Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Thou shall not suffer a witch to live - even when she's innocent

The acquittal of Rebekah Brooks:

Mrs Brooks was found not guilty of four charges including conspiring to hack phones, making corrupt payments to public officials and conspiring with others to conceal evidence from police.

This is the last sentence of a hatchet job on Rebekah Brooks in the Daily Mail. A litany of Rebekah's sins and failings (the greatest being that she rose to success in Rupert Murdoch's evil empire) that begins with that classic of the tabloid genre:

Rebekah, the world class schmoozer who bewitched three Prime Ministers... and Rupert Murdoch.

Mrs Brooks didn't rise to success because she was talented, capable, delivered what worked and sold newspapers. No, she succeeded because she used her witchy woman wiles to control the men around her and her glamour ensnared three prime ministers. The Mail - which had clearly prepared the article well ahead of the verdict in Mrs Brooks' trial (a verdict the paper, I suspect, was disappointed about) - even found someone who was at primary school with her to pass comment. As if the bitchiness of a ten-year-old's "best friend" is a guide to the grown up woman's character.

And before you get the idea that this is merely your typical Daily Mail sexism - here's a man writing in the Guardian:

She is brilliant with men, charming, tactile, very nearly seductive. One man who dealt with her often – a man who is happily married and 20 years her senior – recalls with some embarrassment that “whenever we spoke, she left me thinking that, well, if things had been a little bit different [a sigh] perhaps we would have been together”.

You see folks - Rebekah got to be the boss because she was sexy and flirtatious, nothing to do with whether or not she was actually good at her job.  To bemused journalists Mrs Brooks is unexplainable - the working-class origins, the unashamed sexiness, the frightening red hair - she must be a witch casting her enchantments on the men around her, manipulating them up to her tower and offering them the world. Before moving on to the next, and more powerful, person.

The failure to kill the witch this time (and we know how much the left love to apply the word witch to successful women) clearly disappoints many who were already building the great fire on which the evil enchantress was to be burned. Even the Telegraph was disappointed that the 'Wicked Witch' turned out not to be so wicked after all.

Whatever we think of the Murdoch empire, the manner in which Mrs Brooks is described is appalling. We don't see her pained as a successful, high-achieving woman but as a manipulative and exploitative witch - someone with a dark side whose rise to fame came from enchantment rather than from being good at the jobs she was given.

So these journalists, commentators and knowing media folk cannot suffer a witch to live - innocent or not. Especially when she works for Rupert Murdoch.

Me, I like witches.


1 comment:

singapore sling said...

So some namby-pamby judge let her off, because the laws are soft. She must have done it though. No smoke without fire. I read it in the News of the World.