The mainstream media’s target audience today is mainly female, as can be seen from the home page of Britain’s most popular newspaper, the Daily Mail, which one day in March 2023 had links to stories such as “Paris Hilton is preened to perfection in a pink maxi dress and hair bow”, “Do you know the importance of nutrition during the menopause?” and “How filthy is YOUR phone?”
But women’s interests extend beyond celebrity gossip, their bodies and cleaning, and the media will play on any aspect of their nature. Here we will look at three articles that exploited women’s interest in children and specifically the ease with which they can be made to feel sorry for young people of other races. The aim of the first article was to create support for a proposed reform of Britain’s Gender Recognition Act. The aim of the second was to get women to take an indulgent view of black drug dealers. The third article aimed to get women to support a government spending plan. Let us go though the articles tracking their intended effects on the sort of person they were aimed at, whom we will call Sarah.
1. Creating support for a change to the Gender Recognition Act
In July 2017 the UK government announced that it proposed to reform the Gender Recognition Act to speed up the process of legally changing one’s gender. One proposal was to drop the requirement for applicants to have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Removing this would help to build an “inclusive society”. A public consultation would start the following year.
Two months before the consultation started, the BBC put out an article supporting the proposed reform, namely “Chile transgender: ‘Growing up here is torture’”, about a Chilean woman who was raising her son as a girl. The article also promoted transgenderism itself and sought to advance the rest of the cultural revolution by portraying everything traditional as bad and its opposite as good.
It began by quoting the boy’s mother, Jacqueline, saying that she lived in a rough neighbourhood. There were drug dealers in their building. But when she told them that her son Vicente was going to start dressing as a girl and that she hoped they would support them, they were “fantastic”. They congratulated her on her courage and never gave her or Vicente, now Sofia, any problems. “That’s nice!”, thinks Sarah. “Drug dealers can’t all be bad.”
But Chile was “socially conservative”, said the article, and transgender people who wanted to change their name had to go through an application process that could take years. “That’s a shame”, thinks Sarah. “The process should be speeded up”. The article continued: “Transgender rights groups say it is a humiliating process, which involves getting reports from psychologists and psychiatrists, and stripping off to have naked photos taken to show what sex they are”. “This is wrong”, thinks Sarah. “Why should they have to go through all that just to change their name?”
A Gender Identity bill, which would allow “trans people” to change their names, was being discussed by the Chilean congress. It would make changing your sex and name a quick process that could be done at a registry office. Sarah doesn’t see that the subject has quietly slipped from changing your name to changing your sex as well.
Next she reads that transgender activists “want children as young as 14 to be allowed to change their name with the consent of both parents and the support of psychologists”. Are we back to the subject of name-changing or is this now short for changing one’s name and one’s sex? Sarah doesn’t ask but supports Jacqueline, who “argues it should be even lower, from age 10”. What is Jacqueline’s “argument”? “Growing up here is torture for them”, she says, meaning for transgender children. Sarah doesn’t like the idea of children being tortured and so her support for Jacqueline increases. Jacqueline explains how from an early age Vicente wanted to be a girl. He hated his first school, where the other boys ostracised him because he didn’t like football and wanted to play with dolls. As soon as he could walk, he started putting on his sister’s clothes, she says. “If he wants to be a girl, let him be a girl!”, thinks Sarah vaguely.
Jacqueline and her husband saw a documentary about trans children and took Vicente to see “a number of psychologists who eventually confirmed she [sic] was transgender”, at which they decided that “for her happiness, she should live as a girl”. “These are loving parents, only concerned about their son’s — I mean their daughter’s — happiness”, Sarah thinks.
But not everyone was understanding. When Jacqueline took Sofia to the health centre, the doctor said: “What is this: a boy or a girl?” Jacqueline replied: “She’s a girl!” The doctor looked at the patient’s ID card and said: “But it says he’s a boy!” Jacqueline told him: “Please don’t ever say that in front of her again!”, at which the doctor looked her as if she was mad and replied: “As you like” in a sarcastic tone of voice. “Couldn’t the doctor have been a bit more sympathetic?”, thinks Sarah. “Wasn’t it obvious that Vicente was a girl?”
Parents like Jacqueline want to save their children from having to go through such experiences, says the article, and are trying to help people understand why the issue is so important. Sarah doesn’t need to be told why the issue is important; she only needs to see that the BBC thinks it is.
But the article says that conservative politicians and religious groups are fighting against the bill. Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, head of Chile’s Catholic Church, doesn’t think children should be able to legally change their name and sex, nor does he think that changing one’s name can affect one’s sex. “His comments caused outrage”, says the article, “but there is still a section of Chilean society that supports him.” “Still a section that supports him?”, thinks Sarah. “How out of date those Chileans are!”
Jacqueline moved Sofía from a strict Catholic school to one that was “more supportive”. She didn’t tell the children at the new school or their parents that “Sofía” was really a boy, so that “she” wouldn’t be picked on. Sarah agrees that small deceptions are needed from time to time.
