Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Gay Girl In Damascus: Home Thoughts From "A Broad"

"The media’s current focus on the clever nature of the gay-girl hoax (‘it is an elaborate hoax', says a track-covering Guardian), overlooks what is easily the most important dynamic in this story: not MacMaster’s alleged powers of persuasion, but the media’s susceptibility to delusion. However well-written or seemingly authentic MacMaster’s blog was – and as it happens, some Syrians have said it was unconvincing – the fact is that it was just a blog; just a self-started website with various bits of personal writing and nothing to suggest that any of it was accurate or authoritative. Those complaining about being duped, Scooby Doo-style, by the apparent master of disguise that is Tom MacMaster need to have a word with themselves..."
"That serious journalists fell for MacMaster’s fiction speaks to a profound crisis of objectivity in the modern media, and a preference for simplistic moralism over the tough task of reporting..."

Brendan O'Neill, 'Why so many hacks fell for the ‘gay girl in Syria’', Spiked.
This brazenly selective quotation should not be taken as an endorsement of anything else by Brendan O'Neill or Spiked.
Thank you.

There are some other points worth making here, which Fagburn hopes would be as obvious as rain.
The virtual world is full of people who have constructed virtual identities. It's part of its attraction. Is anyone really surprised by this?
The mainstream media love how this story has panned out; "You see, you just can't trust them bloggers..." - neglecting to mention that many of them did trust that blogger, and they failed to check "her" story.
Journalists tell lies for a living - Tom MacMaster only did it as a hobby.
The damage done by the fiction that was the A Gay Girl In Damascus blog pales into insignificance when compared to the systematic lies in the mainstream media, especially when they're delivering wartime propaganda in the service of the state.

• Also can anyone tell me the last time a story about lesbians made the cover of The Guardian's G2?


  1. I have now realised it is impossible to use the phrase "mainstream media" without sounding like a twat.


  2. "Journalists tell lies for a living - Tom MacMaster only did it as a hobby." :)