

https://www.youtube.com/wat

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

he’s an interesting person. Nowhere does he demand that anyone wholly agree with him, nor is he hostile to being genuinely challenged. The weird part is that the man is a psychologist by profession, yet there is the urge in media circles to treat him as a hostile political figure.

Alan Girling
Alan Girling
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

That’s the only ‘lens’ they have, it’s their training. They turn everything into a thrust and parry exchange in which someone might get hurt, which is what draws the most readers. As a result, they don’t know how to handle people like Peterson who are engaged in genuine intellectual inquiry and nuance. In a sense, they were duped because of the way he happened to rise to prominence, which was on one of those debates (free speech) they love to make hay of in 3 minutes or less. It was that moment that cemented many folks’ reaction to him, and the illiberal left’s everlasting antipathy.

David George
David George
3 years ago

Here’s one Patrick; a very good interview/discussion, not highly intellectual but deeply revealing of the man.
Search “Australia’s John Anderson & Dr. Jordan B Peterson: In Conversation” on you tube.

mc.carthaigh1953
mc.carthaigh1953
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Thanks will do…

ray.wacks
ray.wacks
3 years ago

One has to wonder why he agrees to be interviewed by these bigoted airheads.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  ray.wacks

Because they usually turn out well for him. He should do as many as possible. Every time one of these hit jobs happens, Peterson’s popularity increases because people see them for what they are. I hope he does one a week forever.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
3 years ago

The key thing to understand about Jordan Peterson is that he is a Jungian and thus understands the concept of the Sacrificial Hero. See also Joseph Campbell and his Hero’s Journey.

In his Maps of Meaning Peterson describes the Sacrificial Hero returning from his journey into the underworld of the unconscious and probably dying on the border between Order and Chaos. So that others may live.

When Peterson testified in Canada on the C-16 hearings he was offering himself as a Sacrificial Hero. And the Canadian politicians backed off.

Of course, lefties — especially Good Little Girl journalists — have No Idea about this.

David Stanley
David Stanley
3 years ago

I always find it fascinating that so many people on the left are so desperate to misrepresent what Peterson says and thinks. If he is as terrible as they claim, why not let him be condemned by his own words? If they’re are having to make things up and exaggerate then surely he can’t be that bad so why the need for the constant attacks?

The only conclusion I can draw is that they are terrified that he has exposed the gaping holes in their ideology. They must know that many people will hear what he is saying, conclude that he is right and this will bring down their whole world.

It must be strange to have a belief system that you believe so passionately but one which is so fragile that any exposure to criticism will cause the whole thing to collapse.

Thomas Walling
Thomas Walling
3 years ago
Reply to  David Stanley

I feel the same about the AGW thing. If it’s so self-evident, why do they keep getting caught in lies?
It’s suspicious, if you are able to think about it…

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
3 years ago

Modern journalism in most cases does not pay much; and most jobs in it are very insecure.
What attracts people to it nowadays?
The best of it used to be a walk of life which attracted persons with a social conscience who wanted really to find out what is happening, report same, and truly to speak truth to power.
Yet in the past 20 years, at the level of broadcasting and in the case of half the newsprint, I think it has become the career of choice for BULLIES.
Bullies cope with the burden of being, the problem of consciousness – and get their jollies, their buzzing fixes – from making others hurt, feel cornered, weak, helpless.
With the partisanship that rules most opinion in the modern Establishment of meritocrats with little merit, such persons are recruited to propagandise for the Ruling Caste and this gives them carte blanche to set about trying to make other human beings cry.

Dave Lowery
Dave Lowery
3 years ago

Rifkind was also at it in the ToL the other day, without having acquainted himself with much of Peterson’s work, and any he might have read he quite clearly failed to grasp. Utter tosh.

Ian MacArthur
Ian MacArthur
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Lowery

Dreadful journalist. Thank goodness for him that Daddy got him a job.

Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
3 years ago

The ‘interview’ was a disgrace. Even to call it an interview is a misrepresentation, it was simply a preparation for the hack to write about herself, air her own views and reinforce her own prejudices. Each day I distrust the MSM more and more. The article betrayed, again, the insane but entirely rational reaction the subject engenders in those who fear him. I suppose that is some comfort.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Maxwell

Unfortunately, Peterson is not the only one who is subjected to the “new” journalism. There is a BBC “interview” with Andrew Neil and Ben Shapiro that may be even worse than the Newman/Peterson debacle. Shapiro is a relatively new conservative super star who does not share most of my political views. However, he is articulate and very smart and like the clock, is right some of the time. His recent takedown of AOC could only be heard on his podcast.

The Guardian had it that Neil destroyed Shapiro when to this viewer ,Neil came across as an aging BBC guy way past his prime who, contrary to what he intended, ended up making Shapiro appear like the young smart guy he is.

T here is a Yout Tube interview on THE VIEW of all places with Tulsi Gabbard probably one of the best candidates the Democrats had. The women on The View obviously hated her and acted like the banshees they really are. Tulsi remained calm , refused to allow them to misquote or misrepresent her and made me wonder why she isn’t our V.P. Unfortunately, I know the answer

Ian MacArthur
Ian MacArthur
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Slater

It’s a crying shame she hasn’t crossed the aisle.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
3 years ago

It’s what she does. I remember an interview she did with Tyson Fury, the heavyweight boxer, of a similar type. For all his occasional weird and indeed offensive pronouncements, Fury is an intelligent and thoughtful man who has gone through an interesting trajectory in life in the past three years. Her line: he’s a boxer and therefore a moron and thug. As DM says, the result was just boring.

David Platzer
David Platzer
3 years ago

I wonder if Peterson could sue for libel? Being accused of schizophrenia does seem libelous. What was so bad about Trump’s spokeswomen? The last one was admirable and had to put up with a lot from the potlical activists pretending to be objective journalists.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago

Someone alerted me to the Jordan B. Peterson podcasts a while back. They get delivered on a Sunday morning and are the highlight of my week. The Douglas Murray one was a few weeks ago, but last week’s one with Matt Ridley was excellent.

Aidan Collingwood
Aidan Collingwood
3 years ago

Excellent article. People like Aitkenhead and Newman will never stop being rotten journalists, so they must always be taken to task, preferably in public, by people like Douglas Murray, a task at which he excels.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
3 years ago

When you talk to a journalist, either do so from a fighting stance or don’t do it at all. If you are even in the slightest degree conservatively minded, then they are the enemy. Treat them as such and you’ll be all right. It looks to me like the Petersons made the mistake of actually trusting one of these creatures.

D Ward
D Ward
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

Pity you didn’t tell Susan Carter that yesterday. Poor Neil….

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
3 years ago

….it’s important for the Left to to discredit JBP because, without adherence to a particular religious faith, he says the human capacity for reason is flawed because it is prone to falling in love with it’s own product. And that is why we can never build heaven on earth. That is a wisdom of the ages of course, but one which is suppressed under the reigning derision for tradition religion.

Kathy Leicester
Kathy Leicester
3 years ago

Douglas, thank you so much for writing a beautiful defense of Jordan B. Peterson.

I wouldn’t be here without him, without his work, the book and the lectures. I’d either have gone insane or gone West intentionally. When you listen to his lectures or read the book 12 Rules… you’re reading it like it’s water and you’re in a desert. You just want to pour it all in at once.

He gives you the tools to get up and say “OK, I want to kill myself because I feel useless and hopeless. OK. Peterson says ‘tomorrow, I can always do it tomorrow.’ So, OK. Tomorrow.” Looks around. “I’ll make my bed, clean my room.”

THAT’S NOT NOTHING.

That’s his most important phrase: “That’s not nothing.” It gives you credit for your effort, and hope that you can do better tomorrow.

Who the hell else is offering me hope? And tools to get there?

