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Point of Inquiry disbanding and joining Mother Jones over CFI/WiS debacle

I’m sure this will be reprinted on one of their blogs very soon, but I was just sent this press release by Adam Isaak. I’ll link as soon as possible.

Point of Inquiry Team Resigns, Launches New Show with Mother Jones

On Friday, Point of Inquiry’s two co-hosts—Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney—resigned from their positions at the Center for Inquiry. On Monday, Point of Inquiry producer Adam Isaak followed suit. This note is to explain our reasons for departing CFI and our future plans.

In May of 2013, when the Women in Secularism II conference took place in Washington, D.C., Point of Inquiry—the flagship podcast of the Center for Inquiry—was more successful that it has ever been. Following a format change in 2010, our audience has increased by 60 percent and our growth rate has doubled in the last year and a half. We’d recently done a highly successful live show featuring Steven Pinker before a packed room at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, and interviewed guests like Oliver Sacks, Jared Diamond, Paul Krugman, and Mary Roach. We had started to incorporate new, successful video content. 2013 featured our most listened-to show ever and we were averaging well over 2 million total downloads per year.

Then came the events at that conference—including a widely criticized speech by Center for Inquiry President & CEO Ronald Lindsay. Lindsay then went further, writing a blog post which referred to a post by one of his critics—Rebecca Watson—as follows: “It may be the most intellectually dishonest piece of writing since the last communique issued by North Korea.”

In response to public criticism of Lindsay’s speech and blog post, CFI’s Board of Directors issued an ambiguous statement regretting the controversy, but going no further than that.

These actions have generated much discussion, criticism and polarization within our community. In addition, they created an environment at CFI that made it very difficult for our producer, Adam Isaak, to continue working there.

We, like others, welcome Lindsay’s recent apology. That apology, however, was not followed by any direct effort to retain Chris or Indre, nor did it make up for the very real toll this controversy has taken upon our podcast and our ability to produce it.

The actions of Lindsay and the Board have made it overwhelmingly difficult for us to continue in our goal to provide thoughtful and compelling content, including coverage of feminist issues, as in past interviews with guests like Amanda Marcotte, Katha Pollitt, MG Lord, and Carol Tavris.

The Center for Inquiry has supported us in the past and has asked Chris and Indre to speak at many of its conferences. We are thankful for that.  But we’re a team and we do this together. We believe that this controversy has impaired our ability to produce the highest quality podcast under the auspices of CFI and that our talents will be put to better use elsewhere.

To that end, we are in the process of formalizing a new podcast that will allow us to continue to provide the in-depth interviews with leading intellectuals that made Point of Inquiry such a success. We’ll announce the name and more details about the new podcast shortly but as of right now, we can already announce something we’re all incredibly excited about: the new show will be produced in collaboration with the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones. You can follow @MotherJones on Twitter to get the latest updates on the show’s official launch. We all look forward to turning our attention to the work at hand, and leaving this controversy behind.

Adam Isaak, Indre Viskontas, and Chris Mooney

For more information or to schedule an interview with Chris Mooney or Indre Viskontas, please contact Adam Isaak at [email protected] or at 701-540-5855.

This document can also be found at: http://goo.gl/FMQHd

The Google shortcode is to a Google Drive document hosting the original release.

I can testify as to its legitimacy from at least one of the participants. I’ll link elsewhere as soon as they are posted.

(Why’s the world gots to go blow up when I’m so sleeeeepy!?)

Comments

  1. says

    So my initial thoughts in the comments, because reasons.

    Apparently CFI has been a really difficult place to work lately, from various trickled third-hand accounts of being on the inside. I am not particularly SURPRISED by this, but I am kind of surprised at the timing of the apology now. Were the apologies intended to get out in front of a known exodus? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  2. says

    What do you mean you have to “wait and see”, clearly you and the FTB cabal have been co-ordinating all this from your secret moon base. The near universal FTB acceptance of the apology was just a smokescreen to hide the real subterfuge going on in the back channel!
    [Have I managed to out ridiculous the bumblefucks? Probably only with the moon base reference, the rest will likely be their take on it]

  3. says

    oolon: I have taken to ignoring them. Their lies, distortions, tu quoque and false equivalences are more than tiring, and it’s the same exact dozen rounds in their chambers every go-around. It’s like fighting with creationists. I know you fancy yourself Jane Goodall to their howler monkey tribe, but I honestly don’t know what profit is in that particular vocation.

    Well. I say that, but I expect there IS something useful in keeping tabs on them. You get to find out firsthand when they attempt to poison discourse by getting to someone who hasn’t been “brainwashed by the feminazistasi” and spreading said distortions in such a way that it’s difficult to actually clean up all the damage. But all you get from that is an unending series of migraines and a slightly-early warning system.

  4. says

    @Jason, I’ve actually given up reading the Slymepit shortly after giving up posting there… I’d say that directly keeping tabs on the pit is not useful, it is pretty boring once you get over the constant slow-motion car crash nature of watching them try, and fail, to find their own arses with both hands.

    I see from Wowbagger and that post that I failed to out parody them as usual as I didn’t think they’d be that ridiculous. But there is a comment on there blaming Ophelia despite her accepting the apology, conspiracy!

  5. hjhornbeck says

    Thibeault @3:

    Well. I say that, but I expect there IS something useful in keeping tabs on them. You get to find out firsthand when they attempt to poison discourse by getting to someone who hasn’t been “brainwashed by the feminazistasi” and spreading said distortions in such a way that it’s difficult to actually clean up all the damage. But all you get from that is an unending series of migraines and a slightly-early warning system.

    Better Oolon gets that migraine than you. He’s got more expertise on ‘Pit culture than the rest of us, and I’ve found his comments handy at getting a grip on the current memes over there without having to dip into the stream myself. Even Benson doesn’t post more than a fraction of the crap hurled their way, so having another eye and brain on hand to decode and track some of this is mighty handy.

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