The news media recently covered a court case about a woman, Evie Amati, carrying an axe, who went into a 7-Eleven convenience store. Swinging the axe, she seriously injured two customers.
Of course, such an attention-grabbing story could not be missed by the media. But the way in which it was reported reflects the media’s obsession with political correctness.
The axe-wielding young woman was, you see, born a male and was undergoing ‘transgender’ treatment. And it was this treatment and the drugs ‘she’ was taking to change ‘her’ sex that influenced ‘her’ violent, aggressive behaviour.
That pertinent piece of information was revealed at the court case. But any reference to this was omitted till towards the end of the news articles.
This was highlighted by Paul Murray in an article “Media buries the lead on gender’s dark side” (to which someone drew my attention). Apparently it was published in the West Australian last weekend.
He pointed to an ABC report which covered the incident in 28 paragraphs. The first 21 paragraphs related how the incident unfolded. “The 22nd paragraph reported the prosecutor telling the jury that Amati had previously spoken about fantasies of killing people.”
But it wasn’t until two paragraphs later that the defence counsel’s crucial statement was referred to in the news report:
“[The defence counsel] added that she was in a state of psychosis at the time of the attack, which was caused by her mental illness and a ‘toxic mixture’ of gender transition hormone medication, cannabis, amphetamines and alcohol.”
It wasn’t until the 26th paragraph that readers were told that the “jury was told about her gender dysmorphia, depression and the difficulty she had following gender reassignment surgery from man to woman”.
Paul Murray said that people studying journalism were taught “things that would most interest readers and particularly things that were at the heart of the issue at hand demanded prominence”. Following this ‘golden rule’ of journalism, the introduction to the story might, says Murray, have been:
“A transgender woman allegedly suffering under the effects of her hormone medication and other drugs attacked two people with an axe in a Sydney convenience store, the NSW District Court was told today.”
Leaving this important element till last, before which time readers may have lost interest in the article and switched to something else, is a way of de-emphasising something that a journalist ought to emphasise but, because of own political bias, prefers to hide. It’s tucked away at the end. In this way readers are presented with a slanted view of reality.
It’s not just a characteristic of the ABC’s articles, long known to be promoters of ‘politically correct’ LGBT+ views. It’s also evident in the Sydney Morning Herald which placed the transgender reference in the 19th paragraph of 24, says Murray. There the reporter, referring to the defence counsel:
“He said Ms Amati, who was born a man, began taking hormones in 2012 to transition to a woman but the drugs had a significant effect on her state of mind.
He said Ms Amati’s mental state deteriorated in 2015, when she had surgery in Thailand to complete her transition to a woman, and she began to experience visions, hallucinations and suicidal and homicidal ideation.”
Murray then refers to News Ltd’s online report on the story which used a whopping 92 paragraphs but did not deal with the axe wielder’s ‘gender’ problems till the last six paragraphs.
He concludes: “Political correctness kills journalism. Unless the overriding concern is for the truth — rather than not offending some people — the public is left in the dark.”
Christians need to be alert to how our minds can slowly but surely be shaped by the way reporters choose to report the news. That, in turn, can affect our attitudes and values. We must continually read critically, testing the spirits on the basis of the truth. God’s Word is the Truth and the ultimate ‘touch stone’ for determining what is right and wrong.