Listened Is “opinion” doing more harm than good? from ABC Radio National

Opinion writing plays a disproportionate role in our media eco-system: it drives online traffic, fuels emotion, feeds the forces of polarisation, and promotes an incapacity to understand one another. But is there a different way to think about opinion?

Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens speak with Ross Douthat about opinion writing. They wonder in a world of polarisation what purpose the opinion piece serves.

But if opinion pieces now appeal primarily to the “tribes of the already convinced”, are they in fact doing more harm than good in these polarized times? Or is there a different way to think about opinion — a way which acknowledges the peculiar moral vocation that inheres to the task? Can opinion pieces provide a kind of “gestalt switch”, shifting one’s perception such that we can see aspects of reality otherwise?

This has me rethinking a piece I wrote a few years ago: Tribes are Good, But Do They Really Evolve the Conversation? However, I also wonder if this highlights the downside of blogs as a medium?

Liked by Colin Walker (

Right and true are formed by consensus – some will align with me, others with John, but when true consensus cannot be achieved we are left with opinion.

That’s fine, we seek opinions to educate ourselves and to gain affirmation of our own, but when we blindly reject those that don’t provide that affirmation we tread a slippery slope.