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Point Taken

By WGBH

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Description

Enough shouting. Let’s use our inside voices. Each week, POINT TAKEN debates a topic Americans care about. We deliver smart, interesting guests who can disagree without being disagreeable. Come learn something you didn't know, and maybe laugh a little. Watch it Tuesdays starting April 5th at 11/10C on PBS, and listen to it here the day after.

Customer Reviews

Meh. Pundits’ take on Oxford-style debating

I was disappointed by this show. The format is basically two sides face off on a particular issue, moderator asks them questions in kind of a half-conversational, half-pointed way, which would be great if it was more of a panel and the panelists were engaging with each other in an intellectually honest way. Instead it’s basically two sides with polar opposite positions on a broadly posed question prepared with sound bytes. The moderator could also give better introductions to the issues, which might allow him to highlight some of the nuances that are getting neglected by panelists in their opening statements.

Besides the format, the main issue with the show is the choice of guests. Filling the panel with activists, pundits, bloggers, etc., you’re getting a very unsophisticated, one-sided view of some of these topics that leads to a lot of code-switching without narrowing to the key points of disagreement. It’s difficult, moreover, to trust the presenters intellectually who have a direct stake in a particular policy outcome and/or are categorically opposed to a certain position for reasons other than those most relevant to listeners. For example, a recent panel on wage transparency would have been much improved if, instead of libertarian pundits and wage equality advocates, the panel included an economist, one or two law professors, a government administrator, and a member of the business community (Dan Price fit this bill). Preferably the guests would have reached their conclusions on the issue of *transparency* following a rigorous intellectual process and full consideration of the pros and cons (of which there are many), and not based on selective and self-serving interpretations of ambiguous data, intuitions about fairness and behavioral economics, and categorical opposition to regulation in any form.

All that said, the show gets three stars because it’s starting conversations about important topics (even if the end result is, arguably, more polarization).

Politics isn't a game show

This show was very disappointing. Instead of any real discussion of the issues, we get a formal debate (which is really just a type of rhetorical exercise in which participants spew talking points) interspersed with vaguely related trivia questions trotted out like they were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or something like that. The first episode was about the American dream, but they had the guests talking for nearly six full minutes before the moderator thought to ask them to define "American dream." Then we find out the four guests have three different definitions (what a stroke of luck that two of them basically agreed with each other), which means that everyone had just been talking past one another. And since all of their talking points were prepared before the show, they continued talking past one another because formal debate style doesn't really have a lot of room for retooling in the middle of the exchange. So the whole thing was more or less pointless because the guests weren't given an adequate description of what they would be discussing in advance. It was painful to listen to, but I figured I'd see if the next couple of episodes were an improvement. Spoiler alert: they were not. I can't wait for the day that content creators learn that formal debate and substantive discussion are antithetical to each other. The former is a game where people try to win. The latter is a cooperative endeavor where people try to sort out their disagreements. Using the debate format to try and get a substantive discussion just leads to an uninteresting mess.

Great show-too short

Great and entertaining show. My one issue is that it is too short and too infrequent.