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
3 years ago

Dr. Peterson has helped me through the last few very difficult years of my life as well.

Dean Baker
Dean Baker
3 years ago

The bullying villagers are always up in arms against the real and different because it exposes their lazy ideocracy, their refusal to understand, and their adherence to their stultifying & suffocating comfort ““ not unusual through history and literature, just that more of them have access to a ‘voice’ when they cannot even begin to actually speak, and definitely do not know what it is to think, which they conflate with superficial and hostile logorrhea.
They’re ‘poopulists’ angered by the rule of the rich, their own diminishing opportunities, and the apparent loss of familiar directions.
Good for Dr. Petersen for continuing to show you must think for yourself, for standing in authenticity against the proliferation of hateful nimrods whose failure of imagination exposes their sterility and unconscious demands to be led so they can bleat hoorays or squeal against reality, anything rather than be confronted with their uninformed biases.

Michael Hobson
Michael Hobson
3 years ago

Unherd featured its own uninformed and attempted smart aleck hit-job last December in a piece by Sarah Ditum.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael Hobson

Then again, by now we are all aware of the quality of Mrs. Ditum “work”. Just read a couple of her pieces here at Unherd, and you’re good to go…

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

By now Peterson and Murray should know not to trust journalist, especially from The Times.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I agree. I’m surprised that the same old same old is under way in msm, but I”m also surprised that Peterson agreed to the interview.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

Aitkenheads piece was weird. It used off target hyperbole and inaccuracy to do a hatchet job . And failed spectacularly . The Journalist looked cheap and vindictive- I’m surprised the Editor let it be published.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

I can understand the so-called liberal left disagreeing with Peterson’s centre-right politics. What I simply don’t understand at all is their visceral hatred of the man. What exactly has he said or done that has so utterly deranged them?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

He’s not one of them. This is who they are. Leftists tolerate no deviation from their dogma. They’re like jihadis but the use cancel culture instead of violence.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

But there are others who are not one of them – the author of this article for example – who are not the subjects of vicious and relentless attack. The only reason I can think of for the left’s singling out of Peterson is that he has been ill and is therefore vulnerable.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Peterson is a staunch critic of identity politics, and that is a defining feature of the modern left. He has also gained a sizable audience, which makes him a threat.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I think you are correct. To me Mr Peterson has always had around him an aura of vulnerability, which can be helpful in his debates yet can sometimes be used as a weapon against him by the unscrupulous.
Why is he hated? Reason dear boy, they don’t like it up ’em you know!

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

The odd thing is that his politics are fairly centre-left, its only in regards to identity politics and similar nonsense that he could be described as being on the right. He’s in favour of redistributing wealth because of the destabilising effects of economic stratification on society. You could feel the disappointment among the chatterati when he appeared on question time with straightforward and relatively mild leftish opinions. The right wing demagogue of their imagination was noticeably absent from the conversation.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

If anything, your assessment of him as centre-left strengthens the salience of my question, as I’m sure you agree. Why do they hate him so viciously?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

They hate him so viciously because he advocates self reliance and because he uses facts to destroy a lot of woke nonsense. And that’s before you start on the fact that he is very intelligent, articulate and well read.

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Yes, I agree completely. It’s a bizarre phenomenon and I can’t figure it out.

Sarah Cantor
Sarah Cantor
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

I wonder if they hate him because they can’t ‘unman’ him. Although no doubt he feels wounded he remains civil and in control of his words and actions. It drives them crazy because he can’t be goaded into rage or incoherence. Also, he has the courage to continue to trust others and to continue to reveal himself. People sometimes, unconsciously, want to destroy other people who have what they wish they had (a sense of meaning, a wholeness and connection to oneself).

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

If a contemporary journalist asked Jordan Peterson the time, his answer would be spun into an imagined rant about how women lack the ability to be punctual.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

Hopefully Jordan might have learned never give an interview to a Guardian journalist which is as bad as the BBC.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

I’d pay big bucks to read a Guardian / Peterson interview. Can you imagine how endlessly entertaining it would be?

