Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad Journalism

Every so often, there are bad articles in the newspaper. It's to be expected and they happen all the time, usually because there's space that needs to be filled.

Anyway, let's get down to business. There was an article published in the Kaila! section of the Sunday Times (26/06) that was brought to my attention today. It's an article called "Gender Disorder: Confusion." It's rare that the horridness of an article can be solely blamed on the writer, since there are so many people involved in the production of a newspaper. (Okay, by that I pretty much mean it wasn't edited)

You can sort of tell from the moment you see a typo in the first sentence which reads: What do you do when a primary or secondary school student starts behaving like a girl when is a, a boy or a tomboy if she is a girl?

The article pretty much goes on to state that homosexuality is a choice, and that people should be happy with their God-given gifts of being male or female. I know, I gagged a little as I wrote that out too. And that's not even the worst part, but let's look at that for a moment.

Homosexuality as a choice, right. What I like the most about it is how straightforward the writer is. It must be great to have such conviction about something after doing so much research and taking into account the fact that there is no answer to that question. No simple one, at any rate. And yes, she did do research! In fact, she gives you the website from which she copy pastes entire chunks of writing.

The website in question, is actually at the center of some controversy for it's views on homosexuality not having any basis in medical or scientific studies. Whoops.

I was going to get started on the religion bit too, but that may be an entirely different kettle of fish. Let's just say that it's my personal view that using religion is a little bit lazy when it comes to writing. It just doesn't make for good media. It's like if the weather report consisted of "Today we had rain because God made it so", instead of an analysis of weather conditions.

People read the newspapers to be informed and to make informed decisions, and if you don't give them the right facts, you are taking advantage of your readership. In this case especially, the audience in question are children. Teenagers in primary and secondary school.

Teenagers are already confused, let's be honest. There is so much going on with hormones and new and exciting developments of the bodily kind that half the time you live in this perpetual land of ups and downs. And that was just me as a heterosexual teen.

What this article does is tell you that you're wrong if you have thoughts about someone who is the same sex as you. That there is, in fact, something wrong with you and that you have to be fixed. Teenagers already have such fragile egos, they don't need to read stuff like this.

And on top of all of that they have to do exams too!

My favorite part of the whole article though is halfway through; just before it dissolves into a frenzy of copy-pasting, where it actually looks like the writer attempted to well, write something.

Yes, I'm talking about the part where the writer gets personal. "For most of the young women I knew, these were confusing times for them, but they later got married and lead a happy, heterosexual life today." There is no basis in fact for any of these statements.

And I challenge you to find me a happy married person (Ba bum pish! thankyou ladies and gentlemen).

All in all, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But when you're a journalist for a newspaper, you need to give people facts that you've properly researched.

And okay, if it was an opinion piece, that may be legitimate. But you can't present your bigoted opinion as fact.

Because that makes you a fucking idiot.

And that's my opinion.


ripvision said...

Albert, have you considered writing for the Fiji Times? Not on articles like the one above but for Tech news etc...

John Michaels said...

agree with albie, agree with ripvision

Wilson said...

Sa dina bro! :D Good to know where you stand :) You never fail to surprise me :) Well said.

Anonymous said...

I love it, Albert :)

Especially the part about using religion as basis for an argument like such!

Yeah hey! that's an idea...maybe you should send in some pieces to the FT??

Dawn :P

Rizwan ud Dean said...

Great article. I'm glad someone is writing about these issues and willing to go head on against novice journalists who often (misguidedly) believe every article they write should be taken as the gospel truth!!!

Anonymous said...

Well said Albert, pretty much said it all :)
The published article is just a complete mediocre piece, and probably an Editor's oversight too :P

gqfijian91 said...

great should post this up on facebook ..

Anonymous said...

Wake up children. The Fiji Times exists to rob people of a dignified existence.

As a colonial-era institution its responsibilities are fostering segregation, stoking hatred and animosity, and otherwise ensuring the plantocracy remains entrenched.

Fiji would be such a nicer place with a Progressive-minded newspaper.