Jordan Peterson VS Cathy Newman: Power Dynamics Analysis

Jordan Peterson vs Cathy Newman was a long-awaited match.

If you are looking for an in-depth analysis of Jordan Peterson debating skills and how Jordan Peterson VS Cathy Newman ended, you have to the right place.

By the end of this article, you will understand exactly how Jordan Peterson destroyed Cathy Newman.

Quick Background

Jordan Peterson, the author of 12 Rules for Life, is the new spiritual leader of conservative ideology and the new bastion against feminism and Marxism (albeit not all women hate him).

Kathy Newman is a combative feminist willing to use any trick in the book to score against her guests.
Let the battle begin:

Jordan Peterson VS Cathy Newman

We have already seen a few power debate techniques and we have already done a debate analysis in the Trump VS Clinton debate.

But I would put Jordan Peterson above anyone else when it comes to debating.
Without using any unfair debating techniques, he simply destroys his opponent by staying in control and convincing the public that he had leadership qualities.

Cathy Newman on the other was never really looking for an honest debate.
She was looking to score a win and make Peterson look bad.

She might have won. Or at least scored some points against any other opponent. But not Jordan Peterson.
He was too good for her.
Let’s see.

1. Straw Man Technique

This is an old technique and you better learn how to watch out for it.

Newman had a simple strategy: try to paint Peterson as a villain, make him an easy target, and score an easy win.

This is a subset of the straw man technique, which consists in refuting an opponent’s view which the opponent never really had to begin to win. Usually, unfair debaters pick for their straw man opponent an easy target, such as a view everyone disagrees with, an opinion everyone hates, or a position that is easily assailable.

Example: The Gender Pay Gap

Sneaky Warning!

Jordan Peterson’s view on the gender pay gap is that it’s real and it’s the consequence of many different variables.
One of them is the difference in personality (agreeableness) and part of it is also prejudice.
Overall, it’s a level-headed and fact-based opinion.

Cathy Newman however wants to shoehorn Peterson into an extreme position. One that she can easily rail and pontificate against. She desperately tries to lead him to say something along the lines of:

  • The gender pay gap doesn’t exist
  • Women should put up with it
  • “I want to defend the pay gap”

If Newman were to manage to make Peterson admit to any of the above, she would score an easy win.
Watch her try it in an increasingly desperate fashion:


The straw man technique can be unnerving.
When someone uses it against you many times in a row, you might be tempted to espouse the extreme positions just so you can raise your voice and get into a fight.
Never do that.
Here’s what you should do instead:

  1. Calmly repeat your positions rationally. Over and over again if needed
  2. Accuse your opponent of offensiveness
  3. Show superior, fact-based knowledge: you look powerful, and they look infantile

That’s a powerful way of leveraging vulnerability

#2. Block Their Attempt at Undermining Your Authority

Bringing up bad associations is a way to smear the opponent’s persona instead of engaging with his facts and logic.

The past, some mistakes, friends… Anything that can throw dirt on him. The idea it tries to conjure is that “once wrong, always wrong”.

Cathy tries to attack Jordan by saying that his followers are all male (!), divisive and abusive.

Defending Against Authority Attacks

  • Don’t defend yourself (gives credibility to the accuser)
  • Say your only answer for yourself (or it’s in the past and you’ve moved on)
  • Refuse to comment further: let them look like vultures scavenging for a non-existent scoop

#3. Don’t Allow Them to Label You

Cathy Newman really wanted to corner Peterson.

An unfair debater will try to have you confess or admit to something which the public often frowns upon so they can make you look bad.

The most dangerous words to label you are emotionally charged ones, such as “racist”, “illegal”, “addict”, “violent” etc.

Example: Losing the Labeing War

Look at this man.

He “admits” that a leaflet of decades earlier “could be defined as racist”. Big mistake.
He was an honest man, but honesty doesn’t pay with unfair debating.

Notice how she abuses that admission to continually back him into a corner:

Note: I had to cut the video eventually and the original video I first posted has been taken down. However, she keeps going much further with the same technique.

Defending Against Labels

  1. When you’re unsure never say “yes”: always say no
  2. Accuse the interviewer of unfair tactics
  3. Refuse to answer, always rephrase

Notices Newman tries to do the same with Peterson, but see how it never works because he always denies and rephrases:

A “no” makes you look more powerful and in control. And it doesn’t give any ammo to your opponent.

How Peterson Beat Newman

Jordan Peterson dominated the debate against Cathy Newman in the following ways (in order):

1. Stay Cool and Collected

Getting nervous with an unfair debater like Newman is very easy.

But showing too many emotions is often seen as an indicator that you’re not confident enough in your opinions.

See how Jordan remained confident and calm even when facing the worst slanders:

2. Showcase Superior Knowledge

This goes back to the roots of reaching mastery of anything, from social mastery to winning a debate: know your stuff better than anyone else. Jordan knows his stuff much much better than Newman.
But “knowing” wouldn’t be enough. Jordan showcases it:


Jordan Peterson VS Cathy Newman wasn’t even a contest.

Peterson’s debating skills such as calmness, logic, and superior knowledge, would have been enough to eat Newman for breakfast.
If that weren’t enough, the failure and conspicuousness of Newman’s unfair debate tactics made her look like a low-level cheat.

Overall, this wasn’t even a contest because Peterson was just too good for Newman.

He dominated it by and large from the beginning to the end.

Adopt Peterson’s techniques, grow a knowledge that matches his, and you’ll be able to do the same with any unfair debater you’ll ever meet.

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