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‘Piers Morgan Uncensored’ and the privilege of free speech

Last Tuesday, Piers Morgan Uncensored debuted on Sky News Australia.

In the intro, British commentator, Piers Morgan railed against censorship.

…I’m going to be constantly celebrating the one thing you can’t abide; free speech. And that’s real free speech, not your kind of free speech where you’re opinions are allowed. Anyone with a different opinion has to be shamed, abused and cancelled; their careers and reputations destroyed. No, free speech is supposed to be the bedrock of any real democratic society. The kind where it’s OK to disagree. It’s alright to respect and tolerate each other’s views. It’s even OK to go for a beer with someone you’ve just spent a whole hour arguing with about the burning issues of the day.

Piers Morgan Uncensored, from 26 April 2022, Sky News Australia

Former US President, Donald Trump was Morgan’s first guest.

Topics centred around the culture wars

So, what ‘hot topics’ did Donald Trump and Piers Morgan talk about? As Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski said, it was largely culture war topics.

The main topics Trump and Morgan covered included:

  • Trump’s ban from Twitter and Elon Musk wanting to buy the company
  • ‘What’s a woman and swimmer Lia Thomas (yawn!)
  • The British Royal family (mainly Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
  • Golf
  • Trump’s claims that the US 2020 election was rigged (again)
  • Russia and Ukraine
  • Trump starting his own platform (Again?)

Trump gushed about Queen Elizabeth II, saying she was ‘incredible’ and comparing her to Mother Teresa.

Of course, Trump and Morgan bashed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Trump said Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should lose their royal titles. He also crudely suggested Prince Harry’s and Markle’s marriage wouldn’t last.

In talking about Olympic swimmer and transwoman, Lia Thomas, Trump fumed saying “people, won’t stand for it” and that it was “ridiculous”.

What does Piers Morgan Uncensored say about freedom of speech and privilege?

Riveting stuff, eh? Trump and Morgan was talking about stuff people have been talking about ad nauseum for years.

Of course, there was no mention of hormone therapy transwomen go through or the guidelines that sports bodies have. There never are. But I digress.

Like Kyle Kulinski said in his video, the topics Trump and Morgan discussed were surface level topics. They didn’t challenge the status quo. In fact, it was the opposite. They maintained the status quo. Heck they ARE the status quo!

If anything, Piers Morgan Uncensored proves free speech is in tact for the privileged. Piers Morgan is not a victim. Neither is Trump. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Piers Morgan’s net worth this year is around US$20million.

Piers Morgan was always going to be able to continue working in the media after he stormed off stage on Good Morning Britain in March last year.

Overall, I don’t think Piers Morgan Uncensored is a bad show. Actually, Piers Morgan is a good interviewer. However, I sense he’s going to become a broken record very quickly. I could be wrong.

Did you see Piers Morgan Uncensored? What did you think? Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Wiggles’ cover receives mixed reactions

The Wiggles perform8ng ‘Elephant’ on Triple J’s Hottest 100

Children’s entertainment group, The Wiggles topped Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year.

They covered Tempest Impaler 2012 song, Elephant.

In case you’re wondering, this is the original:

 

 

‘Blue Wiggle’, Anthony Field admitted that if ot was up to him, they probably woukdn’ymt have done the song:

As an older guy, I would have said, you know, ‘Let’s do Easybeats’ ‘Friday on My Mind’.

Anthony Field after Triple J Hottest 100 victory

Personally, I thought The Wiggles did a good job. The bass isn’t as heavy as in original. But it’s still catchy. 

However, Triple J audience’s choice hasn’t been without controversy.

The result received backlash

From what I have read, people weren’t happy for two reasons. 

According to The Australian, some listeners took it as a joke.

One social media user didn’t like the winning song came out in 2012:

Ah yes, the hottest song…of 2012. Except it’s worse now.

Other artists that made the Top 100 included: Kid Laroi (real name Charlton Howard), Spacey Jane and Ocean Alley. 

