Grand Polemics Art of Mind Meeting #2

Free Speech & Alex Jones

September 23, 2018 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Tristan Lauber Studio 4848A ave. du Parc, Montreal, qc H2V 4E6
Moderator: Geoff Brown
Evaluator: Geoff Brown

Free Speech & Alex Jones

Alex Jones is a controversial right wing conspiracy theorist, host of the Alex Jones Show, creator of the Infowars website, and has been called "the most prolific conspiracy theorist in America. Jones has contributed to spreading Obama birtherism, antivaccination, and 9/11 "inside job", Sandy Hook "false flag" and "Pizzagate" conspiracy theories to name just a few. His main website infowars.com receives approximately 10M visits per month, giving it a larger audience than Newsweek or the Economist, and the majority of his revenue is obtained from selling dietary supplements that he markets through his channels. The misinformation that Jones spreads is not without consequence - parents of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims have received death threats from Jones' followers and the owners and employees of the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria (implicated in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory) have been subjected to harassment, threats and one believer firing shots into the restaurant. In July 2018, Jones received a series of removals and bans from major online platforms and has now been banned by iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and many others. These services are run by private businesses; they can ban whomever they choose, and are under no obligation to give Jones a platform. But the size and captive user networks of sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter give them great power in deciding which voices will be heard and which will not. Should Jones be banned or permitted to continue his activities? What are the dangers of large private corporations wielding such power to shape our public conversations? Do we need to change how the internet is operated or regulated in order to preserve the integrity of our public discourse?

Agenda

Arrival
5 min 6:00pm - 6:05pm
Business Session
Geoff Brown 5 min 6:05pm - 6:10pm
Critical Thinking Tip
The Principle of Simplicity
Geoff Brown 5 min 6:10pm - 6:15pm
Fallacy of the Day
Appeals to Emotion
Geoff Brown 5 min 6:15pm - 6:20pm
Discussion
Free Speech & Alex Jones
Geoff Brown 85 min 6:20pm - 7:45pm
Review
Geoff Brown 10 min 7:45pm - 7:55pm
Closing Words
Next Discussions:
- Racism's Second Wind
- How It's Made: The Ethics of Producing What We Buy

MM3 November: Fight Fallacies With Fire
Geoff Brown 5 min 7:55pm - 8:00pm
Agenda PDF