argue into silence


Senior Member

Hard as I've tried, I aven't been able to make sense of this sentence. I understand the main idea (that the senior editors agree "silently", but have not voiced their support), but I can't get the sense of argue into in this case, could you please help me?

Context: Vernon, a middle editor in a newspaper, got some outrageous raunchy pictures of a politician to be published in the paper, despite his coworkers' generalised dissent.
In a week, sales were up by a hundred thousand, and the editor was finding he was arguing into silence from his senior editors rather than protests; secretly they all wanted him to go ahead as long as their principled disent was minuted.
From Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Thanks in advance,
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    He is arguing but they are not arguing back. They have said they do not approve, and they want that disapproval to be a matter of record but they are not really engaging in a debate so it is a silence (because they want the increased sales).
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