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“We are weaker, more exhausted and more divided than ever”

Nesrine Malik in The Guardian writes about manufacturing dissent for ratings and clicks:

The forums in which we find ourselves debating issues – Brexit, immigration or “identity politics” – are structurally designed to exacerbate, rather than resolve or even explore, differences. Conflict is favoured over conversation, animosity over inquiry. Usually, disagreements that happen on social media are picked out and repackaged by traditional media outlets. We see it all the time: a public figure tweets a controversial statement, social media users come out for or against, print and online media amalgamates the content into 600 words, and perhaps “the debate” makes the six o’clock news. There may be a relatively small number of people actually online, and an even smaller number actively arguing, but their activity is magnified, consumed and, ultimately, monetised and pressed into the service of political agendas.

… In these conditions, engaging in a back-and-forth with someone holding an opposing viewpoint is not a constructive act with the aim of reaching common ground, or at least an understanding of the other: it is to feed an insatiable appetite for public spectacle.

… If the ultimate purpose of debate is to encourage pluralism and tolerance, we need to realise that these ends cannot be achieved when the means has been infected by bad faith.