Reasons why listeners found the result problematic

Luke Gurgis from The Industry Observer outlined the problems with the result. These were:

  1. The Wiggles are already established and not underdogs: I get this one. The Wiggles are a much – loved band around the world. At least traditionally, Triple J has been the home for the up – and – coming artists. Not those who are already mainstream.
  2. It wasn’t a ‘protest vote’: I think this relates to the first point. The Wiggles are mainstream. 
  3. It wasn’t satire: I didn’t know it had to be? I get that The Wiggles stayed true to the original. So, no, it wasn’t satire.
  4. Emotional votes don’t make sense: The article argued that the Gen Y voters who grew up with The Wiggles couldn’t have been an emotional vote, since the majority of the original members had left the band
  5. It robbed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists: Yeah, I can see that. 

Did Triple J pick favourites?

I wrote in my first Patron – only post that The Wiggles were bought by the ABC back in the early 1990’s.

Triple J is one of the radio stations owned by the ABC.

Gurgis said The Wiggles’ win was a “great outcome for the ABC”.

The Like A Version (when artist makes unique covers of others’ songs) “stunt” benefited Triple J (and the ABC). 

The video of the song has already been viewed 3.7 million times as of today (26 January AEST).

So is it only a coincidence that a band kick – started by the ABC won? I’m not sure. To be honest, I don’t blame anyone for having their suspicions.

Maybe listeners wanted nostalgia

I’m guessing most Triple J listeners are of my era (Gen Y). We grew up listening to The Wiggles. Heck, that was the first band I saw live when I was about four!

While on

Y one original member remains, maybe hearing The Wiggles perform may still have been nostalgic. In the current situation, maybe that’s what people need.

What do you think? Do you like The Wiggles’ cover? Should have they won Triple J’s Hottest 100? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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Media

AFLW’s Darcy Vescio comes out as non – binary: the daunting nature of sharing your identity on social media

Rainbow trans/ gender non - binary symbol
Image/ iStock

AFLW’s Darcey Vescio came out as non – binary.

The Carlton player revealed their gender identity. They came out on Twitter and Instagram. 

After posting a video, Vescio wrote:

Just popping in to let you know I am non – binary.

They went on:

Sharing this feels a bit daunting, but brings me a lot of warmth and happiness. 

Vestio’s revelation has been met with support from public figures, such as AFLW player, Lily Mithen and dissability advocate, Carly Findlay. 

AFLW’s Gold Coast Suns player, Tori Groves – Little has also come out as non – binary.

Revealing yourself online can be nerve – wracking

Over eight years ago, when I started blogging, I wrote about asexuality and LGBTQ+ issues. 

When I wrote about and analysed news and opinion or a researched piece, I was fine. 

However, it was nerve – wracking when I wrote something that hit close to home. When I wrote one blog post in particular (it was about the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Intersexism), I was too nervous to think straight.

Coming out and invalidation

I can’t say whether or not Vescio felt the same way. But the experience makes me respect those like them that do come out publicly. Especially since gender non – binary people are often invalidated, (much like asexual people were). 

Whenever trans or non – binary people are on the news or social media, more often than not, there are invalidating comments. Things along the lines that non – binary people are either male or female, want to be special, yadda, yadda. 

Very similar things that asexual people faced in the early 2010’s. Here’s the thing. no matter how many times you tell a non – binary person that they are male for female, it won’t change how they intrinsically feel. 

Likewise, if you tell a bisexual people to ‘pick a side’ or an asexual person that they are faking/ they are straight, etc, it doesn’t change how they feel. It doesn’t change who they intrinsically are.

Herald Sun should be commended for its reporting

There are so many criticisms that can be made about mainstream media outlets. 

However, Grace Baldwin from Herald Sun did a great job at reporting Vescio’s coming out. 

Baldwin respected Vescio’s pronouns throughout the article. It was free of invalidation. 

