Diane Abbott speaks out about abuse and the right-wing media tries to shut her down

Diane Abbott Daily Mail
Support us and go ad-free

On Thursday 14 September, Diane Abbott spoke on Good Morning Britain about the abuse she receives. In describing the abuse, she used some of the actual words that have been directed against her. Elements of the media have used this to manufacture outrage about a racist slur going out on national daytime TV. And in doing so, they have deflected from the real issue – that a person in 2017 is enduring this abuse on a daily basis.

Abuse

Speaking about the abuse, Abbott said:

It’s people calling you a ‘nigger bitch’, threatening acid attacks, it’s rape, death threats.

It’s upsetting for me and it’s upsetting for my staff who have to see all this.

Deflection

Searching for ‘Diane Abbott’ on Google after the interview produced results like these:

These stories presented examples of outrage like the following:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

‘Diane Abbott’ was trending on Twitter, and if you clicked on it you’d see that most people were either supportive of her or abusive. By pulling out the minority of tweets that criticised Abbott without resorting to abuse, news outlets like The Daily Mail were able to write stories that suggest the real “outrage” is something other than racist abuse:

This sort of reporting creates a buffer between the reader and the discussion of racism. It also suggests that speaking out about abuse is equally as bad – if not worse – than the abuse itself.

The Daily Mail does in fact point out that some people were supportive of Abbott, but before you get to that point you see the above headline and tweets, and you are told:

Diane Abbott stunned viewers on Good Morning Britain by saying ‘n****r b***h’ live on TV as she revealed the offensive abuse she received – sparking uproar on social media.

And:

But she provoked fury today as she dropped a controversial expletive, while talking openly about some of the comments she was sent.

And:

Presenter Ms Reid was forced to apologise and appeared to give the politician a dressing down.

And:

Ms Abbott’s choice of words sparked uproar on social media, as viewers took to Twitter to vent their fury.

Media-led bullying

But it’s unsurprising that elements of the media would want to diminish Abbott’s ability to speak out about abuse. Because elements of the media are behind it. Katie Hopkins, who writes for The Mail Online, posted this on 12 September:

And The Sun published this:

Misleading information

There was not a significant backlash against Diane Abbott for speaking out about the abuse she endures. But there has been an attempt to give the impression there was. And this attempt to deflect from the real issue is a sad display of whose side these organisations are on.

Get Involved!

– Read more Canary articles on The Daily Mail.

– You can also support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed