The misreporting and omissions in the media on same – sex marriage need to stop

Sunday Herald Sun17 September2017
I think the media plays a role in what side of the same – sex marriage wins or loses.

The debate on same – sex marriage is still going on as the postal surveys are being sent out nationwide.

A win for the ‘Yes’ side is not guaranteed.

Yesterday in Sunday’s Herald Sun a study by ‘No’ campaigners predicted that there was a million vote swing against the ‘Yes’ vote. According to the stats, if that’s the case, the ‘Yes’ vote will still get up, but only just. Only a few hundred thousand less, then it’s gone.

Million vote swing claim in same - sex polls article Sunday Herald Sun
Story in ‘Sunday’s Herald Sun’ reports that poll estimates that there is up to a million vote swing to oppose same – sex marriage

If the ‘Yes’ side doesn’t get up, I’ll personally blame the media.

The liberal/ Left and conservative media have been pathetic during this campaign. Commentary, for the most part, have been deliberately skewed and extremely selective on what they are willing to report, condemn and support.

The earliest example of poor journalism (or in this case ‘interviewing’), that saw the demise of the ‘Yes’ campaign in my view, was The Project’s ‘interview’ with former tennis champion, Margaret Court.

This was the first of a number of extreme media biases that ended up painting the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters in a bad light.

More recently, ABC’s Insiders allegedly promoted Tim Minchin’s parody of Peter Allen’s I still call Australia home, titled I still call Australia home -o – phobic (look it up on YouTube if you want. I won’t post it here). While opit got some praise in the media and elsewhere, there was a fair bit of backlash on social media due to it’s crudeness.

On a more serious note, is the misreporting of incidents between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners. One example is Channel 9’s coverage of a standoff between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigners in Brisbane, in which, a meeting attendee was falsely accused of deliberately using his car as a weapon to mow down ‘Yes’ campaigners, in which protester Jessica Payne — who Today Show interviewed. Andrew Bolt pointed out that Payne was not injured by the driver, but tripping on a gutter.

There was more misreporting by the media on another confrontation happened at a barbeque set by a group of ‘It’s OK to say no’ campaigners. Contrary to the media reports, it was members of  the ‘Yes’ side that was causing the trouble, not ‘No’ campaigners.

Talking about ‘No’ side causing trouble, I’ve been incredibly disappointed about the lack of reporting and condemnation when the shoe is on the other foot. I noticed this for the first time last year when bomb threats were made against Melbourne’s LGBT radio station, Joy 94.9FM. At the time, I looked up multiple Facebook and news sites. There was no article ddon Mamamia, nothing on The Project and, most disappointingly, Andrew Bolt did not mention itvat all, on his TV show, on radio, in the papers or his blog.

There have been other events that haven’t been reported or condemned, for example, a Greek Orthodox priest saying that gays should be shot on Fatger’s Day this year. Another, more frightening example happened in Dubbo, New South Wales where a man was arrested after he threatened a 14 – year – old girl after she posted her support for same – sex marriage. Plus, very few from the mainstream media is pointing out that Madeline’s former contractor, Madlin Sims,  has faced abuse over  the incident with Madeline.

Plus, I’ve also read that parents of LGBTQ+ people and LGBTQ+ celebrities, like Magda Szubanski have been abused on social media. The abuse has been vile, including the false link that LGBTQ+ people are paedophiles. Author, Anthony Venn – Brown recently put his foot down and took to his Facebook page, warning that anyone who suggested a link between being LGBTQ+ and paedophilia were at risk of being permanently banned from his pages.

Screenshot of warning from author, Anthony Venn - Brown
Anthony Venn – Brown often takes criticism and insults on the chin, but has put his foot down when LGBTQ+ people are compared to paedophiles

 

So, from now on, can I make a plea to both sides of the media, please report factually. And please condemn ‘Yes’ supporters when it’s due and don’t ignore when it’s the ‘No’ side. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he wants respectful debate. A bit of accurate reporting and fair commentary might help.

