Media bias in the UK

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Leveson Inquiry Must Address Sexist Media Stereotypes, Say Women’s Groups

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jan/24/leveson-inquiry-sexist-media-stereotypes?CMP=twt_gu

The Leveson inquiry must address “sexist stereotypes” in the media, which could “condone violence against women and girls”, according to a group of key women’s organisations.

Speaking at the Leveson inquiry on Tuesday, a representative of the group accused some media outlets of feeding into myths about rape, which they argued could prevent some women coming forward to report the crime.

The media creates, reflects and enforces attitudes in society. Those who work in the media should be conscious of this and should actively seek not to reproduced attitudes which condone violence against women or girls,” said Marai Larasi from End Violence Against Women, a coalition of  40 women’s organisations.

Representatives of the women’s groups Equality Now, Eaves, Object and End Violence Against Women called on Lord Justice Leveson to ban highly sexualised images in newspapers, which they argued would not be broadcast pre-watershed on television.

Newspapers including the Sun, the Daily Star and the Sunday Sport were criticised for “relentlessly” objectifying women, portraying them “as a sum of sexualised body parts”, said Anna van Heeswijk, from anti-objectification of women organisation Object.

“We have to ask ourselves what kind of story does it tell to young people when men in newspapers wear suits, or sports gear, are shown as active participants, while women are sexualised objects who are essentially naked or nearly naked,” she said.

The groups are calling for any new regulation of the press to ban pictures of naked or semi-naked women in newspapers, arguing that the images would not be allowed in the workplace and should not be sold in an “unrestrained” manner at “children’s eye-level”.

Van Heeswijk accused tabloids that carry photographs of semi-naked women on page 3 of “creating a culture of fear which silences … anybody speaking out against the portrayal of women as sex objects”. She cited the example of former MP Clare Short who was branded a “fat” and “jealous” “killjoy” by the Sun when she spoke out against Page 3.

Several newspapers were singled out for criticism during the evidence given by the women’s groups. The Daily Telegraph was criticised for a report which they said suggested a man had murdered his wife after she changed her Facebook status to “single”, and said too often media reports of violence against women focused on the behaviour of the victim.

A Daily Mail report about six footballers being jailed after gang raping 12-year-old girls in a “midnight park orgy” was criticised for the use of the word “orgy” and for referring to the victims as “Lolitas”. Larasi told the inquiry: “Put the word ‘orgy’ in something and what you immediately do is grab the attention, it’s becoming titillating. The focus stays on the woman and what she did or didn’t do.”

When asked previously about this article a spokesman for Associated Newspapers said it appeared on Mail Online, not in the Daily Mail, and was based on a court report from a reputable news agency that contained the words “orgy” and “Lolitas”.

The groups also called on Leveson, charged with investigating the regulation of the media following the phone-hacking scandal, to replace the Press Complaints Commission with an independent body “with teeth” that women and women’s groups could complain to directly. The reporting of violence against women and girls needs to be more balanced and more context needs to be provided about its frequency, they added.

Journalists should also receive training on the “myths and realities” about violence against women and girls, and there should be a code of practice for the way “case studies” are dealt with, the groups said.

Jacqui Hunt from Equality Now said the groups did not want to curtail the freedom of the press but wanted more responsibility. “Freedom of the press, yes it’s really important, it’s key but we have to find a way of making sure that women are not sidelined [and] objectified,” she said.

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Male privilege on the Internet

Interesting post on the Feminist Law Professors blog – written by a male ally 🙂

Harassment, male privilege, and jokes that women just don’t get

http://www.feministlawprofessors.com/2011/11/harassment-male-privilege-jokes-women-dont/

Male privilege on the internet — or in law, or in society at large — isn’t going away any time soon. But let’s call it out, and let’s label it for what it is. When male interlocutors tell a female writer that she is overreacting and just isn’t getting the joke, they are speaking from a starting place of male privilege. They are assuming that casual threats of violence are something which can easily be shrugged off, and are ignoring the vast difference between lived experiences of men and women in America. And they are denying the reality of something which, in all likelihood, they don’t even understand.

