The news media has one thing in mind and that is to sell their product. You’ll hear some in the business tell you that it’s all about the truth be we know it really isn’t. It is too easy to give a news story a different slant by how it’s written or what quotes are selected. On TV it is sound bites and displaying one section of an interview will give a totally different impression than another. And then there are misquotes….
They want something sensational to attract the public which is why a building going up in flames will be covered over a firefighter saving a kitten which was stuck in a tree. The first Apollo mission to land on the moon was interesting and, to a lesser degree, so was the second. The excitement of the potential disaster that was Apollo 13 drew the news in droves but its liftoff was barely covered.
Lately there was a bit of an outcry in the UK over doctors who were ignorant of the policies of the NHS in regards to the treatment of transsexual patients. Apparently many patients were not given the correct treatments or were subjected to wait times that were way beyond the norm. But this barely made the news.
Along comes the Suzanne Moore and Julie Burchill story (you can read Ms Burchill’s article here – it was pulled by the newspaper The Observer) and it’s all over the place. One story is about the plight of transsexual patients and the other an attack on transsexual women. I guess picking on the underdog is more entertaining. You can’t tell me the editors of the paper in question weren’t thinking of this when they approved the article for publication.
Let’s face it, transsexual women are among the most discriminated against groups anywhere. Some are subjected to verbal and physical violence daily for just being who they are. I guess a further attack on this group must sell more papers. The LGBT have always been a good target for this kind of filth but laws and public opinion have shifted for the LGB part of the group. Oh, they are still attacked by religious groups but they are not listened to as much as they used to be. However, it seems the T part of LGBT is still thought to be up for grabs.
As one writer put it: “We do live in a society that should welcome vibrant discourse on a variety of subjects. But when it comes to affirming the human dignity of an individual, there is no room for compromise. It’s not up for discussion.”
In the UK I think the media there are learning that it’s not so wise to kick this underdog because it will bite or, at least, bark. The publisher of Julie Burchill’ piece has learned this and pulled the article from it’s online site. Toby Young posted a copy of it on his blog shortly after The Observer pulled it calling it censorship. No, censorship should have been done by the editors before it was posted in the first place. I think he needs to hear the bark of the underdog too.