Your October Questions, Answered
Part 1 of 2
Man, you guys asked so many good questions. I probably won’t make this a habit, but I’m going to divide my responses into two parts so I can answer more of them. I’ll space things out and publish Part 2 of this AMA two or three Singal-Mindeds down the road. Definitely open to feedback about how often I should do AMAs — I view them as high-variance because they can get so random. I bet sometimes readers really like them, and sometimes there’s a bit of scrolling through without much excitement. It’s sort of luck of the draw, both which questions I answer and whether you, the reader, are interested in those particular subjects.
On to the answers:
Hi Jesse — a big fan of your work, diligence, and ability to explain the complexities of a controversial topic in a good-faith way. I have a question about your decisions regarding media appearances. I know you and Katie, for example, have appeared on Megyn Kelly’s podcast/show. However, when I have seen you both on, while you two have been great because of your even-tempered and measured opinions, it seems like Megyn is using your voices and perspectives as a way of saying “see it’s not just me saying liberals are bad; it’s other liberals too!” While you and Katie do offer valuable perspectives, it seems as if someone like Megyn Kelly is using your perspectives in bad faith on her part.
So how do you balance or determine to do a media appearance regarding a topic where you might have expertise, and the provider of the platform?
Thanks! —Adam Colorado
I don’t think there are any easy answers to this. The way I look at it is that my work depends, in part, on reaching as large an audience as possible. To the extent I can reach large audiences without appearing on the platforms of people who are crazy, I’ll generally do that, allowing for various contextually dependent exceptions.
Megyn Kelly has a large audience. She isn’t crazy. She is conservative, significantly to the right of me on a variety of issues. Undoubtedly, we’re coming at the world from different perspectives. But I don’t think it’s ridiculous to believe that if I weren’t the guest, there’d be a farther-right one anyway, and plus, I don’t have a problem pushing back if I think she (or anyone) is pushing some point too far, or exaggerating the evidence for some position. But yes, I certainly recognize the possibility of getting the Even The Liberal Jesse Singal treatment. I guess at a certain level I don’t care that much? Even The Liberal Jesse Singal thinks that there were embarrassing, unfair meltdowns in mainstream media after George Floyd was murdered? Sure, I’ll cop to that opinion. If conservatives agree with it, so what? Even The Liberal Jesse Singal thinks we should be careful about puberty blockers and hormones? Same deal. Of course, if Kelly or anyone else tries to say Even The Liberal Jesse Singal holds some opinion I don’t hold, I’ll say so.
One interesting example of how this works in practice was when I went on The Joe Rogan Experience. I wasn’t not going to go on Joe Rogan. I’d go on Joe Rogan again. But I really didn’t like the way he had soft-pedaled and excused Alex Jones, who is a longtime friend of his, but who is also genuinely one of the most pernicious figures in English-speaking media. So near the top of my appearance, I criticized Jones — I didn’t want to go on this platform without doing so. But it was, in retrospect, a bit half-hearted. For one thing, I’m not an expert on Alex Jones. For another, while I wanted to make my point, I wasn’t going to completely derail the appearance just to talk about Alex Jones. So I don’t think it really accomplished anything other than getting a bunch of Rogan’s fans to hate me (they were also very mad that I criticized Donald Trump).
What do you think it will take for the US public to look at what is going on in youth gender “medicine”? It appears to me that it is not medicine, it’s pseudo-medicine. There isn’t differential diagnosis to determine treatment recommendations (people don’t know how to determine for whom medical intervention might help, although there are some red flags to indicate whom it might hurt. . . e.g., comorbidities, trauma, being gay, social pressures noted), and someone considering medical treatment can’t be told the likelihood of any outcome or even how many have had bad outcomes or good outcomes. Or what will happen, most likely, if they don’t have this treatment, but do an alternative or no treatment (“BRAN”-benefits, risks, assessments and doing nothing). For cancer, for instance, if you don’t intervene. . . you know it’s going to be bad. Here. . . we don’t know. . . people keep saying it is inappropriate to not treat people if you can, but the Dutch protocol always refused some people, what treatment did they get? (Not my argument, heard it from someone else, but it’s good!)
Right now decent medical care (e.g., diagnosis and treatment based upon studies) is not happening and yet there is a wall of “anyone who asks questions about the evidence hates these young people” . . . and people won’t look. I know lawsuits are starting, detransitioners are speaking up, evidence reviews are happening, and hopefully someone will someday soon start to look at long-term outcomes from those a decade ago or so. . . but I just see this wall with people’s minds totally closed down. They seem afraid to think about it and to assume that anyone who brings it up is a bigot (no matter what else they’ve done or been their entire lives). What do you think it will take? (If this is an impossible question, of course please ignore!)
Thank you for all you have done on this — most recently for holding medical articles to standards of rigor (you shouldn’t have had to, but the journals didn’t require accuracy or making sense, so thank you for pointing it out!). —J Chicago
These questions are at the top of my mind because I just discussed them in some detail at the talk I gave last night at UCLA, and because during the Q&A someone asked me where I see things going on this issue in the States.