The article offered further information on what non – binary means, which I thought that was great.

There are non – binary people who’s identity may fluctuate or exist in the male/ female spectrum.

There are other non – binary people who don’t identify within the binary (agender) or consider themselves neutral. Vescio identifies with the latter.

The more non – binary come out, the more acceptance there’ll be (hopefully)

Like asexuality, I hope that non – binary people will be embraced like others in the LGBTQ+ community. 

I hope that there comes a time when non – binary people will feel comfortable coming out. They should be free to live their lives without discrimination.

We’re not there yet. But if newspapers like Herald Sun can cover stories of non – binary people with integrity and respect, I think we are moving in the right direction. 

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Media

Britney Spears is free from Conservatorship

People celebrated the freedom of Britney Spears (Image from Sloan video “Britney Spears is FREE! Now What?)

Last week, Britney Spears’ supporters got the news they were all waiting for. After fourteen years, Britney Spears is free from her conservatorship.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Spears had argued for months that she should be free with her money and assets.

Finally, Judge Brenda Penny ruled in Spears’ favour.

As of today, the conservatorship of the person and estate of Britney Jean Spears is hereby terminated.

 

In June, Spears spoke passionately at a hearing. She slammed the restrictions against her as “abusive”. Spears demanded that the restrictions end without another mental assessment.

Events started turning in Spears’ favour

Despite scepticism from legal experts, the judge granted Spears the right to choose her own lawyer. Spears chose Matthew Rosengart. This turned out to be a great choice.

Rosengart’s first goal was to have Spears’ father, James Spears, removed from the conservatorship. His next goal was to scrap the conservatorship completely.

Rosengart and his team also investigated James Spears. They found mismanagement of Spears’ finances. He told Britney that she could pursue legal action. He also suggested that the New York Times’ documentary allegations that a listening device was placed in Britney Spears’ room be investigated.

James Spears’ lawyers attacked Rosgengart’s allegations as impossible. They insisted that Mr. Spears had only acted in Spears’ best interests.

Spears’ rights taken away

In 2008, the battle between Britney Spears and her father began.

Spears alleged that her father had forced her into a psychiatric ward. People exaggerated Spears’ mental health symptoms.

Spears also told the court that nurses had invaded her privacy. She alleged that nurses forced her to take Lithium, a medication commonly used to treat bipolar, schizophrenia and depression.

In addition, a judge granted James Spears conservatorship on potentially dubious grounds. The behaviour of the judge was questionable at least.

And the kicker: despite forced psychiatric visits, etc, Mr. Spears still had Britney performing.

Campaigns on social media

YouTuber, Michael Sloan Hooks (aka Sl04n), has tirelessly exposed the corruption behind Spears’ court cases. He also exposed how Spears has been betrayed by her father, sister, Jamie Lynn Spears and former business manager, Lou M Taylor.

#FreeBritney gained momentum on Twitter in 2019. To this day, people are still using the hashtag. Britney has publicly thanked the people behind the #FreeBritney campaign, saying that it saved her life.

An injustice that shouldn’t have happened

I’ve never been a big Britney Spears fan. However, I have followed this fight a bit and am glad that justice for Britney has prevailed.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Britney Spears has been repeatedly exploited and betrayed by those she should have been able to trust.

Claims of her mental health and institutionalisation was a farce. It was used as an excuse to have all her rights and property taken away.

I hope that Britney can live her life in peace, now. I hope she can live her life happily, the way she wants.

 

Have you followed the #FreeBritney movement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Media

ABC Life set to change and 250 jobs are to be axed

ABC studio entrance
Image: iStock

 

For a while, Australia’s ABC  has been dreading the reality of having to cut back on its content. There has been no funding cuts from the Morrison Government. However, due to past cuts, particularly from the Abbott Coalition Government, the ABC in it’s current form has become unsustainable.

One of the platforms that is going to change is ABC Life.