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Were the homophobic posters fake?

Yesterday, I criticised Andrew Bolt for not criticising homophobic posters allegedly plastered over Sydney and Melbourne. Well, today, he has commented on it — to raise doubts about the claim.

To be fair, he said that he wasn’t passing judgment, just a bit wary, which I get. Maybe I should have done the same thing?

I shouldn’t be so hard on him, should I?

 

For Sydney – ites and Melbournians, have you seen any of the alleged homophobic posters in either city?

Censorship isn’t the answer

Last night, Andrew Bolt and Daily Telegraph columnist, Caroline Marcus criticised Facebook for blocking a user after he posted on the upcoming postal plebiscite on same – sex marriage.

After pressure from the public, the page and post have been restored.

Defending Natural Marriage's restored Facebook page
Facebook bucked under pressure and restored ‘Defending Natural Marriage’ page
Restored page of Defending Natural Marriage
Facebook page and acciunt of its creator has been restored by Facebook after inquiry by Sky News (Australia)

This has sparked an angry response from some of The Bolt Report fans. In retaliation, some have said they’d retract their support for same – sex marriage,

Screenshot of FB conversation on 'The Bolt Report
Censorship and bullying tactics are driving people away from supporting same – sex marriage

 

The same – sex marriage debate hasn’t been easy for some members of the LGBTQ+ community.  Frankly, it’s made me cry at times, and I’m single and asexual. I can only imagine how it must be for some same – sex couples. To have your identity, your relationship and your rights debated is tough.

However, I don’t think silencing debate will help the LGBTQ+ community. To be frank, the actions of some have been appalling. From the disgraceful treatment of Margaret Court on The Project earlier this year, to the threats made against the Australian Christian Lobby (I’m not commenting on the current case that’s presently before the court), and more, the LGBTQ+ community and the same – sex marriage campaign in particular are bleeding supporters.

Please step back.

The past couple of weeks have been hard for many LGBTQ+ people. I get it. I really do. But the attacking of opponents, or even some supporters like Marcus, is just wrong. Stop it!

If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to cry. Journal. Scream,  if you need to. But don’t abuse people in real life or online. If you do say something in the heat of the moment, apologise.

If you think you are struggling too much, please, please reach out and seek help. Talk to a family member or friend. Let them support you. If you think you need more, seek out professional help. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

Same – sex marriage affects people, maybe including people you care about

I watch Sky News Australia from Monday to Thursday. I have my regulars: The Bolt Report at 7 p.m. Paul Murray Live at 9 and Chris Kenny’s Head’s Up at 11 (although recently, I’ve only been watching the start).

Not surprisingly, their sick of the same – sex marriage debate. I get it. For them, it means nothing. Bolt, Murray and Kenny are straight and married. So are most (almost all) of the panellists they have.

But what about people they love?

Gay marriage image: rainbow coloured hands holding each other.
Image: Canva

To his credit, at least Andrew Bolt has acknowledged his LGBTQ+ friends and family during this debate. Last year, in an interview with Senior Pastor James Macpherson of Calvary Christian Church, Bolt admitted that he regretted the strain that the same – sex marriage debate had on his relationship with someone he’s close to. Recently, I have to say, on his shows, both on The Bolt Report and 2GB, he is often very cautious and keeps his loved ones in mind when talking about his view, even in his recent criticisms about the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and their data on same – sex parenting.

Pic of Andrew Bolt last year being interviewed on "Think Again" conference
Andrew Bolt expressed regret over the strain that the same – sex marriage debate has had on some of his loved ones

But while Chris Kenny and Paul Murray don’t oppose same – sex marriage, I get annoyed that they talk about the plebiscite as if it’s of no consequence to anyone. That’s how I view it, anyway. Yes, lives ARE affected. Whether you like to admit it or not, some LGBTQ+ people do see this as a personal attack on their rights to live authentically.

