Posted on | January 17, 2014 | 8 Comments
In the bad old days of the Cold War, those Americans sympathetic to Moscow could purchase clumsy Kremlin propaganda at various radical bookstores, stocked with glossy magazines and turgid tracts about collective farms and Stakhanovite iron output. . . . But the spread of capitalist technology has greatly benefited state-run propaganda, allowing them to reach the stupid and credulous with much greater efficiency, but with a predictable lack of nuance.
And there is something addictive about television stations like RT, the Kremlin-owned conspiracy mill that has collected 1.2 billion YouTube clicks, and PressTV, the Iranian-government sponsored television network that investigates Jewish conspiracies. . . .
One would assume that greater visibility of female political leaders would encourage women to run for office. But given the added — and many times uncalled-for — media scrutiny female political leaders face, women often see them as examples of why not to seek candidacy. A recent survey conducted by the University of Adelaide and YWCA reveals that Australian women are more hesitant to run for office after Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s run-ins with bad press. According to the survey, 8 out of 10 women over the age of 31 are less likely to pursue a career in politics while 57 percent of women between 18 and 21 years old felt discouraged by the press surrounding Ms. Gillard.
Julia Gillard had “run-ins with bad press”? And this is different from male politicians . . . how? For that matter, Margaret Thatcher was thoroughly hated by the left-wing press in her day and, more recently, Sarah Palin was savaged by the press.
If you want to know when things went wrong for Gillard, look back to October 2012. The opposition leader, Tony Abbott, called for the ouster of the Speaker, Peter Slipper, after the latter — a Gillard ally — had gotten tangled up in a sexual harassment scandal. This would further erode the thin margin of Gillard’s parliamentary majority, and Gillard responded with what became known as The Misogyny Speech, arguing that Abbott’s own history of sexism disqualified him to criticize Slipper. Her speech was widely celebrated by feminists, but Gillard looked both desperate and hypocritical:
“The moment Gillard rose to defend Slipper and keep him in office, she chose to defend the indefensible, to excuse the inexcusable. The government had spent a month vilifying Tony Abbott for having ‘a problem with women’. But when one of the bulwarks of the government was exposed as having a problem with women, it was suddenly acceptable.”
Gillard never recovered from that, and Abbott became Prime Minister when his party scored a decisive victory last September. From this, the lesson feminists want to teach is that Gillard “had run-ins with bad press” and “media scrutiny” is bad for women?
It’s not just Russia and Iran that peddle conspiratorial propaganda. Our own media are crammed full of the stuff.