ABC Life was launched in August 2018. It’s aim was to attract young adult audiences to the ABC. It’s set to be called ABC Local with more an emphasis on regional and rural areas.

Rather than politics, the site focused a range of topics such as well being, work,  family, sex and relationships.

Stories that were published on the site was of that of 20 – something and 30 – something Australians. Types of post include personal narrative, opinion and recipe advice.

Unfortunately, 250 jobs are set to be cut.

ABC Life and disability activism

One of the great strengths of ABC Life is their disability advocacy. Back in June, they published an article

Filling  the void left by collapsed magazines?

Personally, I can’t help but compare ABC Life to collapsed magazines Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo. While the site doesn’t embrace topics like fashion, as a former Cleo and Cosmo reader, I can see some overlap.

ABC Life, Cosmopolitan (Australia) and Cleo covered relationships, sexuality and work frequently. I guess they were all aiming to attract the same age group.

Media collapses, especially in regional areas

ABC isn’t the only station in Australia that’s facing job losses. Channel 10 have also faced job cuts. Kerri – Anne Kennerly, Natarsha Belling, Tim Bailey and Mike Larkin will reportedly lose their positions. Perth and Brisbane will lose their bulletins. All news will be aired from Sydney or Melbourne.

Albury/ Wodonga have also lost so much of their media over the years, with radio stations, 104.9 Star FM and 105.7 The River being largely broadcast in Melbourne.

I don’t like this at all. Why should Sydney and Melbourne have all the media? Why shouldn’t a young person from Albury or Wodonga have the opportunity to study and work in journalism?  La Trobe University only offers Bachelor of Communications and Media in Melbourne.

 

Is this a chance for independent content creators?

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Anyone who has read this blog know that I’m passionate about independent content creators and alternatives to mainstream media. I especially love The Young Turks and Secular Talk from the US.

I would love Australia to have something similar. Will this happen now? I guess only time will tell. I think we need more voices in the media landscape. Will Glycerine Queen Media be a part of it? (hey, I can dream can’t I?).

 

Personally, I will miss ABC Life when it changes. I might give  ABC Local a go, but I’ve got a feeling that the change will be noticeable.

Do you read ABC Life?  Do you find it useful or good to read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Adult magazine People set to shut down by end of year

Last year, Bauer Media Group’s Cosmopolitan Australia stopped production.

 

Issues of Cosmopolitan Australia
Bauer Media Group closed Cosmopolitan Australia last year

 

News.com.au reported that adult magazines, People and Picture will face the same fate by the end of the year.

The soft – core pornography magazines have faced backlash, with 7 – 11 and BP service stations pulling them from the shelves after an online campaign demanded changes.

Adult magazine, People is on its last legs and is set to close by the end of the year.

 

At the time the article was written, Coles and Woolworths still sold the controversial publications.

Activists and drop in sales blamed for magazines’ demise

Protest from Collective Shout and a decline in sales have been blamed for the collapse of People and Picture.

Former Zoo editor, Paul Merrill has also pointed fingers at the #MeToo movement.

With the #MeToo movement in full flow, [the magazines’] days were always going to be numbered.

While #MeToo has started debate on the treatment of women in workplaces and society and pornography is becoming scrutinised, it is still being watched at a huge rate worldwide. According to Psych Central, in the U.S. alone, 40 million people view porn sites regularly. Most are men, however, a third are women.

The most popular site is PornHub. In 2018, Australia was numbered 12th in the number of views by country.

The downfall of the magazine industry

As I pointed out above and have written in the past, the magazine industry in Australia has been dwindling for some time. Magazines continue to close down.

This is largely due to the Internet and the digitising of news and entertainment.

I also don’t think magazines, like Cosmopolitan Australia, People, Penthouse and Picture have failed to ‘read the room’, so to speak.

Cosmopolitan Australia didn’t move enough beyond the 1970’s. Much of their ‘sex advice’ became laughable. Too many people didn’t buy it (pardon the pun). Personally, the repetition (as well as endless ads) was what got me. The articles (what was left of them) were not very insightful.