 

I’ve written before about the need for more voices from the LGBTQ+ community and those who care for them or work with them (i.e. in mental health), into the debate. Not that I’m knocking people, especially Paul Murray for his stance, not just on this, but other issues as well, such as the alleged bomb scare at Melbourne’s Joy 94.9 last year. His regular panellist, Graham Richardson defended Alan Joyce after he was publicly criticised by tennis champion, Margaret Court. I’m not knocking these guys. I’m really not. But while we should value them as an LGBTQ+ ally, I don’t think it’s the same as letting an LGBTQ+ person being able to openly talk about their own experiences; why the issue means so much to them.

 

Mamamia has done this. Angie Green wrote a passionate open letter expressing why same – sex marriage was important to her, and it was her brother. Why can’t we hear more about relatives of LGBTQ+ people about how they feel about same – sex marriage?

The reason why I bring this up is because, for some, this is not a ‘non – issue’. This is about people’s lives. It is about safety and for certain members of the community to live authentically, without fear. It is about being legally recognised as married, but also, I believe a social affirmation that LGBTQ+ have freedom of expression and can do things like hold their partner’s hand in public. That is a separate issue, and it won’t be automatically granted if (when) same – sex marriage is legalised. But that’ll be another crucial step to acceptance.

We need to stand against antisemitism

Animation of Jewish synagogue
Image: Canva

The local council of Bondi, Sydney, has prevented a Jewish synagogue being built due to the threat of Islamic extremism. The Land and Environment Court has agreed with this decision.

This has understandably outraged the Australian Jewish community and non – Jews alike. And it shouldn’t be tolerated. Anti – Semitism needs to be condemned. Period. If the Australian Jewish community are in any danger, the answer is not to punish the Jews by not allowing them to have a house of worship. The answer is to crack down on anti – Semites — that includes some Muslims.

 

We should all know the danger of antisemitism if we have learnt anything about the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930’s and the Holocaust. This is why I feel so strongly against this. Andrew Bolt is right on this. The Bondi Council and the Land and Environment Court are letting Islamic extremists win. It’s also letting antisemites win. Why can’t they be protected? What’s more, why is antisemitism becoming OK… again?

Anyone who threatens the Jewish community, or makes any indication that they shouldn’t be safe needs the book thrown at them. The only fitting punishment for extreme cases, such as threats is jail. For a long time.

It goes beyond that, though. Antisemitism needs to become unacceptable in society, just like racism, sexism and even homophobia are starting to be. If you see any antisemitic speech on social media, I’d say report it. Or, at the least, (if safe to do so), confront the person who’s made the comment. Don’t allow yourself to be antisemitic either.

From what I understand about World War II, the Nazis thrived on antisemitic propaganda that went unchallenged. People in the media who tried to bring to light what was going on were punished. Many Germans didn’t know the horror of the Holocaust until it was too late. This can’t happen again. Good on both Joe Hildebrand and Andrew Bolt for bringing this to light. I offer a plea to all other journalists in Australia, please, please, please call out antisemitism when you find out about it. And good on the caller to 2GB that brought it to Steve Price’s and Andrew Bolt’s attention last night.

\To all the Jews, both in Australia and abroad, I am so sorry what you’re going through. I’m sorry if some of you feel that history is repeating itself again. I sincerely hope it won’t. I think if people like Bolt, Hildebrand,  Herald Sun’s Rita Panahi, or even myself can call it out and demand that we won’t be silenced, then, hopefully, it’s something.

 

 

Maybe polygamy/ polyamourous marriages are the next step?

Polygamy (polygyny) image via iStock images
Gay marriage then polygamy? Image: iStock

 

I hate to say it  Andrew Bolt may have a point about the slippery – slope argument on gay marriage. I say  “maybe”. I have checked online, and yes, the story does check out. Three gay men in Colombia have had their relationship recognised legally; Victor Hugo Prada, John Allejandro Rodriguez, and Manuel Jose Bermudez. They have been recognised as Colombia’s first “polyamorous family”. According to news.com.au, they now legally have legal and inheritance rights granted to them by the Colombian Supreme Court.

