Crappy reporting at UD

Okay, Darwinism IS a religion … and a crappy one, too

writes Denyse O’Leary in what goes for – and by – “news” at Uncommon Descent.

There have been truly horrible twitter attacks on Caroline Criada-Perez and Labour MP Stella Creasey for succeeding with their lobby for a female face on the new £10 note, replacing Charles Darwin. But O’Leary, who must be the most incompetent reporter of “news” ever to have a byline, and who seems to do nothing more than google “Darwin” to find items that could be used to smear a perfectly serviceable scientific theory, spins this story as a story about the depths “Darwinists” will sink to in support of their “religion”.

I doubt if any of the misogynist cranks who attacked Criada-Perez and Creasey were “Darwinists” at all.  In fact, if I had to guess, I’d suspect right-wing zealots who think women belong back in the kitchen, and have no business writing novels, let alone having a say in who should be on a bank-note.  But that would be speculation,  not “news”.

Shame on you, Denyse, as a professional woman yourself, to spin a misogynists-are-evil story into a Darwinists-are-evil story. Go find some real battles to fight – there are enough of them.  And try doing some actual reporting instead of spinning.

*growls*

29 thoughts on “Crappy reporting at UD

  1. I don’t necessarily think the poor old thing has “spun” it. I think she just doesn’t understand what’s going on.

    Like when she thought that Dawkins was talking about an actual gene for selfishness in “The Selfish Gene”

  2. It seems like she didn’t even read the article she cited.

    The appalling threats on Twitter aimed at the activist and journalist, Caroline Criado-Perez, who lobbied originally for a woman on a bank note, and the Labour party member, Stella Creasy, who supported the campaign are another example of a reaction that has nothing at all to do with the specific issue at hand. (These threats included lines like “I’m going to pistol whip you over and over until you lose consciousness then burn ur flesh” and “ I will rape you tomorrow at 9pm” and “a bomb was placed in front of your house.”) The 21-year-old and 25-year-old men who have been arrested for these threats on Twitter can’t really have been staunch Charles Darwin defenders or violent Jane Austen haters; they must have been responding more to the idea of a woman saying anything. The minor and banal nature of the bank note controversy is our latest sign that anything at all can trigger the terrifying, free-floating rage adrift on the Internet. If Jane Austen makes people mad, one has to wonder, what doesn’t make people mad?

    If you are going to run a “news desk” that merely passes on googled news items, the least you can do is read them before you pass them on.

  3. I realise it’s a small matter in the great scheme of things, but when I see readers of UD take misreporting like this as gospel truth, and use it to build there case that atheism is evil, well, I guess I get cross.

    And especially cross when a female journalist mistakes a real story about misogyny for a made-up story about atheism.

  4. Ah, I see she hat-tips BA77 for the lead.

    Probably, like the rest of the world, she doesn’t actually read anything BA77 posts or links to.

  5. The majority of Denyse’s entries at UD amount to a spiteful gossip column. She seems determined to foster hatred and division between creationists/IDers and others (including theists who accept evolution) – often by creating scare stories with no foundation like this. How she reconciles this with her Christian morality I don’t understand.

  6. Axel:

    Of course, we know significant things about those characters. We know that they are atheists, since even a nominally Christian rapist or would-be rapist, would not be publicly exhorting others to rape.

  7. She rarely reads her sources fully. Her competence is matched by her integrity.

    Her careers advisor has a lot of explaining to do.

  8. The first time anyone reads BA77 they wonder whether all that irrelevant stuff was mistakenly pasted in. The second comment by BA77 they read is the last one they pay attention to, as they see that this simply what BA77 does, whatever the question under discussion.

    To see why BA77 is tolerated there, just consider how low their bandwidth would be without him.

    I sympathize with Denyse O’Leary in one respect — comments on her here and in related forums descend too easily into misogyny, using catchphrases that imply that her silliness is due to her status as an older woman. I try to avoid that, and just say that her posts are endlessly astonishing. What would we do without her?

  9. There’s no more evidence that the hatred and abuse is largely due to misogyny than it is due to fanatical darwinists. The idea that it was largely due to misogyny is just speculation on the part of the writer.

    The question to ask would be, was their a similar furor when they put a woman’s face on other bank notes? If so, then you’d have a case for general misogyny.

    IMO, most of the furor is probably from two camps; primarily, I think the main problem most have with Austen is that she is politically incorrect – she wrote about love and that marriage was a proper romantic “ending” for a story about a woman – even an “empowered” one, to marry and have a man take care of her. Austen was no feminist, and didn’t engage in any politically correct crusades or activities.

    I think that another large segment of the opposition to her are in fact Darwinists, but not particularly because he is being booted off the bill (although I’m sure they’re not happy about that, and we all know how acerbic and insulting that lot can be), but rather that he is being replaced by someone “less worthy” – I’m sure they would be less hostile to other candidates who were more in line with their political and cultural views.

  10. William J. Murray: There’s no more evidence that the hatred and abuse is largely due to misogyny than it is due to fanatical darwinists. The idea that it was largely due to misogyny is just speculation on the part of the writer.