Ethical concerns about mainstream pornography

Pornography is not just condemned by conservative Christians. Feminists have long been critics of pornography and its objectification of women. Psychologists and adolescent experts have also been worried about its effect on young people, the brain and relationships.

Last month, SBS aired a three – part documentary, Porn Laid Bare. Six young adults from the UK explored the porn industry in Spain: its production, its affect on the brain and damaging affect on consumers, actors and society as a whole. What struck me was the dangerously fine line between mainstream pornography and sex trafficking.

To me, the collapse of Penthouse and People magazines are a sign of a changing media industry and (slowly) values. Do people still want cheap ‘fast food’ sex entertainment? At the moment, obviously yes. However, I also think that mainstream adult entertainment will have to evolve or die on ethical grounds eventually. Ethical ambiguities that pornography presents will no longer be acceptable.

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Media

Is ‘de – transition’ the new ex – gay?

Transgender sign
Image: iStock

Lately, there has been a number of ‘transition regret’ stories in both Australian and international media.

On Sunday, Sky News Australia’s/ Win’s Outsiders had Walter Heyer on, a man who claimed identified as trans, but then wanted to transition back to male. The hosts of Outsiders and Andrew Bolt have really lapped up Heyer’s story and others like it.

Other media outlets, including Christian Concern, Daily Telegraph and USA Today have all published stories on people who apparently regret their transition and have worked to get their original sex back.

Is this the new ‘ex – gay’ movement

Are there some people who originally identify as trans, then realise they’re actually cis – gender? Maybe.

Let me clear, if someone originally identifies as trans and then realise they’re not, then that’s fine.

However, what I’m hearing and reading does concern me. I fear that the de -transitioning movement that will force trans/ gender non – conforming people to be something they’re not.

I can hear elements of ‘conversion therapy‘ language in these ‘testimonies’. Using early childhood (usually sexual) trauma as the reason for a person’s identity was very common at the height of the ex – gay movement.

Deliberate misuse of terms and using, frankly, unlikely stories have been used in the ex – gay and de – transitioning movements. For example, gender dysphoria (which is what many transgender people go through) and disassociate identity disorder (DID) have been conflated.

One unlikely story I’ve heard is a de – transitioned’ man who ‘felt’ he was a trans – woman after his wife died. He ‘felt’ that way in order to be closer to her. While some may realise they’re trans or gender non conforming later in life, I think that’ll be the exception, rather than the rule.

According to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, children begin expressing their gender between two and three. Even transgender people that I’ve heard about who have transitioned much older realised their gender identity as children, not after becoming widowed.

Even if some of these stories about de – transitioning do turn out to be true, I don’t want these stories to be used to give false hope to young people who are questioning their gender or do know they are trans. I don’t want them to be left feeling they should change how they feel, then fail and feel hopeless.. As seen in conversion therapy, this cycle only exacerbates the high suicide rates of LGBTQ+ people.

What the media needs to do

I believe the media has a major responsibility in this. Misreporting and fear mongering about transgender/ gender non – conforming people needs to stop.

De – transition stories need to be told with caution. They should not be used to pressure transpeople to be someone they know they’re not. I’m not exaggerating when I say lives are at stake.

LGBTQ+ people do not need more discrimination. They don’t need more misrepresentation. And they certainly don’t need to be told that who they are is wrong and needs to change. Too many lives have been destroyed.

What do you think about the wave of ‘transition regret’ stories in the media? Helpful or harmful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Does the ABC’s new site make it harder for independent bloggers?

ABC studio entrance
Image: iStock

The ABC has another site, ABC Life.

The site covers a number of topics: food, family, work and well – being to name a few.

Reading some of the articles, I think they are generally well – written, even if some are politically correct.

Where does this leave independent media?

ABC is obviously trying to get into the lifestyle/ culture media space; genres that, a number of other outlets in Australia has failed to launch; such as  women’s website, The Hoopla or recently folded, such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan Australia.

