From Julia Gillard to Hillary Clinton: online abuse of politicians around the world … Analysis of abuse of politicians in the US, UK and Australia sheds light on a problem often dismissed as par for the course. Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard (left) and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have both been subjected to online abuse. -Guardian
The Guardian newspaper has reported on a survey by a Brisbane-based social media company, Max Kelsen, that shows both Julia Gillard and Hillary Clinton are recipients of major online abuse.
The newspaper also cautions that public figures are generally subject to more abuse than ever before.
US Clinton received abusive tweets at a rate almost twice that of Sanders. Of 4.27m tweets mentioning Clinton, 2.08% were found to be abusive, compared to 1.12% of 3m tweets mentioning Sanders.
Three-quarters of the abuse of either candidate was by men. Abuse of Clinton ramped up in recent weeks as her selection as the Democratic presidential candidate became more of a certainty.
… Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard also received about twice as much abuse as Kevin Rudd, who she deposed as prime minister before he returned to depose her.
The article seems to be part of a larger editorial series entitled , “The Web We Want.” The Guardian shared information about the program in mid-March as follows:
As most people — and most women on Twitter — know, the Internet can be an ugly and abusive place. The Guardian, which receives more than 50,000 reader comments a day, is taking steps to help change that with “The Web We Want.”
… For the great bulk of our readers, and — yes — to respect the wellbeing of our staff too, we need to take a more proactive stance on what kind of material appears on the Guardian.”
A website named “OffGuardian,” apparently composed of disgruntled readers, reported on the program as follows:
“The web we want”? No, don’t think so…
The “we” in this sense is purely a gesture, or a rhetorical flourish toward democracy. The discussion that follows is neither democratic nor diverse. There are no shades of opinion on offer. No debates between those with different views on what the Web should be.
Oh sure, the different writers, persuaded or coerced into offering their variously begrudging support to this new campaign might notionally come from different backgrounds or ideologies, but their articles are – so far – diverse only in tone.
They are all almost identical in message. All hit the same few, eerily repetitive, talking points: 1. Freedom of speech is actually elitist 2. An unregulated internet will discriminate against women and minorities 3. Free speech should maybe not include “abuse”.
The Guardian seems to take the position that politicians like Hillary and Gillard are at least in part subjected to excess abuse because of their gender.
More likely, the Guardian, as OffGuardian suggests, is trying to justify sociopolitical censorship by leveraging claims that offensive comments aimed at minorities and women are commonplace.
In fact, both politicians are exceptionally controversial.
Just yesterday we offered a selected list of Hillary’s SCANDALS, which allegedly ranged from stealing White House Furniture to murdering Vince Foster.
In a series of articles, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on the Rise and Fall of Julia Gillard. It sorted through a variety of problems that Gillard had as Australian Prime Minister and lays much of the blame on her own management style and policies.
Perhaps the most costly blunder was breaking her word on implementing a carbon tax.
Gillard had promised before the election that “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”, but the price of the alliance with the Greens was that there would indeed have to be a carbon tax. This broken promise was one of the greatest problems for the Gillard government …
Conclusion: Of course discrimination exists and does affect women and minorities, among other select groups. But sometimes even the most raucous or punishing commentary may be rooted in the target’s own behavior. In this day and age that is certainly not politically correct to suggest.