Friends in the media

It’s just another week on the internet, with yet another bunch of women experiencing massive campaigns of online abuse for having the temerity to say they don’t think trans women are monstrous predators. Singer Lisa Moorish is currently under siege and receiving dire threats and abuse from the “protect women” crowd, while comedian Janey Godley made a video after several days of ongoing harassment:

Sally Hines, a professor of sociology and gender identities in the University of Leeds, has long been a target of the anti-trans crowd. She describes what it’s like:

So… You’re in a (supposedly) feminist thread. There is disagreement around sex/gender. You reply briefly (its Twitter not a publication, lecture or an irl sit-down chat). The reply may – though often not -have a little irony, a tad of sarcasm, a bite of humour.

The tweet is taken out of the thread – divorced from its context – and retweeted *multiple* times. People notify others and a pile-on starts. Things very quickly become nasty. Personal and professional attacks escalate.

In the midst of this you are *bombarded* with demands to a)expand and clarify b)answer countless questions on issues aside to the original tweet c)send reading lists d)divulge personal aspects of your life. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Per minute. Per hour. For days. On end.

So there’s the bombardment but there’s the *demand*. Not an invitation or even a request. A hostile insistence to engage NOW. Hostility is key. As is belittlement. It intensifies. Faster. Nastier. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Minute. Hour. Days. On end.

Here are *some* personal examples from the last TWO days. You: shouldn’t have your job; are retarded, crazed, delusional, sick; on drugs; a woman hater; a man; responsible for brain washing/grooming young people; removing women’s rights; aiding the genocide of women and girls.

And *always* the handmaiden. The cock lover. Patriarchy’s slave. The traitor. The female cuckold. The feminist pussy. Be shamed. I *will* shame you. Shaming is the game.

You don’t respond. It multiples. People notify others. It becomes a circus-people trying to please with wit. Trying to impress their own/ please let me make you laugh. Who can be the nastiest? Who can be the one who will WIN? As bullies bond in a playground. Dirt turns to filth.

And the media is @ in to complaints about you. Your funding body and employer are repeatedly @ in. People who liked one of your tweets are targeted insesiently. People who follow you are rounded on. Threats are made.

And on still. More minutes. More hours. More days. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And some of those people are the very journalists whose names appear on supposedly unbiased articles about trans people.

Many of the people reporting on trans issues have picked a side, usually against trans women. For example, writers for The Herald, The Spectator and The Times/Sunday Times make no secret of their support for anti-trans pressure groups with opaque finances and links to US anti-women, anti-LGBT evangelical groups.

The idea that journalists should be objective seems to have got lost somewhere. Of course journalists have opinions, but their job is to leave those opinions at the door and report the facts. A journalist should not take part in activities or support organisations that limit or affect their ability to be objective and independent.

We all know this. If a writer is being paid by company X, they can’t be trusted to report objectively on issues that affect company X. If a writer is a member of UKIP, they can’t be trusted to report objectively on Brexit. And if a writer makes no secret of hating LGBT people or a subset of LGBT people, they can’t be trusted to report objectively on LGBT issues. By employing propagandists rather than journalists, news media is hammering more nails into its own coffin.