Using feminist quotes for anti-feminist means

Nothing pisses me off more than reporters misquoting sources to make the point that they want to, and not the truth. Such is the case with this article in today’s Times Online which takes on the recent trend piece about men feeling “emasculated” by women making more money than them.
Reporter Tony Allen-Mills uses quotes from this post to try and make the point that I was actually arguing against.

The main question on Valenti’s website last week was whether the male ego can cope with the potentially emasculating strain of being out-performed and out-spent by the new breed of fast-rising female lawyers, doctors and architects.

Really? News to me. But here’s my favorite deliberate misquoting:

It is a phenomenon that older men have long learnt to deal with – one 2005 study calculated that 8.3m American wives earn more than their husbands. But it appears to be more difficult for men in their twenties to deal with what Valenti described as “their hunter instincts�.

If I ever refer to men’s “hunter instincts” in a non-sarcastic way, you have my full permission to take away my feminist card. What I actually said:

April Beyer says that women should never pay for dates while in the courting process and never ask men out. Cause it would interfere with their hunter instincts or some such shit.

I know I’m being a bit ranty, but is it so much to ask that reporters use quotes accurately? Sigh.

Join the Conversation

  • werechick

    Reporters? Accuracy? What alternate universe are you living in, and where can I get my passport stamped?

  • Taisa-Marie

    I’d inform the author, and her editor, that misquoting and trying to show that misquote as truth is libel. Even taking a quote highly out of context and trying to show they new context as the position of the original author is libel.
    Misquoting and using quotes to represent points that they were not intended to is considered just one step below story fabrication. It is something that because of public figure rules, you can normally get away with if the quotes are from an elected figure AND it is an opinion column. The classification of this article was that of news, and not opinion, so even an elected official would have a case to make.
    I’m not sure how the laws work between Britain and the US on this matter, but this would be a pretty clear cut case in the US for a civil defamation lawsuit.

  • KarenElhyam

    Yeah, I’m actually in an “Ethics in Journalism” class this semester, and what they’re doing is exactly what I’m being taught to avoid. It’s misinformation, and more importantly, it’s betraying a sources trust.
    The really gross thing, though, to me, is how you’re being used as source when I’m pretty sure no one called you or anyone else to confirm, right?
    That’s one of the things the MSM doesn’t get about the blogosphere. It’s still your thoughts, and your ideas. It’s not public domain. If they can confirm with you, they should.
    Grrrr, and people wonder why I feel slightly shameful whenever I tell people my major…

  • Heather Nan

    That is complete bullshit! I agree with Taisa-Marie, perhaps pursing a libel case (any law students in Jessica’s area wanna try to get a project going) would be completely appropriate because this is not a small matter. You know the quote from Marx about religion being the opiate of the people and how it is generally applied? Well, he goes on, in an impassioned and articulate matter, to recognize and honor the people’s use of religion in opposition to the establishment’s abuse of religion for oppressive purposes. So, all that is quoted is that which is used to establish Marx (and thus even Socialist philosophy) as not only Atheistic, but anti-spiritual. This is the mischaracterization that is most well known.
    Before you are most well known for your concern over the “masculine ego’s hunter instincts” let be known that taking your words out of context to justify an anti-feminist world view IS LIBEL.
    Bright Blessings,
    p.s. No offense to my Atheist sistas, I’m not a theist myself (though spiritual), but I thought that the Marx decontextualization the most well known I could think of.

  • Bowleserised

    The Times have some form on doing this kind of thing. See what they did to Girlwithaonetrackmind…

  • UltraMagnus

    As a layman it seems like total and utter bullshit to me Jessica and if there’s anything you can do to get the dumbasses to correct the statement then go for it.

  • 21stCenturyMom

    I don’t know about libel suits but often if a misquoted author sends a letter to the editor explaining the misquote and asking to point out the truth it is printed. I’d go that route, first before threatening to sue for libel. It will give you good press and put you on higher ground.

  • Suzanne

    Did this guy go to the Tucker Carlson School of Responsible Journalism? Furthermore, did he take the team-taught seminar on sourcing with Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera?
    …Jesus H. Christ on a saltine cracker.

  • Cola

    You really can’t let that slide. This is probably a stupid question, but have you contacted the editor?

  • SarahMC

    Tried posting a comment on that article but I don’t think it showed up.

  • Anonymous

    I know I’m being a bit ranty, but is it so much to ask that reporters use quotes accurately?
    Sadly, I think that it may be . . .

  • Anonymous

    Also, this is yet another example of feminists giving men more credit than men actually do. This always amazes me. Men are often perfectly willing to make themselves out to be unevolved cavemen, if only they can find a way around not being assholes. I don’t know much about psychology, but this has to be pretty interesting stuff.

  • Bowleserised

    I saw the title and thought about the Tempest, then realised it was a Sex and the City reference. i.e. they won’t be interested in accuracy or making an apology because it’s just this reporter’s crack at a “”women’s interest”” fluff piece which doesn’t really tell one anything.
    SarahMC – looks like they’ve let some guys defend you in the comments section, but not let you speak for yourself…

  • SarahMC

    OK, so apparently I can’t find the comments. How do you see one? Because when I click on the link there are no comments (only a box for entering them).

  • Bowleserised

    They removed the comments!
    There were two from guys referencing this blog post. And a few hours later they’d been removed.

  • SarahMC

    So are there no comments at all now? How can I see my comment?

  • ponies and rainbows

    They removed the comments!
    There were two from guys referencing this blog post. And a few hours later they’d been removed.

    Well. That’s a little bit shady — seems the NYT doesn’t allow their commenters to point out falsehoods in their stories.

  • ponies and rainbows

    Oh, okay. I just followed the link, and it’s not the NYT. But they’ve been just shitty enough lately that I could see it.

  • bittergradstudent

    It’s a shame. The London Times was so fantastic before Murdoch took it over.