If you missed this interview somehow, or need a refresher, you can check the video out above.
Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian professor who gained fame for opposing Canada's new laws of compelled speech. The law in question deals with issues like mandating transgender individuals be referred to by their chosen pronouns.
But Peterson claims he doesn't care what the intent of a compelled-speech law is. His stance is that a government that seeks to control the words its citizens must speak, with legal recourse, should be opposed.
Taking this stance destabilized his job security and made Peterson a figure of controversy both in Canada and abroad.
This interview with English reporter Cathy Newman took place expanded his exposure immensely.
The consensus of many is that Peterson not only held his own in the interview but emerged victor in the interview-turned-debate.
To see if there is some science behind the general impression, let's take a look at how their conversation plots out in my system.
In this conversation, Jordan B. Peterson scores as a Pundit (this type presents insight on a specific topic with the inherent bias of presenting themselves as accurate and contenders as less informed.)
and Cathy Newman scores as a Preacher (this type places all information into an ongoing narrative they maintain we collectively share, whether we know it or not.)
So what do all those colors mean?
Think of them this way:
- Green invites a response from the other person
- Purple shows collaboration of ideas
- Red indicates asserting ideas
- Yellow shows where objective information is introduced
- Orange reveals where information is being framed within the discussion
- Grey squares indicate prompted responses that are discounted in scoring
You can see that Newman asks more questions than Peterson does, which is appropriate since she is the one conducting the interview.
In an ideal world, Newman would score as the polar opposite of her current score by providing the information and research she wants to discuss with Peterson and walking through/challenging his responses.
|No interviewer can go wrong scoring as an Explorer|
The path she took instead was to make assertions and frame her conclusions as definitive while speaking with a subject matter expert.
This led to a conversation where Newman sought to assert her thoughts as a framework of facts, to which Peterson responded with actual facts/statistics and reframes of her assertions. His reframes and statistics came across as well-informed enough to make Newman's assertions seem wobbly to anyone who wasn't in Preacher mode with her.
Throughout the entire discussion, Newman fights to frame her claims as both accurate and aspirational, but Peterson doesn't let her walk away with either trophy. In American-speak, there is "reasonable doubt" as to whether or not she is correct in her assertions when faced with Peterson's counter-claims.
Newman goes all-in putting Peterson on trial for his stances, and not only does she not get him to move, she often proves his points in her eagerness to gain traction.
Peterson's main weapon in making Newman's claims slippery is all the yellow you see on his chart. Peterson walked into the interview with facts he could frame, and Newman walked into the interview with frames she presented like strung-together, cherry-picked correlations.
The result was that Newman likely converted no one in this interview while Peterson demonstrably gained more followers and attention in the aftermath.
To get a better idea as to why his approach to hot-button topic resonated with so many, look at the flow of conversation one more time and let the colors do the talking.
Green and Yellow open up the conversation.
Purple shows attempt at collaboration
Red and Orange narrow and direct the conversation
Looking at the graphs alone, can you see why most people come out of the interview viewing Peterson as the victor?
Have any questions or angles you'd like me to address?
Feel free to tweet me ideas and requests @SheralynPratt.