Sam Dylan Finch 🍓 @samdylanfinch Mental health & chronic conditions @Healthline. 🌱 Very earnest, very gay nerd. 🌈♿ Apr. 12, 2019 3 min read

Hello, I'm a journalist. Since whoever is behind @Openly clearly isn't, let me explain a few things to you.

Opinion pieces still need to have journalistic integrity in order to be considered an "impartial news platform."

But this entire opinion piece hinges on research that the author herself admits is completely biased to paint transgender women as sexual predators.

Direct quote:

This is not research. This is an online survey that fronts, at a glance, as being representative of lesbians more broadly when, in reality, it was 80 women in the author's own personal network, scapegoating trans women as the source of harassment they faced online.

Sending out a questionaire to women who identify as TERFs to prove there is a sweeping phenomenon of transgender women advocating for sexual violence against "lesbians" is not in any way scientific.

It's not a credible source. it hasn't even been vetted. It's self-published.

So what we have is a self-published survey of TERFs slinging accusations against transgender women. And that survey is used to then write an ""opinion piece"" about lesbians, as a whole, being targeted for sexual violence.


So, @Openly, let's review your excuse for publishing this, yeah? Because no legitimate journalistic platform would publish something this entrenched in bias that lacks any credible sources, and speaks of its singular source in a way that is simply untruthful.

This wasn't research with "findings." This was violent rhetoric masquerading as research.

I can send out a google form to everyone on a particular forum to "prove" any point I'd like. That doesn't make it research. That doesn't make it credible.

You're either a legitimate publishing platform that has the same journalistic standards as any other legitimate platform, or you're a blog and a free-for-all. Which is it?

If the latter is the case and this is an open forum, you have no business suggesting you are "impartial" and that what you offer to your readers is "news." That is a blatant lie.

Impartiality demands RIGOROUS protection of credible and balanced sourcing. You have neither.

It says that @Openly is funded by @TRF. That's interesting to me. "The Reuters Foundation is created to advance and promote the highest standards in journalism worldwide through media training and humanitarian reporting."

These are the highest standards?

Here's what a journalist does, since Openly is confused. I did some digging into @TRF's own guidelines around sourcing.

What an interesting discovery to make! This piece doesn't even comply with their own guidelines.

An opinion piece should still have credible sourcing.
An opinion piece should still not deliberately mislead readers by making sweeping claims that don't reflect the source.

This isn't an opinion piece, @Openly. Maybe brush up a little here: 

Here's my honest, no holds barred OPINION on this article that they published: It's cowardice. Utter cowardice.

They are deliberately misleading their audiences on the basis of a survey, and betraying reader trust in the process. Shame on @Openly and shame on @TRF.

Myths around the supposed "predatory nature" of transgender women is what leads to violence against them. For a platform that claims impartiality and a dedication to human rights, you've failed spectacularly in standing by either one.

Those guidelines adamantly state that "reporting rumors" would be a violation of their standards, and that accuracy means "reflecting reality." Really?

A composite survey among a fringe group regarding harassment — a survey which is literally built on the assumption that they know the identities of their harassers and that their claims regarding the nature of it is truthful — is the definition of reporting a rumor.

And as this is 80 women from such a group, presenting this article as though it speaks to the experience of lesbians more broadly, and that it speaks to a form of violence coming from transgender women, does NOT REFLECT REALITY.

Your words, @TRF, not mine:

If there's any lack of clarity around next steps, let me help. TRF has advice for that, too!

"We do get it wrong, and it is important for our reputation to fix it [and respond] promptly and properly to complaints that we have not been accurate, balanced or ethical."

So, @Openly, @TRF?

I'm looking forward to your prompt response below.

You can follow @samdylanfinch.


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