Recently you may well have read about the tragic case of Jay Cheshire, a vulnerable 17 year old boy from Southampton who committed suicide after being accused of rape. His accuser withdrew the allegation after two weeks, but not before Jay had been confronted by the police and had his name forever tarnished by the terrible smear. The story was first reported by the Daily Mail and The Sun, followed by the Mirror, Times, Telegraph and finally the Independent (not to mention all the local press). The story even went international, making the news in countries such as Poland too.
By any standards it’s a hugely notable story, featuring not only the suicide of a school boy, but a dubious rape allegation, its withdrawal and all the various surrounding issues. The coroner’s report makes it clear that the rape allegation was the cause of the suicide and the tragic case prompted a follow up opinion piece in Monday’s Times by Libby Purves and a fascinating call-in show on London’s LBC radio station, where a mother called in to highlight how her family had been destroyed by a preposterous false rape allegation against her 12 year old son.
When it comes to the coverage of this story, it’s unsurprising to see the Guardian sticking out as pretty much the only national newspaper to ignore such a significant story. Most people know by now that this feminist newspaper has nothing but contempt for the countless victims of false rape allegations and the story clearly isn’t compatible with their agenda. However, it’s extremely disturbing to see a supposedly neutral organisation such as the BBC side with the Guardian here, and they too decided to pretend that one of the bigger stories of the day simply didn’t exist!
The more optimistic readers of this blog may be hoping that the BBC’s sheer contempt for those such as Jay Cheshire is a one off and that they’ve otherwise stayed true to their obligation to report such issues fairly but this clearly isn’t the case and the BBC cannot be trusted to report on such a topic fairly in the slightest. Just last year the Guardian newspaper broke the story of another rape allegation suicide, this time of an alleged false rape accuser named Elanor de Freitas. This individual had accused a man of rape after he had ended their relationship. After a huge amount of effort, her alleged victim managed to build such a convincing case against her that the CPS brought charges, a hugely significant event given the authorities happily let the overwhelming majority of false accusers get away with their crimes and it’s clear that at the very least she had questions to answer.
In contrast to the Cheshire suicide, the BBC instantly lapped up the story, blatantly siding with the Guardian’s ridiculously biased narrative and practically cutting and pasting their content from the newspaper. The BBC threw all objectivity out of the window and went as far as turning reality on its head by describing this alleged false rape accuser as the victim, not in the body of an article but in its actual headlines! In response to this, HEqual submitted a number of complaints to the BBC and successfully forced the organisation to retract every single instance of the false headlines on its website (though goodness know how many people were exposed to such a biased narrative before it was taken down).
The problem with the BBC’s reporting of gender issues is that instead of being neutral as it is required to be, time after time it simply has to use the same tired narrative of women as victims and men as aggressors, regardless of the facts of the case. This complete lack of ethics and/or loss of contact with reality extends into all sorts of other areas, for example the BBC’s reports on Gamergate and tech issues or Newsnight’s enthusiastic coverage of the terrible Twitter block-bot. One of the BBC’s worst biases is reporting on the issues of domestic violence and of course I doubt anyone could forget their astonishing and quite blatant and deliberate sabotage of the Justice for Men and Boys election campaign, a scandal that now seems even worse in hindsight given the number of free adverts its’ gives for the Sandy Toksvig and her “Women’s Equality Party”.
Once almost all the UK media had reported the Jay Cheshire case and with the BBC still failing to do so, we go in touch with its senior news management to try to find out exactly what was going on and why it was refusing to do its job and report the news of the day. We received the following statement in response:
You are right to say that we didn’t cover the story . It appears that Mr Cheshire was accused of rape by someone who retracted her claim after two weeks. It was also reported that he had psychological problems for which we had received treatment , and it was alleged at the inquest that the allegation might have caused him to kill himself. He was not charged with rape.
You contrast this case with our reporting of the case of Eleanor de Freitas. In this case Ms de Freitas was charged , and was about go on trial , for making a false allegation of rape against an individual who decided to bring a private prosecution , which was taken over by the Crown Prosecution Service . As the CPS was criticised by Ms de Freitas’ father for pursuing the case even though she was known to be mentally unstable , questions were raised about the appropriateness of this decision .The CPS issued a statement defending its actions.
This case , it seems to me , raised a number of issues around the issue of false allegations of rape , and the extent to which the police and prosecutors might be misled by witnesses. In Ms de Freitas case additionally the wisdom of bringing a prosecution was also debated.
In Mr Cheshire’s case almost none of these factors seem to be in play, other than the situation of individuals subject to a false accusation.
I take issue with your claim that we do not cover gender issues fairly.Could I draw your attention to this edition of The Report on Radio 4 which examined the issue of false allegations in a very considered way , involving a number of cases http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04v5gh7 ?
So the BBC have admitted not covering the story. This clearly wasn’t an accident, they obviously knew about the case and therefore someone at the organisation has clearly taken the editorial decision that Jay Cheshire’s suicide was not worth even a single second of coverage! It’s certainly nice to at least get a reply to our concerns and we thank the BBC for that, but they still use a number of misleading or erroneous arguments.
While the BBC took the position of De Freitas as a rape victim, this was of course the opposite of reality – she was a suspect awaiting trial for very serious charges. The BBC uses the fact that Cheshire was not charged with rape as an excuse for not reporting his story, yet of course he did have dealings with the police. Furthermore, if an innocent person is driven to suicide by rape smears whereas a probable criminal suffers the same fate based on evidence-based charges, then it’s the former that is the more tragic case and thus the more worthy of reporting. The BBC also conveniently ignores that De Freitas was an adult and Cheshire a child, which again typically makes his case more newsworthy of the two. On top of all this, there are plenty more possible angles here, for example we currently have a male suicide epidemic which again makes males being driven to suicide particularly topical at present. We’re not suggesting the BBC should put the story on its front page or lead with it, the point is that it’s clearly worthy of reporting and should have been featured well ahead of all sorts of nonsense they chose to cover in preference. It’s blanket (and biased) coverage of the De Freitas case also causes extra impetus here, as reporting one story and refusing to touch the other clearly leads to an imbalance overall on this issue.
Even the BBC’s defence that they did cover false accusations on Radio 4 shows bias. The text below the segment begins with the statement “A feminist campaign group has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for prosecuting women suspected of making false accusations of rape”, if this raises questions, why is the justification and basis of a piece such a sexist and ridiculous statement which seeks to deny justice to all victims of false rape allegations? Why display this hateful and crazy viewpoint so prominently in the first place, attach such importance to it and give it legitimacy? I mean they’re actually against prosecution female false rape accusers – in other words they honestly think every single woman has the legal right to ruin any man’s life and drive him to suicide whenever they want with zero repercussions!
It’s worth remembering that there are real people behind stories such as Jay Cheshire, and we were reminded of such when we noticed our criticism of the BBC’s refusal to report the case had been re-tweeted by one of his school friends. Just imagine being in a family forced to pay the licence fee only to find out that the most highly resourced and influential news organisation in the country won’t do its job and is so anti-male that it won’t even acknowledge the most tragic of stories about your friend’s death.
The BBC is quite simply a parallel universe when it comes to gender issues. Male domestic violence victims generally don’t exist, it transforms alleged alleged false rape accusers into rape victims, and when a tragic suicide goes against the BBC feminist narrative, well that story never even happened, even if everyone else is talking about it.