20 April 2006
How should you fisk a podcast?

As I have mentioned before I have been listening to Stefan Molyneux's series of podcasts. Most of them have been pretty good although one or two have made me hum and haw a bit. But the one on 9/11, in which he gives credence to the claim that it was organised by the US government (link to follow), set the alarm bells ringing.

Now, I think the claim that 9/11 was anything other than what it appeared to be, is absurd and I could write a whole long piece about conspiracy theories and falsafiability, but it is another issue that interests me: how should you even go about fisking a podcast?

Well, couldn't you just go through it line by line?

You could, but think of the effort involved and especially the effort involved in comparison to fisking a blog posting. While, it is easy to scan and take excerpts from a posting it is much harder to do this with a podcast. Meanwhile, it is much easier to produce a podcast (once you've got the right equipment) than it is to write a posting (something that Brian Micklethwait has mentioned - here, I think - see what I mean about how difficult it is to track things down in podcasts?). There is a severe imbalance here, in terms of effort, certainly if one is attempting to balance verbal podcasts with written blog postings.

In that case, isn't the obvious answer to do a verbal fisking?

Yes, but there are a number of difficulties with this. Not necessarily show-stoppers but things that will slow you down:
  • Linking. How do you put an html link into a podcast? The only way you can do it is by creating a blog posting with the links to the original podcast and your fisking. Cumbersome.
  • Excerpting. You still have to find, cut and paste the bits you want to excerpt.

So, what is the answer?

Well, maybe, the answer is to do nothing. Maybe, you have to accept that podcasts are not really fiskable and because they aren't they shouldn't be taken too seriously. Exactly, the same, of course, is true of all other forms of broadcast media.
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  1. hum and haw a bit

    That’s putting it mildly in cases. I’m open to persuasion on a lot of the more fanciful libertarian tenets (one of Stef’s first pieces about pollution insurance counter balancing the threat of a smoke belching factory next door and private armed forces* are great fun). But I have no time whatsoever for the conspiratorial ravings of the Lew Rockwell crowd, for which Stef sometimes writes. One they’re usually plain daft but also they always seem to hinge on too many people keeping quiet -except for the one wiseman with a website top heavy on the animated gifs.

    *As it happensI think the, admitedly state organised but needent be, Swiss militia model is probably the best.

    Posted by Mark Holland on 20 April 2006 at 03:48pm

  2. You’re quite right, I do not believe that the US government had anything to do with 9/11. I did spend some time looking into it, but found that conspiracy claims baseless.

    I hope you kept listening! smile

    Posted by Stefan Molyneux on 31 August 2007 at 06:16am

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