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NL Interview: Mehdi Hasan on facts and persuasion in a hyper-polarised climate

‘Have people given up on factual reality? Thankfully no.’

WrittenBy:NL Team

British-American journalist Mehdi Hasan is known to be a razor-sharp debater on news television. Not just for the interviews featuring booby traps for guests from across the political spectrum, but also telecasts speaking truth to power.

In a conversation about his book Win Every Argument, the journalist of Indian descent tells Abhinandan Sekhri that “winning arguments can be the difference between getting a job and putting food on the table, saving democracy and losing your democracy”.

On the social divide in an increasingly hyper-partisan society, Mehdi says that persuasion is possible even in hyper-polarised situations and that facts do matter – though to a smaller number of people. “Have people given up on factual reality? Thankfully no.”

“Facts still matter. I know people in your country and my country want to tell us, especially people on the right…that facts don't matter. The authoritarian needs for the public to believe that facts don’t matter, because that’s how the strongman emerges.”

Asked if he watches Indian news, Mehdi says he used to watch a “lot more before I  got bogged down, watched various Indian cable channels which make Fox look rather mild.” 

He points out how Fox News contributes to right-wing propaganda in the US and the impact of gaslighting politicians on the media sector and emerging media diets. Mehdi also gives insights on the difference between broadcasting styles in the UK and US, and how that has changed in recent years.

Asked about his career choice, Mehdi says, “I have got a loud mouth.”

Watch the teaser here. The full interview is behind the paywall.

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