Friday, 29 November 2013

I am getting more than a little

growly at the bullying going on in the media.
"Bullying" you ask? Yes, bullying. I believe there is a point where constant criticism of someone, particularly in certain ways, becomes bullying. Criticism reaches a point where it is not "fair comment" or justified, instead it is designed to do harm to the individual.
This is about more than selling news to people for revenue purposes. This is about destroying individuals. The collective media, being more powerful than the individual, abuses its power to undermine or ridicule someone or hold someone responsible for something over which they have no control.
If complaints are made then that can just make matters worse. The individual is told to "toughen up" and "it's your fault". Sometimes it gets worse than that and members of the individual's family are targeted as well.
I remember when the two sons of a very high profile figure were subjected to extreme bullying when their father was accused of a criminal act. One of them was in the same class as the son of a friend of mine. She picked the two boys up one morning as they were walking to school. It was pouring with rain but that did not entirely account for their wet and dishevelled state. Their mother was afraid to leave the house until after the trial - in which her husband was found not guilty. Even then the media did not leave them alone and neither did the boys' classmates. They were easy targets.
I remember when a new student had his head thrust into the toilet bowl - and the water flushed - on his first day at high school. Instead of the perpetrators being disciplined he was punished by being ridiculed for his dripping wet appearance and told to "toughen up".
Our Prime Minister has been ridiculed for years. The media still refer to him as "the mad monk" - a reference to his time in a seminary and his Catholicism. He is often referred to as wearing "budgie smugglers" - his bathers or swimsuit. Those things are said so often people think of them as "normal" and "acceptable" and part of what someone like a Prime Minister has to just accept. Are they? I don't think so but I doubt my opinion will change anything.
And then there is Nigella Lawson. I don't happen to have any particular feelings one way or another for Nigella Lawson. I know very little about her but it would, unless you lived on another planet, be almost impossible to have missed the photograph of her then husband grabbing her by the throat.
Whatever was said or done at the time that action was unacceptable. Her then husband admitted he "accepted a police caution" - meaning he admitted he did it and was warned.  
They are now divorced but he is a powerful man. He owns an advertising company. He has powerful friends in the media. Is it therefore so very surprising that "revelations" are coming out suggesting that his former wife is a drug addict and many other things? The other two women at the centre of the row, her former assistants, have nothing to lose and goodness' knows what is going on behind the scenes.
But, the really worrying thing is that more than one piece in the media has now suggested that "she asked for it" and that "it serves her right". This is being said around "White Ribbon Day", a day on which we are asked to reflect on the horrors of domestic violence. We are being asked to agree that, in this instance, her former husband's actions were justifiable because she is alleged to have been a drug user.
I do not agree. It is an extension of the domestic violence perpetrated against her. It is bullying of the worst sort.  


virtualquilter said...

Very well said!

Judy Edmonds said...

Thank you for this post. It says everything I would like to say, but I am so angry about all of this reporting that all I can cobble together is AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jeanfromcornwall said...

I've got a very small screen, so I didn't realise you were referring to Nigella, but she was the first person that came into my mind when I saw what you were talking about.
I have been repelled by the way the "story" has been screaming off the pages. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised - all the press is of the gutter variety to some extent. We should also not be surprised, since the biggest surprise of all was that the man allowed her to go through the divorce without any arguement. He is, after all, a man well skilled in the advertising game - a way of being creative with the truth.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more! Chris