Criminalizing moms

This article makes an excellent point about black mothers – but, it also applies to any mother.  On other posts, I’ve written about mothers being held to higher standards than fathers, mothers being jailed for refusing to hand over custody to abusers, and mothers being treated unjustly by the family court system.

Jezebels, welfare queens–and now, criminally bad black moms

Nelson was chasing after him with her 2-year-old daughter in her arms when the family was hit by a driver with two prior drunk driving and hit-and-run convictions on his record. He was again drunk that night, and later served six months in jail for his crime.

For her loss, the Cobb County solicitor general charged Nelson, who didn’t even own a car, with vehicular manslaughter. When an all-white jury found her guilty in July, news of Nelson’s conviction and the possible three-year prison sentence she faced led to a national outcry and an online campaign for leniency. At her sentencing a judge gave her community service instead of jail time, and in a rare move, offered Nelson a new trial. Last week, Nelson accepted.

And –

“It’s a hard time to be a poor black mother,” Jones said. “Structurally, the support systems for them have been severely eroded and there are just more ways to punish people for being bad parents than there were in the past, because the criminal justice system is more punitive.”

In the last 20 years, women of color have become the fastest growing segment of the prison population, driven in large part by new classes of crimes that have been created or relabeled, said University of Hawaii criminologist Meda Chesney-Lind. Where 20 years ago crimes like the sale and possession of tiny amounts of drugs, or drug use during pregnancy, were not even considered crimes, today they are fueling a massive uptick in incarceration rates. The addition of mandatory minimum prison sentencing over the years eliminated judges’ discretion and contributed to these racially disparate increases.

And-

In January, Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar was charged with falsifying records when she used her father’s home address to get her daughters into a better school in a wealthier neighboring school district. She served 10 days in jail, and even though the theft charges were dismissed after a similar national outcry, the felony on her record has threatened her career in special education.

In April, Norwalk, Connecticut officials prosecuted Tanya McDowell for doing something similar; she’s pleaded not guilty. “I just want to know: When does it become a crime to seek a better education for your child?” McDowell said at the time, the Norwalk Patch reported.

In 2009, South Carolina officials took Jerri Gray’s obese son Alexander Draper away from her and put him in foster care because, they argued, the teen’s health was in danger and he was no longer safe with his mother. Gray lost custody of her son, and then was charged with criminal neglect. Two years later, her charges are still pending, her attorney says, and Draper lives with his aunt. Last week, the latest in a series of studies showed how difficult it would be for a low-income family to buy groceries that meet the USDA’s standard for nutritious eating.

McDowell, Williams-Bolar, Nelson and Gray are all single parents, all black mothers struggling in tough circumstances to raise their families. Where poor black mothers are concerned, compassion’s in short supply, but there’s plenty of blame to hand over.

Want further proof? Here’s 2 cases just from today:

Shamika Koyce Dunn arrested for felony child neglect   (How many times do they put the father’s entire name in the headline?)

Authorities arrested Shamika Koyce Dunn, of Woodbridge. Her 3-year-old daughter was discovered walking in the street unattended.

Police returned the child to her home and, while investigating, Dunn returned home carrying half a bottle of wine and was in possession of marijuana, police said.

The child was in good condition. Police say young girl is now in the custody of another family member.

I’m sorry, but this behavior would be excused if it were a father (particularly if he was white). It would be considered a minor blip in his parenting skills. The child was, afterall, unharmed.

Here’s a case of a day-care provider – a very young woman (23) who’s trying to make a living taking care of children – not earning very much – and now charged with a felony – that will likely ruin her short-lived career. Again, the kids were unharmed.

Prince William day-care provider charged with neglect 

A Prince William County day-care provider was accused of child neglect after a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old in her care wandered out of her house and into the neighborhood, police said.

