ABC’s Media Watch Accused Of ‘Both-Siding’ Fight For Trans Human Rights

ABC’s Media Watch Accused Of ‘Both-Siding’ Fight For Trans Human Rights
Image: screengrab

ABC’s Media Watch has been accused of “both-siding” the fight for trans human rights and access to gender-affirming care. 

The episode, which aired June 26, discussed the sacking of Age columnist Julie Szego, with host Paul Barry calling Szego, “another casualty in the gender wars.” 

Barry: Duty To ‘Treat Both Sides With Respect’

Barry concluded the segment by saying, “Clearly covering transgender issues is difficult territory. But denying women a voice or spiking stories that will cause a fuss is surely not the answer. In a debate where both sides accuse the other of extremism, it’s the media’s duty to be an honest broker, treat both sides with respect, and not be scared into silence.”

‘Bad Journalism Kills People’

Writer Natalie Feliks, who appeared in the episode,  pushed back on this “advice” and on Barry’s claim she called Szego a TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist).

Feliks tweeted, “That sounds great except that’s not what you did. In the responses I gave, I never actually called Szego a TERF. The quote that Paul is referring to was on a general question about trans reporting and all I said was that terfism was on the rise.”

In a subsequent tweet, Feliks wrote, “​​To use Media Watch’s own words, it is not right or fair to simply “bleat balance”. Imagine if they did that with anti-vax propaganda during covid, or with climate change… oh wait, Media Watch knows about that. Simply not good enough. I repeat – bad journalism kills people.”

Director of the Trans Justice Project Jackie Turner, who also appeared in the episode, pushed back on Media Watch’s reporting.

“[Media Watch] I expected very little and it was worse than that. Here’s what I had to say when they asked me about Szego’s article. “This article is full of discredited science, fringe conspiracy theories, and omits relevant context that would provide more fairness and balance,” she tweeted. 

‘I Envy How Easy You Find It To Dismiss These People’

Turner added, “I feel like people don’t understand how scary it is to have literal Nazis threatening to ‘destroy’ you. I have to take precautions like hiding my address because I know that being a trans person in the public eye is dangerous. I envy how easy you find it to dismiss these people.”

Queer satirist and activist Pauline Pantsdown tweeted, “Can’t recall [ABC’s Media Watch] both-sidesing antivax cranks; 15 minute cities; or kiddies being held captive in tunnels under Melbourne ; but it takes issue with anti-trans conspiracies being seen as unfit to report as “news”?”

Writer and journalist Kara Schlegl tweeted, “This is disappointing not only bc of the both-sideism, but bc it blatantly sidesteps the fact that “gender critical” theories are directly aligned with fascist ideology, and that most of these women are directly associated with nazis, or are nazis themselves.”

Szego Fired After Calling Colleague ‘Woke’

In early June, Szego was sacked from The Age after her comments about “woke journalists” following the masthead’s refusal to publish her article about gender-affirming care.

In a post to social media at the time, Szego claimed that The Age editor Patrick Elligett had rejected an article submitted by her,  posting, “If you want to know why this piece was rejected, you’ll have to ask the editor.” 

In a follow-up post, she wrote, “I’ll be writing about gender identity politics more broadly— without the copy being rendered unreadable by a committee of woke journalists redacting words they deem incendiary, such as “male”.

These comments resulted in her sacking.

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.