Fixed It: Again, this is not what the court heard

The appalling reporting of Tracey Bridgewater’s trial for manslaughter continues. As I posted yesterday, headlines for articles about this trial are minimising and erasing the violence that does not appear to be in dispute at the trial.

Again, Tracey Bridgewater’s trial is ongoing and only the court can determine whether she was acting in self defence. This commentary is not about her guilt or innocence, it is solely and specifically about how evidence presented to courts in these type of cases are typically reported in the media.

This time it’s the Canberra Times, leading with a headline that says Ms Bridgwater’s father was “bitten” before she killed her de factor partner. The “extreme” and violent assaults that left her heart patient father with a fractured eye socket, the assault on her mother and the threats to kill them all and her dogs are erased from the headline and replaced with the least of the assaults against them.

No journalists should be speculating on whether Ms Bridgewater was justified in her actions, this is something only the court can determine. But if journalists are going to report on the case, they should do so accurately. This headline does not do that, it is deeply misleading in its depiction of the evidence presented to the court.

To be clear, the article itself does include all this information and it is very unlikely the journalist who wrote the article also wrote the headline. This doesn’t lessen the impact or effect of the headline, given that many people who see it will not click through to read the entire piece. It contributes to the myth that women are as violent as men (they’re not) and men are as likely to suffer violence in intimate relationships as women (they’re not).

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron


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