PR-lying your way to congress: Katherine Clark piece headline references retracted report

As the old saying goes, there are three kinds of lies. Lies, damned lies, and statistics. In the Glamour piece about Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the lie appears already in the headline: "Women Are 27 Times More Likely to Be Harassed Online—and Congresswoman Katherine Clark Is Fighting Back."

Where does that "27 times more likely" number come from?

And according to a 2015 report from the United Nations Broadband Commission, women are 27 times more likely than men to face harassment online.

That report, still available here, was retracted shortly after, because it was - as described by NY Mag - "mess of countless bulleted and numbered lists that include items seemingly plucked at random, grammatical errors, and bureaucrat-ese." It's not a proper report at all, and it seems to have been written by someone who is still a student at an American College.

Some sentences even lack internal consistency: “In Europe,” one bullet point notes, “sport has been used as a vehicle to engage youth and change entrenched attitudes on gender equality in a number of countries including Tajikistan, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.” Two of those three countries are in Asia — Georgia’s in between.

Among the many wrongs of that report are the 30% of dead source links in it, several linking directly to sources residing on the researchers own C-drive.

"This is an uninformed, misguided and unfortunate report. If the overall issue was not so serious, it would be laughable that the U.N. is citing this work. It is willful ignorance to utilize such incredibly outlandish and outdated data," said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA in this press release.

"ESA strongly supports empowering women and minorities and creating an inclusive digital environment that welcomes all perspectives. However, the U.N. does this important issue a great disservice and undercuts its credibility by spreading ridiculous stereotypes and false opinions."

The report was in fact so bad, that the UN withdrew the report, and even apologised for the poorly sourced material. Meanwhile The Pew research center reports on online harassment shows that men and women experience different kinds of online harassment, with men somewhat more likely than women to experience online harrasment.

But when you're selling a Congresswoman, spin not accuracy, is key. Packaging her politics as a crusade against an issue that doesn't actually exist, Katherine Clark ensures that magazines like Glamour will interview her. All she has to do is tailgate on Trumps most recently discussed tweet. Trump's controversial Twitter account has blocked countless people, which lawyers representing these people argue violated these users constitutional rights. That sounds very similar to the argument we have in Sweden, where the Sweden account is run by a government entity, and blocking citizens from interacting with it, and labelling the people blocked "Nazis" violates our grundlag. Congresswoman Katherine Clark believes the Mika Brzezinski -tweets was a disgraceful instance of cyberbullying coming straight out of the White House.

"When the President uses his Twitter account to make comments like he did—and this is certainly not the first time that he has done this—he not only reinforces a message of misogyny, but it sends the far more dangerous message that this is somehow normal and acceptable behavior because it's coming from the Oval Office," Clark told Glamour. "He made a vow that he would be the President for all Americans. When he continues to spread this kind of hateful language about women, it is offensive and degrading. We cannot let this be seen as normal behavior for anybody, never mind the leader of the free world."

Clark believes that Trump's jab at host Mika Brzezinski focused on her physical appearance. One could argue that it focuses on her vanity because he pointed out she had a "bleeding" facelift. Even Trump's choice of blood descriptor caused countless articles, including this one at the Atlantic, which discusses the words symbolism at length. Say what you want about Trump as President of the United states, he's giving journalists countless things to write articles about using his Twitter as a distraction from what's actually happening in the world, which used to be reported on. Those were the days.... Back then a politician might focus on real issues, rather than tweets, but today she wouldn't be interviewed by Glamour magazine if she did. In that sense, Clark is just like those Twitter acconts that argue with @TheRealDonaldTrump's every tweet, she's ansuring that she will be seen by latching on to what he's saying.

I wonder at what point will the world realize that he's setting the agenda of what we talk about, every day, with his tweets?

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (1)

  • jon's picture
    jon (not verified)

    Leave my scrollbar alone!

    Jul 02, 2017

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