Ian Oakley
Ian Oakley
3 years ago

An excellent article about an interesting man. I have always liked the way Peterson combats journalists spin with facts and they hate him for it.

Perry Albin
Perry Albin
3 years ago

It is a tragedy on several fronts that journalism is on life support, and its prognosis is not good. It is no coincidence that the explosion of selfishness and its cousin, envy, has occurred at the same time. As you point out, analyses of the phenomenon of Dr. Peterson’s impact on very many people could fill lots of interesting books. Books that we would probably be better for having read. Instead, we have this Guardian piece arising out of envy and “reputational rent seeking”. Small-minded. Shameful.

Colin Colquhoun
Colin Colquhoun
3 years ago
Reply to  Perry Albin

To be fair it’s a Times piece, not a guardian piece. The guardian haven’t written anything about Jordan Peterson since Febuary 2018, I just googled it. I think that’s moderately interesting actually. Maybe they want to avoid the overwhelmingly negative response this piece got. Jordan Peterson isn’t an easy target.

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
3 years ago

Gosh. If there ever needed to be evidence that the Peterson’s do NOT runa a “Trump style press office” it’s the interview and article.
I completely gave up on the Sunday Times, a supposed paper of record, a couple of years ago. I very occasionally get a paper copy now. I had to, as many thousands of others. They had drifted too far. The Petersons mistook the Times for a reasonable paper.

I read the interview in the magazine and was taken aback. I then listened to the entire 3 hr audio interview and then read this article. It is shocking, though sadly not surprising, that the initial email from the Times was utterly different from the end result.
The Petersons were naive here, at worst, and had too much trust.

But overall, we all know who has won this one.

As many others here, to hear Jordon speak with genuine passion is something special. I challenge anyone not to be incredibly affected by hearing him crack in interviews and on stage. It is painful. And for a good reason. We humans can spot fake emotions. We are hardwired to. We sense another’s pain immediately. We would not have survived otherwise.

Peterson is genuine. When he speaks of people ‘starving’ he touches all of us at a deep emotional level. It brings a tear to my eyes to hear raw emotion. That is human and it is healthy. We ignore such honesty at our peril.

Joseph McCord
Joseph McCord
3 years ago

“Hostile mindless zombies wanted for lucrative career position: please apply within.”

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Thank you for this forensic exploration of journalistic poison. In many, many years of reading MSM newspapers, I have never seen such an overflow of negative responses to an article as I have with Decca Aitkenhead’s on Jordan Peterson. Even people who said they were not Peterson fans found her writing an outrageous abuse of power. At the time of writing (early hours of 7th February), there are around 3.600 comments on the article. I’ve got through several hundred and have yet to find one that attempts to support her.

The most striking, and encouraging thing about those comments is not that they represent one side of a negative perspective. Rather, it is that they tackle the article from umpteen perspectives, ranging from comments on journalistic professionalism, to some wonderfully imaginative ” and in some cases entirely plausible ” conjectures as to why Decca Aitkenhead might think it is OK to write like this.

There are many possible explanations for her poisoned heart and execrable conduct, and Douglas Murray supplies a number of them here. But to them I would add that one of the most striking characteristics of many followers of progressivist ideology is their lack of self-awareness. One can see it in responses to the infamous Cathy Newman interview, where neither she nor her bosses in Channel 4 saw that there was anything wrong with what she did, while the rest of the world saw that she made a fool of herself.

This kind of blindness ” this inability to see, is a common characteristic in followers of cults, for the ideology blinds the believer. In this case, progressivist ideology blinds its adherents to the realities of human nature and to the idea that they (the adherents) might possibly be mistaken.

Stephen Tye
Stephen Tye
3 years ago

Jordan Peterson, world renown intellectual, unafraid to speak, widely respected for his views and abilities.

Decca Aitkenhead – who?

