Forbes censors article on women and the media as being “too controversial”

Tom Watson left Forbes because they decided to pull this story about WAM! (Women, Action & the Media). What a hero – to stick up for your morals and beliefs and give them more priority than a paycheck. We need more journalists like this.

<script async src=”https://static.medium.com/embed.js”></script><a class=”m-story” data-collapsed=”true” href=”https://medium.com/@tomwatson/sexism-and-the-media-as-election-heats-up-are-we-nearer-to-tipping-point-for-equality-a7d94d9a1280″>Sexism And The Media: As Election Heats Up, Are We Nearer To Tipping Point For Equality?</a>

Note: I have resigned as a contributor to Forbes.

Yesterday, I posted this interview with Jamia Wilson of Women, Action & the Media, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “building a robust, effective, inclusive movement for gender justice in media.” I consider her work, and that of feminist organizers everywhere, to be vitally important to the field of social entrepreneurship and to public life.

The editors found it inappropriate for the section of Forbes I have contributed my Social Ventures column to for the last three years — and they removed it this morning. I strongly disagree with their decision and we have parted ways.

Media Coverage of Sexual Violence in Brazil

Journalistic Coverage of Sexual Violence Against Children in Brazil

Excerpt:

IMPACT

  • News coverage on stories involving sexual abuse/exploitation of children was found to evolve 200% in 10 years (from 2,004 news stories in the year 2000 to 6,024 in the year 2009).
  • In 2009, 18% of stories in the Tim Lopes Journalistic Contest included references to legislation, as compared to other news sources sharing information on sexual violence in general (9.7%) or children’s rights in general (5.7%). [See Slide 20 for more data]. Also, there was found to be an impact of this contest on the journalistic culture – e.g., winning journalists “gain a much deeper understanding of the problem and commit to it even if [they] change outlets/jobs” and they “become focal points within their newsrooms.”
  • The Tim Lopes contest has also been found to have impacted public policies/the state system. For example, there was an improvement of ECA (Brazilian Bill of Children’s Rights) through Amendment 485 regarding child pornography on the internet.
  • Although sexual exploitation is difficult to measure, due to the specific nature of the problem (e.g., it is an illegal activity, and many victims prefer to remain silent) and based on the “agenda setting” approach, ANDI believes that the level of public awareness on sexual violence against children in Brazilian society has grown in recent years due to more qualified media coverage.
  • ANDI cites accomplishments such as the following: public awareness about the National Day to Combat Sexual Violence, May 18, has grown annually; President Lula made the issue a priority regarding his social policies; a congressional investigation panel on the issue was established; and there was a significant growth in the number of calls to the national hotline (4,494 in 2003, compared to 29,756 in 2009).

Today Show shows bias towards mothers and ignores domestic violence claims

The Today Show has featured several fathers who’ve had their kids “abducted.” Today they had Michael McCarty on. There was an allegation of domestic violence, but the Today Show blew right by it. Meanwhile, recent research shows most of these abductions DO involve domestic violence.

Here’s a Time Magazine article on it: Protecting kids: Rethinking the Hague convention 

Notice the comments by Christopher Savoie on the Time piece. (I think he was on the Today Show too). He keeps ranting about the “women are just as agressive as men” crap that the Men’s Rights Advocates and misogynist Fathers Rights guys use to paint women as violent and evil. They’re using cherry-picked data, of course, that even the researcher who finds mutual violence –  Gelles – warns against doing because it doesn’t represent the whole picture or the fact that women suffer the most.  A lot of these guys in the Fathers Rights movement have had charges/convictions against them (see XY Online; the Liz Library).

These guys are portraying themselves as innocent victims and the media is believing them, without question. Ignoring domestic violence claims is despicable. Please write to the Today Show 

Women News Network

Check it out! 

“Women News Network is dedicated to bringing you in-depth international women’s news not found in our current public media stream. Starting from a writing assignment to cover global women’s news for the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2006, director Lys Anzia saw the vital need to report the many times hard and suffering stories of women. WNN news stories have appeared on UN affiliate and agency publications through WUNRN – Women’s UN Report Network and UN-INSTRAW, the United Nations Institute of Training and Research for the Advancement of Women.”

From:  Women News Network

Media bias in the global south

Gender and media misrepresentation in the global south

FRIDAY FILE: In the struggle for gender equality, the media should a powerful ally. Unfortunately it strongly reinforces the status quo, particularly in the Global South.

By Kathambi Kinoti

Fifteen years after the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) was adopted, women’s voices are still largely absent from the mainstream media. Recognising the powerful role of the media in shaping perspectives, the BPfA makes comprehensive recommendations to improve the visibility and voice of women and promote balanced and non-stereotypical portrayals of women. Some of the recommendations are:

  • To change the continued projection of negative and degrading images of women in programming.
  • To enhance women’s skills, knowledge and access to information technology in order to improve their ability to combat negative portrayals of women.
  • To mainstream gender in media programming and policy.