The article ends: “Jacqueline and others from the transgender community hope Chile’s laws will change so that Sofía and others like her can get on with enjoying their lives”. “Let’s hope that Britain’s laws change too so that our children can enjoy their lives”, Sarah thinks. She now supports the government’s proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act.
To us the propaganda seems crass, classing everyone as a goodie or a baddie. Every deviant is good, like the drug dealers, the activists and rest of the “transgender community”; every authority figure or voice of tradition is bad, namely the “socially conservative” Chileans, their “conservative politicians”, the unsympathetic doctor, “religious groups” like the Catholic church, and the “strict Catholic school”. Psychiatrists are in between: bad in that they were reluctant to say that Vicente was transgender; good in that they eventually did so. But the fact that all she has consumed is propaganda flies straight part Sarah, who thinks she has read a news item.
2. Inducing sympathy for black drug dealers
In the next example, the Daily Telegraph provides an object lesson in how to make women feel sorry for black criminals. Under the headline “Jaden Moodie: The little boy with dreams who ended up playing gangster” comes a photo of an angelic-looking black child of about nine.4 Sarah wants to give him a hug. But he died. What happened?
According to the article, it took just fourteen seconds for a gang of drug dealers to drive their stolen Mercedes at Jaden Moodie, knock him off his moped and jump out to stab him nine times before speeding off. “Jaden didn’t stand a chance.” Sarah thinks: “What a waste of a young life! Why did those terrible drug dealers kill a defenceless little boy?”
She reads on to learn that when the boy was killed, his “life was in many senses already slipping away. He had become embroiled in a local gang … driving around east London on a moped selling drugs to willing users.” So he was a drug dealer himself, and if he was riding a moped he probably wasn’t nine. It turns out that when he was killed he was fourteen. But he didn’t push drugs; he sold them to “willing users”, so Sarah still pities him. The gang that killed him was bad; the one he belonged to had “embroiled” him.
Shortly before his death, Jaden, who had dreamed of being a boxer or a fashion designer, had been excluded from school. We are not told why but are told that he had posted pictures of himself on social media in gangland poses. This is beginning to sound like a typical young black man of the criminal variety, thinks the critical reader, but Sarah, looking at the picture of the nine-year-old, still feels sorry for him. First excluded from school, then murdered!
The article describes Jaden’s father as a convicted dealer in crack cocaine and heroin, who is addicted to drugs himself, but, he told the Crown Court, the only reason he sold drugs was to feed his children, which the judge accepted. Sentencing him to three and a half years, he told him, or she told him: “You were not dealing to fund your habit; you were dealing to earn a living”. But the judge added: “Other families manage to live on benefits”. Jaden’s father had to go to prison because he did not subsist on benefits like a respectable citizen. According to the article, he was “left devastated” by the murder. “Of course he was!”, thinks Sarah.
But it wasn’t just Jaden and his father who had suffered; so had the only member of the murdering gang to have been convicted, Ayoub Majdouline. Eighteen at the time of the crime, this person had “also had a troubling family life”.The Telegraph is not so ambitious as to seek as much sympathy for Ayoub Majdouline as for his victim and says: “There will be far less sympathy for such a vicious, cold-blooded killer but in many ways like his victim he also never stood a chance”. Ayoub Majdouline’s life had also been “wrecked by drugs”. His father was murdered during a drug deal. “Struggling with a troubled up-bringing”, the boy had turned to drug-dealing himself. Why? To survive, so the court heard during his trial. When he took part in the killing he had already served time for carrying drugs and knives, but when released he “had always gone straight back to dealing”.
Sarah feels the recommended amounts of sympathy: a lot for Jaden Moodie but still some for his killer, for how can a black person be expected to survive unless he deals in drugs? Tell her a story about white drug-dealing children and their drug-dealing fathers and it might be a different matter.
Now we learn a little more about the dead boy. At thirteen he was given a conditional caution after being found carrying a pistol, a knife and cannabis. A few months later he was found with crack cocaine, shortly after which he pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm after putting a video of himself with it on Snapchat. But his aunt said that his family, which “radiated love”, had “battled to keep him safe”. Safe from what, the Telegraph does not explain. His family had recently sent him to Jamaica “to spend the summer with his dad”. They remain distraught at the death of Jaden, says the Telegraph, who “was at heart a little boy who had pretended to be a gangster”. Sarah feels nothing but sympathy for the poor boy and his grieving family.
3. Creating support for public money to be spent on immigrants
A 600-word article from BBC News, which turned out to be about a government decision regarding the allocation of public funds, mentioned the decision only in its final paragraph. Almost everything that came before this was presented as documentary material about the plight of a family of Pakistanis, which might have persuaded Sarah to support the government’s decision. Put another way, had the BBC’s concern been solely with news, it would have needed to publish only the article’s last sentence, containing seventeen words. This 1-to-35 ratio of news to propaganda is fairly typical of the BBC.
