Accuracy in Media

Jezebel tells us that questioning biological males in women’s sports leads to shootings in Colorado nightclubs. Vice tells us that even questioning whether teens should receive surgery does the same. They can both, of course, go boil their heads. For we’re adults and we’re entirely capable of separating the issues and discussing them, as they should be, separately.

To make the obvious point that shouldn’t need to be made, killings in nightclubs are a bad idea. Murder of anyone is a bad idea. But we are those adults and what Jezebel tries to tell us just isn’t true:

Some gun-loving Republicans offered their typical thoughts and prayers after the 34th mass shooting in the U.S. this year; others just carried on with the kind of homophobic rhetoric that fuels hate crimes like this. Herschel Walker, who’s currently campaigning for a December 6 runoff election in Georgia against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), went ahead with his wildly bigoted stump speech on Sunday in Carrollton, without acknowledging the shooting at all.

Their example of this homophobic rhetoric that fuels this?

Then, on Monday morning, Politico reporter Natalie Allison shared a new ad from the campaign featuring Walker alongside Riley Gaines, a former University of Kentucky swimmer who competed against trans swimmer Lia Thomas and fought the NCAA’s trans-inclusive policies. Gaines doesn’t name Thomas in the ad, but says, “My senior year, I was forced to compete against a biological male.”

Walker, a former football player, responds, “That’s unfair and wrong,” and later adds, “Warnock is afraid to stand up for female athletes.”

Apologies for the long quotes there but this is what Jezebel is saying. Questioning whether biological men should be allowed to compete against women leads to shootings in LGBTQ nightclubs. Therefore we must not be allowed to discuss male and female sports participation because that makes us complicit in murder.

This is near insane logic but worse than that it’s grossly authoritarian restrictions on what we may discuss or even think.

Vice uses the same technique with different a different example:

Advocates and experts have long warned that LGBTQ people and venues could increasingly be targeted in person as Republican lawmakers push false anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and increasingly introduce anti-LGBTQ policies.

Well, what sort of rhetoric might lead to such murders then? As Vice tries to claim:

This year, the Boston Children’s hospital, which provides gender-affirming care to youth, received bomb threats after far-right figures posted about it online and wrongly accused healthcare providers of “mutilating” and “castrating” children.

That’s actually their very next sentence. Questioning whether a hospital provides gender surgery to teens and or children leads to shootings in nightclubs. Note that the Vice complaint is in people even thinking that Boston might do that – whether it’s a good thing to do or not.

As it happens, we’re all adults out here. We must be, otherwise, we would not be a Republic nor a democracy. It is possible, and we do, question and consider the rules about women’s sports, the health care or surgery offered to teens, without shooting up nightclubs. Further, we must be allowed to do those things separately.

Yet this insistence here in the media is that the one leads, inevitably, to the second. That not being fully onboard with the more extreme claims about trans means that we are not just complicit in, we’ve actually caused those murders. This is the grossest authoritarianism. Because what they’re saying is that unless we give in, agree with, the most extreme demands then we’re supporting murder. It’s a common rhetorical trope but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to it.

Jezebel ranks at number 63 for arts and entertainment media sites and gains 6.4 million visits a month from that position. Vice ranks at 97 for news and media and gets 27.2 million visits, It also has a larger reach than that, the magazine has a 900,000 distribution, and its TV channel reaches 60 million American homes via cable.

It isn’t true that discussing sports teams and participation, or surgery and who may elect to receive it, is the cause of nightclub murders or mass shootings. But here we’ve two major media outlets insisting that they both are – why are they misinforming us so?




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