"First they ignore you, ..."
Two weeks ago, Slate.com's short-lived1 publication "Double X" published an article by Kathryn Joyce entitled "'Men's Rights' Groups Have Become Frighteningly Effective."2
This was not Slate.com's finest hour. One thing this article could never be accused of is objective reporting.
On Nov. 5th, the very same day the Double X article appeared, Salon.com's Broadsheet published an article by Judy Berman entitled "'Men's rights' groups go mainstream"3 that adds no new information, and simply seems to be an effort to repeat the Double X article to Salon's readers.
Since the Double X article appeared there have been several analyses of its flaws, the most recent being Cathy Young's article in Forbes: "Feminism should be about equality–for males too"4 which says:
"More than a quarter-century ago, British feminist philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards wrote, 'No feminist whose concern for women stems from a concern for justice in general can ever legitimately allow her only interest to be the advantage of women.' Joyce's article is a stark example of feminism as exclusive concern with women and their perceived advantage, rather than justice or truth."
In "Journalistic Misrepresentation at Slate's New Woman-Oriented Publication 'Double X'"5, RADAR's Mark Rosenthal explained how the article had misrepresented his comments and also took issue with the article's characterization of Murray Straus as someone "who has written extensively on female violence," saying:
"The characterization of Straus as someone who has written extensively on female violence is like characterizing Susan B. Anthony as someone who wrote extensively on temperance – true but misleading because of what it leaves out. Straus has devoted his professional career to the study of all forms of family violence – parent-to-child, child-to-parent, sibling-to-sibling, as well as partner violence in all its configurations – male-to-female, female-to-male, and mutual. He has never focused exclusively on female violence."
And in a series of articles beginning with "Slate.com & Salon.com Criticize the Fatherhood Movement (Part I)"6, Glenn Sacks critiques the quality of the reporting, saying:
"The articles discuss various aspects and actors in the [men's and fathers] movement, and also quote and misquote me. ... I specifically, repeatedly, and emphatically told Joyce that any linkage between the men's & fathers' movements' grievances and Sodini is not my view, but I guess she was determined to jam it in there anyway."
Mahatma Gandhi is reputed to have said: "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." The joint Slate/Salon attack pieces are a good indication that we're well past stage 1. Congratulation to all RADAR supporters and allies for getting us this far. Let's keep it up!
Date of RADAR Release: November 23, 2009
R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org