Whatever you think of the SNP/Green Party deal, it’s significant that 94.9% of the SNP membership voted in favour of a deal whose key points included GRA reform. Once again it demonstrates that the spittle-flecked anti-trans fury you see online isn’t representative of reality.
But it is representative of what gets printed in the papers. As many people have pointed out, Twitter is used disproportionately by people in the media. It’s a good source of stories on slow news days and of content to plagiarise, and it’s also home to a number of echo chambers where journalists hang out.
There was a good example of this earlier in the week when the BBC ran a story about Ofcom leaving the Stonewall Diversity Champions project. The wording of the article was very strange, suggesting that the LGB Alliance was a rival to Europe’s largest LGBT+ advocacy group (and since when did human rights organisations have rivalries?), completely misrepresenting why most of the LGBT+ community hates the LGBA and using the same language about trans people that anti-trans hate groups use.
If you look at the writer on Twitter, his following list is a who’s-who of anti-trans activism; his wife, also on Twitter, is an anti-trans activist who used her account to boast of “peak transing” her husband – the anti-trans equivalent of redpilling, where you successfully recruit somebody to the cult – back in 2018. Here in Scotland, a Scotsman writer’s recent piece on anti-trans activists being ejected from an Edinburgh pub had to be pulled completely: first it was edited to remove the deliberate misgendering she’d put in the news story; then it was pulled altogether, presumably because the lawyers decided it was legally actionable. If you look at the writer’s Twitter account, it too is a who’s who of anti-trans activists and hate groups.
These anti-trans activists are not writing columns, where opinions are labelled as such. These people are writing news stories, which are supposed to be unbiased and transparent. When you’re reporting news you can shape the story without telling any lies: you simply choose to platform this voice but not that one; to publish what group A tells you but not the rebuttal from group B.
People who are deeply immersed in the anti-trans movement should not be writing news reports on activism they or their friends are actively involved in. It’s unethical, immoral and in blatant breach of the NUJ Code of Conduct. In fact, it’s in breach of every version of the Code since the original in 1936: A journalist “should not falsify information or distort or misrepresent facts.”
Twitter is not real, and neither are the scare stories the echo chambers’ tame journalists circulate. What they’re publishing isn’t journalism; it’s client journalism, journalism that twists reality to suit the agenda of its friends. Or as it’s also known: propaganda.