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February 11, 2007


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Richard S

Not if it's a fallacy!

john henderson

now we're getting somewhere! i think david's comment about dressing things up in shades of gray is indeed very true. but your lawyer will have the tools to win every time if he can break it all down to its black and white constituents then he can counter each, one by one. clear as mud really! speaking of journalism, on newsnight tonight, jp use the howard formula to make yet another member of the cabinet squirm on the paxo hook. same old formula - works every time. black, white. night!

Richard S

Well...I think advocacy is the basis of much of our society (courts and Parliament included) but not, I hope, fallacious argument. And I certainly wouldnt want to be defended in court on the basis of a fallacy. While you wouldn't want your lawyer to talk up the prosecutions case, you'd certainly want him to address it and hopefully find the flaws in it...which might be a bit more complicated than "We're right, you're wrong"....
Things may be simpler if you know where people are coming from, but does that mean they are necessarily correct, or fairer? You're right. Time for bed.

david brain

I've thought about this a bit more. Black vs white is indeed an interesting subject. Isn't it also a tradition of Anglo Saxon society? Is there not a fundamental belief going back to the Greeks and Romans that the process of advocating black vs white in front of a judging public is the basis of good government - - or concenus as we might call it these days? Its underlies our legal system and sense of justice for example. You would not expect your trial lawyer to say to you; "you know what mate, I know you're innocent of these heinous crimes, but how about I talk to the jury about the merits of the prosecution's case . . just for balance"? I think the difference perhaps is when black (or white) is actually dressed up as grey. If you know where the advocate is coming from (and who they are paid by) then the advocate's role either in the court of law or the court of public opinion is more straightforward is it not? Or is it just too late to be blogging?

RIchard S

I think that's fair comment David. I certainly don't believe all journalists or all journalism is good and all PR is bad. WHo was it said the essence of popular journalism is to simplify as far as possible and then exaggerate?!

David Brain


In setting up the black vs white conceit you are falling into your own trap. It's a tactic of 'spin doctors and lobbyists' you assert. Suggest you take a look at some of the tabloids or listen to the interview techniques on your own radio stations and I think you'll find your profession adopts it pretty readily. There's more to this than the sacred facts of journalism versus the spin doctors and lobbyists . . . that's a black vs white argument.

john henderson

if you've got shades of gray, you've simply not refined things enough. it all boils down to black and white in the end - don't let anyone tell you any different. its all 1s and 0s. it is, or it isn't, there is no other answer. this is why microprocessors allow us to make more mistakes quicker than any invention in human history - with the possible exception of tequila. but why settle for shades of gray? gray is boring and bland. have colour. have vibrant colour have 16.7million colours. and give them all pretty sounding names. then you can start to be creative. but you have to submit to the primal instinct of 1s and 0s first. once you do that you can go forth an broadcast everything everywhere in every colour imaginable to man (and woman)

john henderson

lol! well i've never met the man, as much as i'd like to. i'm sure he would be fascinating, i'll just have to settle for reading the rest of his book in the meantime!

Richard s

We'll have to agree to disagree John. Insisting it's all black and white is an excuse not to engage in complexity. And no he didn't give me the number plate. He put it on his own car instead!

john henderson

everything richard, is indeed black and white. that is the logical way captain. why would it be and different? why that would simply be illogical.

shades of grey, pretty as they may be, are for slow learners. just as seamus mallon once said, the belfast agreement was sunningdale for slow learners, subtlety is society’s way of introducing shades of grey to the those among us who cannot see the white spot sat next to the black one.

did greg dyke give you that number plate, and more importantly, did you put it on your car and drive to whitehall in it? lol!

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