Two BBC Headlines

(A tale of gamma bias at the BBC)

Two articles from the BBC News website tell us a story about the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). When suffering involves women, gender will be to the foreground. The story may not even be entirely about women, it only has to be a majority for the headline to say women. If the story involves predominantly male suffering the gender of the victims will not be to the foreground.

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The article above came from the BBC news website of the 9th December. It was not clear that it was only, or even mostly, women who were tortured and abused in prison. That is not to say that I am not appalled by the content of the article.

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The second article appeared on the BBC website on the 20th of December. According to the text of the article 40 men had been tortured and then murdered. However, this time, the headline does not mention the gender of the victims.

You might think that the BBC is displaying gamma bias. This bias operates within a matrix of four judgments about gender; doing good (celebration), doing harm (perpetration), receiving good (privilege) and receiving harm (victimhood). For example, acts of heroism performed by men are gender neutralised (fire fighters) or are not reported at all. Conversely, in acts perpetration, male gender is in the foreground. With victimhood, male murder or suicide victims receive much less coverage in the media.

When women are the victims in Myanmar their gender is in the headline when men are the victims you have to read into the text to discover that fact. That’s gamma bias at the BBC for you.

By femgoggles

I was abandoned by my parents in the black mountains and raised by timberwolves. On my return to the 'civilised world' with questionable table manners, I became a detached observer of human behaviour in general and gender relations in particular. This blog is the product of those observations.

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