Sunday, 5 November 2017

Yet another worst possible take from the Daily Mail

Let's imagine for a moment that it's your job to work as a mercenary hack for an extreme-right propaganda rag. Your bosses want you to come up with an article defending the indefensible. 

They're terrified that the Westminster sex pest scandal is going to cost Theresa May the slim parliamentary majority that it cost her £1 billion in bribes to the DUP to obtain, so they want you to write an article defending the sex pests and denouncing their critics. So how would you go about it?

Well this is the scenario faced by the Daily Mail hack Peter Hitchens, and his solution to the problem was to equate the victims of sexual assaults and harassment to "militant Islamists".

The crux of his argument being that if women complain when powerful men grope them or harass them with sexist comments, then males in general are the actual victims, and women in politics should end up wearing a niqab or a burka as a safety measure.

Hitchens begins his torturous path to this absurd conclusion with a simple sleight of hand. he denounces anyone who complains about their abuse/harassment at the hands of a specific man with "the belief that all men should be assumed to be slavering sex predators", which he claims is a view they share with "militant Islamists".

It's interesting to see that Hitchens assumes his audience of Daily Mail readers to be so thick that they couldn't possibly differentiate between an allegation that "a specific man groped me" and an assertion that "all men are slavering sex predators".

Hitchens then tries to elicit sympathy for the sex pests by chastising the victims: "Any male action, any form of words you choose to disapprove of can and will be presumed to be guilty because, well, men are like that. The culprit will be ruined for ever" he whines.

Of course there is always the problem of a small minority of women who make false, malicious or exaggerated accusations against men. Women who not only attempt to trash innocent men's reputations, but also cast doubt on the testimonies of actual victims through their dishonesty. 

But this is not what's happening in the Westminster sex pest scandal, because several of the MPs have already openly admitted what they did (including the Tory MP Mark Garnier was actually allowed to keep his ministerial job after laughing off his massively inappropriate treatment of a female employee as if it was all just jolly japes).

Attempting to elicit sympathy for the alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment as if they're the victims is bad enough, but when many of them have actually already admitted their guilt, then it's just downright sick.

Hitchens' next move is the classic whataboutery tactic.

What about "the biggest constitutional crisis in a Century" he whines? And What about the country "wobbling on the precipice of bankruptcy"?

Under these circumstances, Hitchens opines, women who denounce the sexual misdemeanours of senior politicians are ridiculous, and will be "laughed at by future generations".

The obvious problem with Hitchens citing these specific whataboutery issues is that he makes no attempt to explain how the country ended up in such a parlous position. 

He makes no attempt whatever to explain that the "biggest constitutional crisis in a Century" is the absolute shambles the Tory party are making of Brexit, and the economic weakness of the country is a result of seven years of ruinous Tory austerity dogma.

It's way beyond insincere to raise these issues and just ignore the role the Daily Mail have played in all of this. His fellow Daily Mail hacks relentlessly promoted Brexit despite the fact that the Brexiteers had no plan whatever for how they were actually going to manage the transition, and they poured absolute derision on anyone who dared suggest that investment economics makes more long-term economic sense than the Tories' bonkers "let's cut our way to growth" austerity fetishism.

Hitchens then goes on to dig himself even deeper into his hole by pointing out that "Michael Fallon was one of the worst Defence Secretaries in history" in order to lament that Fallon wasn't made to quit because of his incompetence, but because he's not "safe in mixed company".

Again, Hitchens avoids the Daily Mail's role in all of this. In June 2017 Theresa May handed the British people a wonderful chance to remove Michael Fallon as defence secretary, but the Daily Mail churned out a relentlessly pro-Tory propaganda line for the entire General Election campaign which helped him back into office.

The Daily Mail worked tirelessly to convince their readers to keep Michael Fallon as Defence Secretary despite his obvious dishonesty, incompetence and blabber-mouthed lunacy, and now one of their main columnists is whining about the way that he's gone.

Given the Daily Mail's role in keeping this incompetent buffoon in his job, Hitchen's should actually be grateful that the women who succeeded in removing him by denouncing him as a sex pest. Instead of attacking them, Hitchens should actually be thanking them for clearing up another of the Daily Mail's messes.

After making an absolute fool of himself by citing three Daily Mail messes as more serious problems than sexual assault, Hitchens returns to one of his favourite themes; feminist-bashing.

When he says "the suspicion lingers that much of the current fuss is aimed mainly at making all men look wicked and grubby" he's displaying his paranoia.

When a sex pest is denounced as a sex pest (for stuff like groping junior staff and young journalists, sending sexual text messages to a teenager he only has the contact details for because she applied for a job in his office, misogyny, or sexual harassment) I don't find that I empathise with the perpetrator just because I too have a penis. 

I'm actually glad that they've been exposed as the creeps that they are, because I don't behave like that with women, so why should they be allowed to get away with it just because they've got power. wealth and authority?

Hitchens finishes off his article by proposing "the niqab, the burka, and the segregation of the sexes" as a solution, before having one more dig at the victims by implying that they're suffering from insanity for having spoken out.

In the middle of the article Hitchens prophesied that the victims of sexual misconduct would be laughed at by future generations, but my prediction is different: Future generations will be full of derision should they ever come across this display of paranoid, hyperbolic, and intellectually dishonest victim-blaming from a mercenary hack working for a fanatically right-wing publication that actually helped to create the whataboutery problems he cites as being more important than dealing with the allegations of sexual misconduct he's decrying.

Look at his anachronistic views on issues like love, marriage, and equality of the sexes they'll snigger. Look at the way he displays his shockingly compromised integrity and look at the way he uses intellectually dishonest tricks to fool the audience he arrogantly believes to be his inferiors.

What backwards times people lived in, future generations will wonder, that the people of Britain actually accepted such a repulsive blend of arrogance, divisiveness, misogyny, misdirection, victim-blaming and paranoia published by the propaganda arm of the thankfully long-defunct Tory party!

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