So what does this mean? Does this mean that gay marriage inevitably leads to the legalisation of polygamy? Last year, on an older blog, I wrote an extensive post about the potential hazards that polygamy can have on individuals, families and society. I linked an article by Zainab AL Hammadi.  

Since then, I have read more articles, including from those that have lived in polygamous households, particularly from ex – Mormon Penelope Lane. It was far less than ideal for her as a child. Due to pressure, she wrote another article citing studies from Professor Joseph Hendrich, further reinforcing her point.

Doing this research gave me reason to doubt the slippery slope argument against gay marriage. But I also noted there were differences between the two. So, with the latest revelation from Colombia, what conclusion can we come up with?

As I’m writing this, I’m researching Colombia’s marriage laws and it’s complicated – as there is a marriage law and a de – facto law. For foreigners who get married in Colombia, they have to prove that they’re legally divorced or a spouse has died if they’ve been married before, as well as having other documents such as birth certificates translated to Spanish. Anyway, I’m not a lawyer or an expert on Colombia, so I’ll just leave it at that.

So, this triad has been legally recognised under Colombian law via the Supreme Court. Does this prove Bolt right about what he’s been saying for years? Maybe. Will the legalisation of polygamy or polyamory be able to be argued against? Polygamy (polygyny), yes (as I’ve cited before and linked above). Polyamory? Last time I wrote about this in depth, I said that it was more complicated. At the time, I couldn’t find any conclusive evidence to suggest that polyamory is necessarily bad for men, women, children or society as a whole, unlike polygyny.

 

So, yeah, I’m a bit stumped with this, to be honest. Will it happen in Australia? Maybe. It probably won’t be decided by the Supreme Court as it’s happened in Colombia. Other than that, maybe it’s something we need to think about in Australia. If same – sex marriage is ever legalised in Australia, are we open to recognising polyamorous, or, dare I say it, polygamous unions?

What do you think? Will gay marriage lead to the legalisation of polygamy/ plural marriage?  Feel free to leave your thoughts or any information you know below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget announced – no guts or glory

Design
The Coalition Government has announced the Budget

 

The Coalition has announced it’s 2017 Budget. Not everyone is happy (well, everyone has a gripe with it, I think). Andrew Bolt has slammed it as a ‘Labor budget’. In today’s Herald Sun, columnist Susie O’Brien has called it a ‘fairytale’.

I call it a toothless tiger. It’s clear to me that the Coalition are still scarred by the backlash against Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey in 2014. They aimed to cut welfare, even though much of it was knocked back in the Senate. Some cuts were made, including over $500 million dollars from Aboriginal health services. There was also a proposed plan for a six month freeze on New Start payments and compulsory interviews and ‘activities’ for Disability Support Pension recipients. Due to public backlash, Abbott and Hockey pedalled back on the Newstart  freeze, making potential recipients only wait for a month. There is also spending on education, health and infrastructure projects.

 

I call this year’s Budget a toothless tiger. Gutless really. Unlike Abbott/ Hockey, the Turnbull/ (Scott) Morrison Government went for the middle income earners, the banks and multinationals. The only group that has been targeted and fought back are university students, who will be forced to pay seven per cent more on their HECS – HELP loans, which will be due to be paid back when a graduate will earn just over $40,000 rather than $52,000 a year. Other than that, who, (at least theoretically), would protest the big four banks being targeted? Or multinationals? That’s what I mean by toothless tiger. They went for easy targets, with many concessions (railways, a new Sydney airport, etc). This has caused rumours on a possible election before 2019.

 

This Budget was gutless. While things like the tax cuts for small businesses are OK, there isn’t too much else to go on except to say that it’s infuriated traditional Coalition supporters. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

What did you think of the Budget announcement?