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

The easiest way to stuff up hatchet jobs is set up a couple of little video cameras, one each person and say you’re going to record the interview …and be upfront about why..because you are tired of hatchet jobs.

You could put little stickers on your cameras *This machine kills Facists..even ones in disguise*

Jay Bee
Jay Bee
3 years ago

I listened to the just under 3hr. interview with Peterson, his daughter and Aitkenhead last night. At the conclusion, what I mostly felt for Peterson was sadness – despite attempts to extract something positive out of it, as Murray does in this piece.

The intellect of this sensitive and troubled man is immense – only a fool would doubt that. But my fear is the ‘marketing’ of this intellect has been hyperdrive…. the amount of shows he conducted prior to his withdrawal from public life was, in short, preposterous. Peterson is such a deep thinker, he appears to struggle anew at each show to square off his own thinking on subjects. This is refreshing, compared to the ‘rote’ performances by other public intellectuals.

But the cost of this to his mental and physical health appears to have been enormous. Murray suggests Peterson ‘has since recovered’ – if that is the case then we should all be happy. My feeling is the upcoming publicity associated with his new book, propelled by his daughter/manager, could very well see him relapse under the sheer pressure of ‘performing’.

I very much hope I’m wrong on this.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago

What amazes me is that anyone, never mind Jordan Peterson, would agree to this kind of interview in which they places themselves entirely in the hands of the journalist. The sit-downs Peterson did with Newman and Helen Lewis were examples of the head-hunting that these hacks specialise in. Lewis’s condescending tone and smirks were a giveaway from the start that she was out to discredit him rather than discuss his work seriously.

Aitkenhead (shouldn’t the Guardian background have rung alarm bells?) was a particularly odd choice to meet since she held all the cards when writing up her prejudices. At least the Newman and Lewis interviews were videoed and are preserved on YouTube so that what Jordan said was there for the hearing ,unmediated by hackery. Both of these women peddle liberal feminism for a living so perhaps Jordan, as a purveyor of empirical common sense, feels its’ a duty to tackle them but he had no such duty to a newspaper writer.

Lewis formerly worked for the New Statesman which got caught out for the notorious job it did on Roger Scruton. What also amazes me is that journalists, even when products of a modern education, imagine they are smart enough to take on someone with Jordon’s expertise and intellectual integrity. Perhaps it’s their lack of the latter which leads them astray.

Anyway, never, never talk to a journalist and expect honest, fair treatment and I was on for 40 years. If they want your opinion, offer to write them an op-ed to be published without change.

Tim Corn
Tim Corn
3 years ago

Hugo Rifkind tried a similar hit-job in a Times OpEd on Tuesday.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

Maybe it’s the long winter Covid lockdown, or advancing age, but I’m finding these days that the mind tends to wander a bit about what’s happening in our world.
It’s fairly obvious that the card-carrying Woke ideologues, either through intellectual laziness or admiration, have chosen to ‘copy and paste’ Bolshevik tactical expedience by simply eliminating those that refuse to buy in.
I don’t think those people are worth my time – they are lost.
But I wonder what goes on in the minds of the camp followers – especially in the media.
Some certainly see financial gain in supporting the revolution but in the face of an increasingly huge mountain of obvious misinformation and bald-faced lies are there really so many people that have ditched their moral compass, that just want to look the other way?
Are they bad people or are they just so afraid?
How depressing must it be to live in such a way.

In the wonderful Judgement at Nuremburg Judge Heywood (Spencer Tracey) agrees to meet with the condemned Judge Ernst Janning (Burt Lancaster) whom Heywood has long-admired as a leading authority in jurisprudence.

Ernst Janning: Judge Haywood… the reason I asked you to come: Those people, those millions of people… I never knew it would come to that. You *must* believe it, *You must* believe it!

Judge Dan Haywood: Herr Janning, it “came to that” the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent.

Baw Jaws
Baw Jaws
3 years ago

A brilliantly objective piece of journalism about your friend Douglas