The article, headlined “Overcrowding: School doesn’t understand why I fall asleep in class”, contained a photograph of a family of five, the tallest being a male teenager named Ridwan. The text began by saying that during lockdown Ridwan, now sixteen, grew from five foot five to six foot one and was now too tall for his bed. Since the room couldn’t take a bigger one, he now slept on the sofa. “I barely get six hours’ sleep”, he was quoted as saying. “The school don’t understand. I fall asleep in classes but if I fall asleep on three occasions, I get suspended.” Sarah is scandalised. “Poor things! We have plenty of room but they don’t. The school should make allowances.”
Showing that Ridwan and his family, the Hossains, are not alone, the article states that an estimated two million children in England live in unsuitable or overcrowded accommodation. Ridwan’s younger sisters share a double bed. “The house is chaotic and crowded”, says their mother, “and Ridwan is always complaining that he never gets the bed.”
It doesn’t occur to Sarah that someone of any height can sleep in a normal bed if they don’t mind their feet sticking out, or they can bend their knees. Instead she is appalled by the thought of two million children living in overcrowded accommodation. Nor does it occur to her that there is no reason why living in overcrowded accommodation should stop a child doing well at school. Until not very long ago, almost everyone lived in overcrowded accommodation; it didn’t stop children showing their talent. I have an Irish friend who as a boy shared a bed with one of his three brothers in one room while his sisters slept in another. He is about the most successful and well-adjusted person you could meet. But Sarah doesn’t like the difference between her family’s circumstances and those of the Hossains.
The BBC tells us that the Hossains have been trying to move for nine years. Why haven’t they moved? No one has given them a bigger house. For the BBC and the Hossains, one gets a house by being given it. Every Wednesday, “mum Husnara” looks at Westminster council’s housing register to see if a bigger house has become available, but she has never got anything. “All these new houses keep being built but where are they going? Who’s getting them?”, she asks. Sarah is outraged to think that Westminster council hasn’t given Husnara a bigger house. Her husband has always given her what she wants: why doesn’t Westminster give Husnara what she wants?
But the BBC informs us that, adding to the stress, “dad Mohammed”, a taxi driver, had a heart attack recently and can no longer work. He is recovering, but living in a stressful and cramped home doesn’t help. Thinks Sarah: “Of course it doesn’t! Someone must do something for these poor people, who are not only cramped but stressed!” The BBC’s use of the terms “mum Husnara” and “dad Mohammed” makes Sarah think of the Hossains as familiar, nor will she ever see how her mind is being shaped by its journalists to make her feel indignant if everything is not done for everyone by the state.
The article says that the family even considered moving from London to West Yorkshire when Husnara found a family willing to swap houses. Ridwan was keen on the idea: “I know it’s 200 miles away, but I just couldn’t keep lying in that little bed”. “Even West Yorkshire!” thinks Sarah, without realising that in West Yorkshire the Hossains would be among more of their kind than they are in London. West Yorkshire would be like Pakistan for them but with state benefits. She can only think of poor Ridwan and his “little bed”.
But the swap fell through, leaving the family with no options, says Husnara, who is quoted referring to the stress the family is under. Sarah’s heart goes out to them.
Now the BBC brings in the opinion of the National Housing Federation, which came up with the figure of two million children living in unsuitable or overcrowded accommodation. More than half of these, says the federation, live in cramped conditions, which could have a detrimental impact on their health and development, causing anxiety and depression. “Detrimental impact on their health and development? Anxiety and depression? We can’t have that!”, thinks Sarah.
The article goes on to give statistics, which Sarah skips, then says: “Our children are fast becoming the biggest victims of a broken housing market”. Accepting the implication that Pakistani children are ours, Sarah is appalled to think of them becoming victims.
The BBC quotes the National Housing Federation’s chief executive: “It is nothing short of tragic that so many children are forced to live in cramped conditions […] By not providing homes these families can afford to live in, we are depriving millions of children of a decent chance in life.” Sarah agrees: nothing short of tragic. We are depriving children like Ridwan of a decent chance in life by not providing them with bigger homes than those with which we have already provided them. How could we be so cruel?
Finally the article comes to the news, ending: “The government has pledged £11.5bn investment in affordable homes over the next five years”. Sarah is relieved to think that children will no longer be deprived. At no point has she asked herself how wise it is of us to take in immigrants at the rate of half a million a year, thereby creating a housing crisis which the general public must pay to solve. Instead she thinks: “Praise be to the government for making everything all right!”
Like any writers, journalists take care to understand the psychology of their target audience. Those working for the mainstream media know all about women’s motherly nature, egalitarianism and emotionalism and leniency. They know all about their lack of critical thinking and gullibility. We see the cynicism with which they exploit these traits every day, regardless of the agenda they are intending to advance. These were just three examples.