Slow progress

A media monitoring study carried out in twelve southern African countries found that stereotypes abound and are actively promoted by the media. The report’s authors write: “Potentially having a huge role to play in this ‘liberation of the mind,’ the media has more often than not been part of the problem rather than of the solution.” Women are typically portrayed by the press as sex objects, temptresses, mothers or wives. When newspapers, radio or television stations need an expert on a subject, they are less likely to call upon a woman. The study found that women politicians, who on average formed 18 percent of the region’s parliaments, were rarely news sources, being quoted only 8 percent of the time.

And –

The majority of workers in the media at all levels are still men whether they be reporters or decision makers. The only area in which women achieve a level of parity is as television presenters – but they have an expiry date; they are usually aged 34 or below. Women over the age of 35 become invisible in the media according to the southern Africa study and the GMMP findings. This reinforces stereotypes about young women’s desirability and older women’s lack of it, something that does not affect male presenters on the same levels.

The voice and visibility of female journalists has improved somewhat since the BPfA. However they are more likely to be assigned “soft” news reporting: the arts, entertainment and lifestyle, while “hard” news – politics, the economy, government – remains a largely male domain. The figures reported by the GMMP make a solid case for increasing the numbers and influence of women in the media. Female journalists are more likely to feature female subjects and to rely on female experts than are male journalists. They are also more likely to consider a gender dimension to stories that would otherwise be gender-blind.

Recommendations –

The GMMP report makes a number of recommendations that urge a greater leading role for civil society in promoting positive representations of women in the media. Some of these are:

  • Compile regional directories of women experts on diverse thematic issues. Women are typically portrayed as being experts only on gender equality, beauty, fashion and home-making, but in reality, they are present in all other fields of human endeavour and should be recognised as such.
  • Create gender and media curricula in journalism schools. Gender and women’s rights awareness should be infused into all aspects of journalists’ work, so that women’s empowerment is not only covered in special interest stories but is an issue that is understood thoroughly and is actively promoted.
  • Media decision-makers should receive gender-awareness training that challenges the deeply ingrained – and often unconscious – biases against women.
  • Adopt and apply policies on gender parity in the media. There needs to be an equal presence of men and women at all levels from reporters to management.
  • Support women in the media by offering them training and visibility.
  • Establish gender-sensitive media codes of practice that hold media houses accountable for their reporting. It is unethical for them to continue to peddle skewed representations of women.
  • Encourage media monitoring by civil society organisations.

“Nice guys”…rape

Okay, I grappled with the title on this one. The topic overlaps on so many of my posts about women’s credibility in abuse allegations and men’s “nice guy” portrayal in the media. Here were my options:

1) “Nice guys”…rape

2) He’s “not that kind of guy”

3) Liar until proven honest

Read Jaclyn Friedman’s:   How the media should treat sexual assault allegations against Al Gore

The Tribune piece asks the question, “How can you judge the credibility of a sexual assault charge when there are no witnesses and apparently no physical evidence?” It’s a good question, but why not ask, “Why, in cases of sexual violence, is the victim assumed guilty of lying until proven innocent?” We assume that accusers of other crimes are credible enough to report unless there’s clear evidence to the contrary: a repeated history of making false claims, for example. Or evidence that the two people in question weren’t in the same place at the same time. Barring these sorts of clear contravening evidence, media outlets should consider sexual assault accusations credible enough to report.

Why indeed. Other victims of crimes are not presumed to be lying. Research finds it’s bias and NOT that other women have made false allegations and, therefore, have made it harder for honest women to be taken seriously.  

But sexual predators aren’t monsters. They’re men (about 98 percent of them are, anyhow). They can be handsome and seem kind. They can be well-liked. They can do you a favor and think nothing of it. They can kiss their wives in public and mean it. They can be brothers, boyfriends, best buddies, talented film directors, beloved athletes, trusted priests and even (prepare to clutch your pearls) lefty political heroes who seem like genuinely nice guys. What they all have in common is the sociopathic rush they get from controlling another person’s body.

What’s more, our fierce attachment to the idea of the obvious monster has the exact opposite of the intended effect: it puts all of us in great danger. Every time we indulge it, we give cover to the actual sexual predators among us: we discourage victims from reporting because we’ve already told them we won’t believe them, and, when charges do get filed, we’ve already encouraged the police, prosecutors, judges and juries to make like we do and find whatever reasons they can to dismiss, diminish and deny justice. All of which means that these guys—these nice-seeming guys in your community—are free to attack again and again. Which, research shows, they do.

If you’ve ever seen Dateline’s To catch a predator or watched America’s Most Wanted, you’ll understand that most of these men who commit abuse and murder are seemingly “nice guys.” They’re men that look like your neighbors, like your boss, hell, to me, they’re men I might consider dating. They’re not nice though, are they? But they come with no signs on their foreheads, no warning signs, no monster masks….