Sunday, 12 February 2017

Sophy Ridge assists Chuka Umunna in effort to slur David Davis

This morning on Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday show Labour's Chuka Umunna was a guest. On the subject of David Davis allegedly trying to give a hug to Diane Abbott and being rebuffed with a curt "fuck off" from the upstanding lady, Sophy Ridge referred to media reports saying that:
In a text to a colleague to say he wouldn't have done it "because I'm not blind".
She then went on to say to Chuka Umunna:
"Now that sounds pretty sexist does it, particularly if it's directed to the first black female MP someone who's suffered from lots of abuse online."
First, how is that in any way sexist, defined as: relating to or characterised by prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex?
Second, what does Diane Abbott being the first black female MP have to do with it and how is that relevant?
Third, how low grade is it that Sophy Ridge's take on journalism is to ask such a blatantly leading question to purposely tee up Umunna to attack Davis and Tories in general, claiming sexism, misogyny and racism when it is clear that Davis did no such thing?

According to Umunna it was appalling and a man allegedly saying about a woman that he wouldn't have tried to hug her "because I'm not blind" has "no place in the Conservative party or British politics full stop". What utter rubbish. Is a woman who says "I'm not blind" when saying why she declined to hug or kiss a man she doesn't find attractive guilty of misandry?

Clearly I must have missed Umunna's similarly forthright condemnation and assertion that there is no place in the Labour party or British politics full stop when Diane Abbott made a clearly racist comment - a genuine offence - tweeting:
"White people love playing 'divide & rule' We should not play their game"
Instead, all Umunna said was:
"Ed Miliband has spoken to her this morning and made it very clear in no uncertain terms that the contents of the tweet were unacceptable."
I've not found Umunna doing anything other than explaining and reiterating what Ed Miliband said. More to the point, where was Sophy Ridge's challenge to Umunna about that evident double standard after she set him up to have a free hit on the Tories? She didn't call him out on his failure to condemn Diane Abbott, who was rightly forced to apologise for her racist comment.

In any case, Davis' alleged comment in a text message was clearly not sexist or misogynist in any way, rather it was about not finding someone appealing. Since when was not finding someone appealing an offence?

What Sophy Ridge did this morning wasn't journalism, it was a deliberate, contrived and cynical attempt to stir a row to generate a headline for the news cycle. This is what the media does, tries to create an argument it can lap up and use to fill news headlines.

Lo and behold, on the Sky News 11.00am news headlines, there were Umunna's comments and accusations being repeated as the second lead news item, after the North Korean missile test, and Sky reporting there are calls for Davis to make a public apology for something that isn't even wrong. Sky even followed up the report with a two-way discussion with their Westminster correspondant about it, elevating imagined offence and manufactured outrage into today's lead political story.

Not finding someone attractive is not sexist, misogynist or an offence. It's a matter of taste. Some men inevitable find Diane Abbott attractive and would like to hug or kiss her. Some men don't. Only a fool would find a wrong in that. Davis, sadly, has since caved in to the witch hunt and made a statement of apology. It is disgraceful. The public is being spoonfed this shit instead of real news and journalism.

I had hoped with her new show Sophy Ridge would bring an incisive and robust interviewing approach to the Sunday morning chat scene, doing more than her counterparts to hold politicians to account using intelligence and evidence. But today demonstrated that Andrew Neil she is not. She's just another of those petty, stirring hacks. The viewing public is being badly let down.

Update: This is what the media manufactured row has now led to...

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