If the ABC is filling the void that collapsed media companies left, then where does that leave future independent media outlets in Australia? Considering the ABC is arguably Australia’s largest media company, where dooes that lead other media?

Mainstream media dominating social media

ABC Life also has already got a social media presence, including a YouTube channel. This is their right, I guess. But I do feel uneasy about it. Even though their current subscriber count is modest, I fear they could potentially overshadow independent creators.

Earlier this year, YouTube political commentators Kyle Kulinski (The Kyle Kulinski Show/ Secular Talk) and David Pakman (The David Pakman Show) accused YouTube for prioritising mainstream media outlets over independent ones. The Google algorithms made media companies like CNN and MSNBC favoured as recommendations for viewers. This has negatively affected view counts of videos from independent commentators like Kulinski and Pakman. Will the ABC further have a similar negative effect? I hope not.

I’m not saying the ABC or any other mainstream media outlet can’t have a YouTube channel, but not at the expense of killing independent content creators.

The blog/ website landscape

Naturally, this is where my concern is. How can independent bloggers compete with the ABC? We can’t. One bonus, I guess, is that the ABC doesn’t rely on advertisers like commercial or independent media.

Will it affect other bloggers’ ability to gain traffic and trust from readers? Maybe. Despite the criticisms that ABC frequently received, I think it’s still a fairly trusted company across the country. I know that people in rural towns often get news from their radio stations.

On a positive note, I’ll have more to write about and critique on here. Hopefully I will. Watch this space!

Independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards

I think the ABC Life potentially overcrowds an already overcrowded market. Independent bloggers and YouTubers will have to work hard in not just creating content, but also in advertising it.

I guess if we can’t beat the ABC and mainstream commercial media, we have to join them. We, as independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards in our work. And just cross our fingers that we’ll get readers/ viewers who are willing to support our work.

 

What do you think about mainstream media outlets extending to online? Do you think it makes it harder for independent content creators? 

Also, have you looked at ABC Life? What are your thoughts on their posts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Media

Gillette ad controversy: is the media and social media trustworthy?

U.S. razor company, Gillette, caused a furore last month for their viral ad ‘The Best Men Can Be’.

If social and traditional media was anything to go by, this was an outrage. They were attacking boys and men — their primary consumers. This was #MeToo on steroids.

Hashtag #boycottgillette trended on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/socalsnowbrdr/status/1095811379741642752?s=21


 

So you’d assume that the ‘anti masculinity’ campaign would destroy Gillette. Well, no. Apparently, the campaign was actually positive.

Many U.S. consumers applauded the campaign

According to Upworthy, two studies showed that most consumers looked favourably on the campaign.

Data collected by Morning Consult found that more consumers believed that Gillette shared their values than before the campaign (42% before, 71% after). 65%of study respondents said they were more likely to buy Gilette products since the campaign.

Over four fifths (84%) of women and more than three quarters (77%) of men were either in favour or felt neutral towards the campaign. Data from Ace Metrics produced similar results.

Is the media and social media out of touch?

I am always careful when it comes to studies, especially on social issues. Too often, so – called ‘studies’ are conducted purely to confirm one’s own biases.

I don’t know the sample size of the Morning Consult study. I am also not familiar with Ace Metrics.

But, lets assume for a moment that both sets of data are a fair representation of Americans’ overall attitudes toward Gillette.That means traditional and social media did not represent mainstream public opinion. And maybe it’s not the only time.

Traditional media still a major source of news for the public

I’ve heard that U.S cable networks such as CNN and Fox are losing loyalty among the public. Meanwhile, independent news sources, including YouTube channels are rising in popularity.

Australians, too,  seem to also have little faith in the media.

A Roy Morgan study showed that journalists are generally not trusted by the public. Inaccuracies left uncorrected and biases were two major criticisms. Out of radio, TV and print news, most people surveyed, (66% for national news, 56% for world news) gained their news from TV. Print media gained the most negative responses.

