24 February 2009

Oh, fuck you, media. Fuck you hard.

I was first put on to bias in the media by a sociology professor in my first year of university. He showed how word choice really made a difference in how people viewed the story. We were given an assignment to take a mainstream media article and tear it apart, word by word, for bias. I chose Mcleans. It was an easy target. So's this piece of anti-feminist tripe.

Let's start with the headline: Schoolgirl air cadet killed herself after being 'raped' by instructor.

Scare quotes? Really? Since the guy denies any sexual contact with her at all, it's not in question whether or not sex was consensual. So the quote is supposed to mean allegedly, so that they don't get sued, right? Then why not make the headline, "Schoolgirl air cadet killed herself after alleged rape by instructor"? It takes less room in the headline.

Then the lede: A schoolgirl who killed herself after having sex with her 39-year-old flying instructor saw the encounter as rape, a court heard.
She "saw the encounter as rape"? Excuse the fuck out of me, but she was 13. Any sexual encounter she had with a 39 year old man was rape. Consent isn't an issue at 13.

Next, the caption to the picture: Suicide: Cherrell Evans, 13, committed suicide after an alleged sexual affair with 39-year-old Nicholls.

An alleged sexual affair? WTF? *headdesk* How many times do I have to say this? A 13 year old girl. Cannot. Have a sexual affair. With a 39 YEAR OLD MAN!.

Scroll on down past some of the other victim's remarks to "And yesterday his alleged victim said that when things did not go his way, Nicholls would become a ' horrible' person."

Alleged victim. *sigh* Unnecessary. Not the alleged bit. I know they can't call her his victim without a conviction, but how about his accuser? Nothing in there calling what she says into question, but nothing saying what she says is true either. You know, neutral. Like a news story is supposed to be!

Okay, let's move on to this: "Asked about her relationship with Nicholls, the teenager said: 'I didn't have sex with Paul, he had sex with me. " *applause for her!* Nicely put. And in quotes, so she likely said it. But two paragraphs down... "The girl said she had slept with Nicholls ten times between June and August 2007 before he moved on to Cherrell." Uh... she didn't sleep with him, and given what she said above, I doubt that's how she said it. I'm far more willing to bet she said, "He had sex with me 10 times" or something to that extent. The article quotes her on everything else, but paraphrases her on this? And uses a harmless term like sleeps with to refer to her rapes?

No where is the word pedophile used.

Fucking sickening. Post-feminist world, indeed. *snort*

h/t Jill at Feministe


deBeauxOs said...

Bravo. Excellent blogpost.

You named it correctly. It is pedophilia, and such term would have MASSIVELY been repeated had sex taken place between a 39 year-old man and a 13 year-old boy instead of a girl.

Luna said...

Thank you.

Bleh. That story still turns my stomach. 13 years old. That's younger than my oldest kid. *shudder*