For a comparison to how dads are treated, look at this recent case where the boy was beat and shoved inside a stove – yes, a stove.

Son begs for leniency for dad who stuffed him in oven

A Staten Island man who brutally beat his then-9 year old son, stripping him naked, burning his hands and then throwing him into a kitchen oven, will serve just four months in jail on weekends for the attack.

And-

Police said Moss punched his son in the face and then pushed him into the oven,  threatening “I’m going to burn you alive!” The boy begged to be let out of the  oven, which wasn’t turned on, and then the father forced him, still naked, out  the front door.

When Moss’ wife got home from work, she took her son to the hospital, where he was treated for second and third degree burns.

And-

Judge Collini responded, “This court feels compelled to temper justice with understanding and compassion, for the victim.” He sentenced James Moss to four months of weekends in county jail, with five years of supervised probation. James Moss can’t be reunited with his family at this time but will continue supervised visits with his son.

Outside court, Moss’ 11 year old son was led away by his mother and a caseworker, wearing a dark baseball cap and
sunglasses.

When PIX 11 asked Moss’ defense attorney if the sentence was a slap on the wrist, he replied, “It’s absolutely not a slap on the wrist! The judge took into consideration the wishes of the victim.” As the judge pointed out, he–with his sentence–did not want to add to the trauma of a child who’s already been severely traumatized.

Raleigh dad charged after child wanders roadway 

Raleigh police say a 3-year-old girl is OK after she wandered out of her house and walked across four lanes of traffic while her father was home asleep.

Authorities say the girl was found several blocks from her home around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Police charged the girl’s father, 27-year-old Aaron Harris Rush, with misdemeanor child abuse.

 

Today Show’s major media bias in psycho ex-wife case

The Today Show has showed major bias against battered mothers in the past – yesterday was no different – but, if possible, it was a bit worse than usual. Bonnie Russell posted her interview with Allison Morelli on this blog:

@Bonnie Russell…Allison Morelli…The follow up: What was the Today Show thinking?

Someone sent it to Allison and she contacted me. I subsequently learned in the five hours TODAY Show free-lance producers spent with Ms. Morelli, much which was very important didn’t air.  Turns out the Today Show piece was worse than most could have imagined.

Not mentioned

That the Psycho Ex-Wife did not solely slam Allison Morelli.  The site also featured posts that were highly critical of both boys. Criticism that will not be repeated here.  That was not featured in any part of the interview regarding a court system that is supposed to oversee the best interests of the children.

Read Russell’s interview with Morelli here.

Today Show gives psycho from Psycho Ex-wife blog valuable air time

Dad behind ‘psycho ex-wife’ blog protests its shutdown  

I couldn’t think of a less deserving man to give such valuable air time to on the lofty topic of freedom of speech.But, you know, maybe discussing these psychotic angry divorced men might give people a clue as to what ex-wives are dealing with.

The guy was ordered to shut his blog down, so now he’s protesting it’s his freedom of speech to bash his ex-wife. [The very same guy that discusses parental alienation — the pseudo-scientific term that claims (mostly) women poison kid’s minds against them – is, umm, poisoning his kids – and about 200,00 readers (per month) – minds.] They said on the Today Show his blog was inaccurate, belittling, and “outright cruel.” Matt Lauer (who typically rolls his eyes at anything feminist-sounding) said that’s what blogs are all about (not sure what blogs he reads but I often thought he was a Men’s Rights Activist in disguise so he must be reading those – that would certainly account for the cruelty he’s reading).

Fortunately, they did present the wife’s side and she came off very rationale.

So, I wonder, why is it that when women badmouth their exes it’s parental alienation and when men do it, it’s their freedom of speech?

Sympathy for the accused

So many rape-related articles are upsetting – this one is down-right distressing in how pro-perp it is.

Why we should protect those accused of rape

Here’s my comment, please consider commenting yourself:

More sympathy for the accused than the abused

This is one of the most ridiculous perp-protecting rubish I’ve ever read.