Social media also deemed untrustworthy

While traditional media has its critics, social media hasn’t faired well, either. 2018 saw a backlash against social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Reuters Institute, Digital News Report found that social media was facing a worldwide decline in both popularity and trust, with the U.S. leading the charge. News item were also not shared on social media as frequently as it used to

Apps such as WhatsApp and email news services are rising in popularity. However, many reported being annoyed at being bombarded with emails and notifications.

Personally, I’ve gotten increasingly annoyed by the number of statuses and ‘news’ articles that turned out to be hoaxes or just untrue. It’s made me cynical about sharing anything and now I mostly ignore a lot of articles I see posted.

I’ve also found that so much on Facebook is heavily biased, often veering to one extreme on the political/ ideological spectrum. People are often hard Left or hard conservative, with very few willing to look at multiple sides to an issue. Look, people can publish what they want. I’d just advise viewers to be wary of articles that are posted. If you read it, Google it and see if the article is factual. Many times, they aren’t.

 

Social and traditional media have issues with trust. To mainstream journalists, no offence, but pull your head in. Your viewers/ readers/ listeners deserve the truth, not just political propaganda.

What did you think of the Gillette ad and do you have any news outlets you particularly like? Let me know in the comments

 

 

 

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Media

‘White’ magazine closes after same – sex backlash: bullying or free market?

 

Australian wedding magazine, White announced that it’s ending production after twelve years. Creators Luke and Carla Burrell claimed that the magazine was no longer ‘economically viable’.

A number of wedding businesses pulled their support for the magazine after it was revealed in August that the Burrells were  deliberately excluding submissions from same – sex couples. There have beeen some reports that advertisers caved after a social media campaign turned nasty.

I am vehement when it comes to bullying. Nobody deserves it and it should always be condemned. However, reading articles on this story, it’s hard to tell for certainty whether advertisers boycotted White due to intimidation, or, rather it was in disagreement with the Burrels choosing not to feature same – sex couples in their publication. If it is the latter, then, the advertisers should have that right

One of the arguments used for the loosening of anti – discrimination protections against LGBTQ+ people is the free market. If a business refuses to cater for a gay wedding, for example, then word would get around and there may be a backlash against the business, hence, reducing their revenue and putting the survival of the business in jeopardy. Well, depending on the real reason for the advertiser boycotts,  it seems possible that’s what happened to White. Businesses pulled their support for White because of vehement disagreement with the Burrells on same – sex marriage and/ or not making their stance public. If this is the case, isn’t that what a part of being a free market is all about? Aren’t businesses (and advertisers), allowed to run in a way that suits their conscience?

Also, should businesses be able to operate in a way that satisfies their consumer base? Again, I do not condone bullying, threats or intimidation of any sort. But, what if a social media campaign isn’t vicious, but a businesses bottom line could be affected, can a business adjust, Or, at least reevaluate their values to make sure that customers are willing to support them? True, it may be the only reason why a business may support a particular cause, like Nike supporting former NFL player, Colin Kaepernick. Do companies and advertisers have a right to do this or not?

Also, as I’ve written on a number of times, magazines are becoming a shaky industry in Australia. Since 2016, Bauer Media has stopped the production of three major magazines: Dolly, Cosmopolitan Australia and Cleo. Could it be possible that print magazines became shaky for White, too?

 

One last thing, I really don’t think the White magazine controversy is a part of a ‘gay agenda’ (I hate that conspiracy!). It was a company that decided on, what turned out to be, an unprofitable venture (and possibly format given the ever collapsing of the print media industry), and the Burrells saw no option but to close. While it is a shame (I do feel for media companies have to close or journalists, photographers, etc who lose their jobs), it is a) the way much of the media in this country is going and b) exclusivity may not be a good business value to build on. Maybe since last year, Australia has moved in another direction.