    Well, yes, there is, William. There was no hate campaign when it was announced that the Darwin notes were to be replaced, only when a feminist succeeded in lobbying for a woman’s face, and Jane Austen was chosen. The content of the abuse made it clear that it was misogynist rant, not a “Darwinist” one, as did the target: not the banker who dropped Darwin, but the feminist who proposed a woman as the replacement.

    The question to ask would be, was their a similar furor when they put a woman’s face on other bank notes? If so, then you’d have a case for general misogyny.

    The last woman (apart from the queen) to appear on an English banknote was Elizabeth Fry in 2002, pre twitter, so, no.

    And this seems to have been a campaign by a small group of misogynist men.

    IMO, most of the furor is probably from two camps; primarily, I think the main problem most have with Austen is that she is politically incorrect – she wrote about love and that marriage was a proper romantic “ending” for a story about a woman – even an “empowered” one, to marry and have a man take care of her. Austen was no feminist, and didn’t engage in any politically correct crusades or activities.

    There is no evidence for this at all. All the evidence is that the abuse came from a small group of misogynist men who resented the campaign by a feminist (who was targeted) to have a woman on a bank note to replace Elizabeth Fry, who was being retired from the five pound note. There is absolutely no reason to think that the campaign was anything to do with Darwin whatsoever.

    I think that another large segment of the opposition to her are in fact Darwinists, but not particularly because he is being booted off the bill (although I’m sure they’re not happy about that, and we all know how acerbic and insulting that lot can be), but rather that he is being replaced by someone “less worthy” – I’m sure they would be less hostile to other candidates who were more in line with their political and cultural views.

    Except that you have no basis for this conclusion. You, and Denyse, simply got the wrong end of the stick. We’ve known for years that Darwin would be replaced – no fuss. It’s the replacement, and those who proposed a female replacement, that has angered a very small group of very ugly men.

  11. William J. Murray:
    There’s no more evidence that the hatred and abuse is largely due to misogyny than it is due to fanatical darwinists.

    This is how out of touch with reality the people of UD are. They fail to recognise explicit misogyny and imagine there really could be fanatical fans of a 19th century naturalist incensed to the point of abuse.

    William probably thinks people in the UK part company with the words “Darwin bless you.”

    The reason there was a furore over the decision, and not when other women appeared on the notes, is that a feminist campaign headed by a woman sought to alter the decision of an institutional authority.

    Also, twitter makes it easy to toss off a line of abuse.

    “It’s infuriating that the price you pay for standing up for women is 24 hours of rape threats.”
    Caroline Criado-Perez

    Threats of rape to a woman by a man are misogyny. There was no mention of abusive tweets championing the original Chuck D. No-one was arrested for that.

  12. Joe Felsenstein:

    I sympathize with Denyse O’Leary in one respect — comments on her here and in related forums descend too easily into misogyny, using catchphrases that imply that her silliness is due to her status as an older woman

    I agree. I guess that was why this particular garbling made me so cross.

    As a fellow older woman.

  13. This is the defining jewel in the selection of shinning gems that is UD for me. A classic moment.

  14. olegt: It sums up Denyse as a journalist.

    O’Leary’s complaint about “legacy media,” as she calls it, is that mainstream journalists have standards. Too bad she’s Canadian and not American — in the States, she could get a job working for Fox News.

  15. What do you expect from a site that allows someone like Salvador Cardoza to alter and delete posts at will, with no justification?

  16. I’m pretty sure it’s the WordPress software that allows it. In order for Salvador to be able to post, he has been given author rights. And an author has the ability to edit and delete comments on the threads that he has created.

  17. Mung has gone rogue!

    I beg to differ. I argue that Salvador Cardoza has gone rogue.

    My question is, why do those who have granted him this power tolerate it’s abuse?

    Of course, I also have to ask how he justifies what he is doing given his claims to be a Christian. “Turn the other cheek” must be for those stupid atheists.

  18. UD has always allowed mods and authors to modify other people’s posts, and they wrote their own software. Not only allowed it, but reveled in it.

  19. So Mung, where was all this moral outrage hiding when the hundred or so pro-science posters at UD had their posts deleted or were outright banned?

    Little bit different when it’s you who’s being censored, eh?

  20. Its funny to see darwin dumped by a girl.
    Darwin in his DEscent book insisted women were intellectually biologically inferior to men. They could only overcome this by selective breeding that might change their brains etc etc. Lamarck style.
    If its a purpose to have a woman then that is the interfering prejudice.
    They are the ones prohibiting a particular person because of sex identity. they are the thieves. The sexists as they call them.
    It should be on merit and not sexual selection.
    It denies the men their natural rights and suggests these feminists aere not for equality but to advance their tribe under false pretences.
    A immoral and illegal thing.
    if a guy gets the boot however who better then chuck.?!

  21. I argue that Salvador Cardoza has gone rogue.

    I personally find Sal has been pretty consistent over the years that I have followed his fortunes. I too find mung’s displeasure at uneven moderation somewhat selective.

  22. Mung: I argue that Salvador Cardoza has gone rogue.

    My question is, why do those who have granted him this power tolerate it’s abuse?

    Good question. I suggest this good question would be more profitably aimed at “those who have granted him this power”, as opposed to people over here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.