1) It’s not the “alleged victim” (bias), it’s the accuser.

2) Victims are not always granted anonymity – many victims’ names have turned up in the press, where they are also bashed and blamed.

3)If you take away victims’ anonymity, other victims couldn’t come forward (ie, more protection for the perp-and that seems exactly what you’re seeking)

4) An “electronic nanny”? Gosh, you can’t even hide your misogyny.

5) The “suffering of rape defendents” – ohmygosh. Have you read, Is it worse to be a rapist or a racist (Hint – the word has a c in it). MOST RAPISTS GET AWAY WITH RAPE. Most cases are not reported. According to RAIN, only 6% of rapists WILL EVER SERVE TIME IN JAIL.

6) There’s a far greater stigma for men accused of rape than victims? Not only will the media bash and blame victims, the comment sections on rape articles are so atrocious and sexist, it’s stomach-turning.

7) Easier to charge and convict? Have you ever in talked to a rape victim? Have you talked to organizations that help men and women who’ve been raped? Have you done an iota of research?

This is simply rubish. Perp-protecting, entitled, stereotyping (of women as false accusers) rubbish that I’ve ever read.

AND

The media print more articles on false allegations (which often dont explain context), which skews the thinking that there’s a hysteria of women accusing men of rape. Most credible stats put false allegations at 8-10% and most credible organizations will explain things like a person recanting, police not believing a victim, etc.

If you look at the Innocence Project, false allegations are not listed as one of the leading reasons of wrongful imprisonment – but media bias would have the public perceive it as such.

Media use the term false allegation for women, but not for men. For men, terms depicting skill or talent (set up, framed, etc.) are used.

Media refrain from stating that men also make false allegations, and that, in family court, research (Bala &Schumann) find that men make more false allegations (neglect, unfit) than women.

But, then again, stereotypes have more branding power than mere facts, And, nobody is stopping writers like Roy Black from using stereotypes rather than facts.

https://mediamisses.wordpress.com

Furthermore

, if you look at the history of the Victims Rights Movement, you’ll see there are more deniers than liars. Deniers have been the backlash which tries to thwart progress. Denying abuse lets it go unimpeded and can result in further abuse and murder.

Look at judges like Judge Lemkau who called Katie Tagle a liar (transcript on Internet) -and you’ll see the results of this stereotype – the judge called her a liar, gave her husband custody of the infant, and 10 days later both were found dead. Look at articles on rape & domestic violence and see the perps background – often enough, rather than locking him up, he was permitted by a lax criminal justice system to continue to abuse people (Jaycee Duggard). Often enough, in domestic violence, the perp is the “nice guy” that kills wife and/or kids.

What we need is a society that helps victims press charges – not a society that helps protect perps.

There is not one of us immune from having charges pressed against us. What we can do, is keep the press from using bias and judgement and see to it that perps are punished so they don’t keep abusing.

Update: Grieving mother gets probation and community service

The grieving mother who was going to face 3 years in jail received probation and the possibility of a new trial:

Mother of boy killed by hit-run driver gets probation and community service

Nelson faced up to three years in jail on the charges, but Judge Kathryn
Tanksley instead gave her 12 months probation on each of two charges, vehicular
homicide and failure to use the crosswalk, but combined the two counts into a
year’s probation.

In addition, she was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.

In an unusual move, Tanksley also offered Nelson a new trial, telling her
that if she is found innocent of the charges her record would be cleared.
Nelson’s lawyer David Savoy they would accept the judge’s offer.

As she left court, Nelson was clearly relieved that her sentence did not
involve jail time.

“I am walking out of here. I don’t think you could be more satisfied,” she
said.

The judge said she had received letters of support for Nelson from across the
country, and the online group Change.org claims to have delivered 125,000
signatures on a petition in support of Nelson and to demand a crosswalk at the
site of the accident.

And – by the way – a Google search turned up articles with mother/mom in the title in the majority of cases.