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Aug 9, 2018 21 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I want to take a moment to talk as a journalist about the things that interfere with my ability to report. And, while with escalating authoritarianism we have to be wary of direct interference, there are softer methods of censoring that still work wonders.

A thread:
I am not a full time freelance journalist yet. I still have a day job. Most of you who followed for my journalism will see I haven't produced anything besides an op-ed in some time. There are a few reasons for that.
One, I had my stint in the hospital back in April, and even though I was discharged two weeks later I still had a lengthy convalescence during which I spent most of that time sleeping.
But the "softer" pressure that's impairing my ability to report is that the stability of my day job was called into question. I had to hunker down into emergency mode and prepare for the possibility that I might lose this job.
(Is that connected to the medical leave? I have a hunch yes, the timing is suspicious as hell, but I can't prove anything--so there's the value of your fucking labour law in a nutshell)
The government hasn't had to do anything "official" to knock this reporter out of her beat, it just had to sit back and let the threat of poverty take care of the rest. That transitions nicely into something that *does* have a more direct influence from them.
When I take the plunge into freelance reporting full time, the time I spend on a story will be very, very precious. Investigative pieces come with a pretty generous price tag, but most investigative work takes a long time to complete.
To put this in perspective, I would have to complete 5 investigative pieces a month to make the money I'm making now at my day job.

But each piece can take about 40 hours, so on an hourly rate I'm actually losing out.
Which is fine. I want to do this because I like it and I'm good at it, not because I want to get rich. 200 hours a month at a job I actually like beats 160 at a job I hate any day.

The government doesn't have to storm my apartment and steal (sorry, "seize") all my shit to exert control. If I'm reporting on abuse of authority, I have to go to them for comment. All they have to do is delay how long they take to answer my queries.
So let's say I get iced out of my day job and try to take the plunge to make full time freelance reporting work. My specialty means for the majority of my pieces I have to contact PR people for government agencies, and often I can strengthen my case by FOIPing support docs.
If I'm done the actual legwork to prove (or at least support) the allegations of misconduct in 20 hours, that makes the per-hour value of my investigative piece considerably better. But what if the agency stonewalls my inquiries?
Suddenly that 20 hours turns into 28. I go to work on another piece because I have bills to pay. The second inquiry gets a non-reply. 36 hours now on a single piece.
Soon enough I've moved on to other work, and after the 40-hour mark I'm now shouldering a *personal expense* to try and keep the story alive.

The government doesn't have to directly antagonize me at all to achieve this.
Now imagine the story is *your* arrest. You, personally, have been arrested at an action. You are a first hand witness to procedural errors which protect your own rights. You've suffered horrible violence.
A reporter knows about this, is *actively trying to bring your story to light,* but has to face the possibility of going in the red on her monthly budget to do so.

Now me, personally? I'm responsible for myself and myself alone. I'll eat KD for a week if that's what it takes.
But think about what this means. It's no longer merely the work that needs to be done, but the personal sacrifices necessary to keep the story alive through weeks of stonewalling.
It means this kind of reporting falls exclusively on the shoulders of salaried reporters at corporate outlets

Outlets that are being systematically devoured by the capitalist class, either literally (slash-and-burn, selling off) or figuratively (by killing these stories).
It's important work. It doesn't mean I'm not going to try. But bitches gotta eat... even reporter ones.

Coppers don't have to be kicking down my door (though the way things are going I can't exactly write that off) to be fucking with me. And stonewalling is perfectly legal.
I would say a cleverer authoritarian would prefer it as a technique because it's much less likely to garner backlash but the Beltway had fuck-all to say about the attempted lifetime jailing of two journalists during the #J20Trials so maybe I'm wrong.

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More from @SiobhanFTB

Oct 3, 2018
Reminder that Canada's publicly funded religious schools earn us a black eye from the United Nations every time they do a human rights review.
That is also connected to the residential schools, a euphemism that perhaps fails to properly capture the incomprehensible cruelty behind these genocidal programs.…
But yes, an allegedly developed democracy has an entire class of schools who can just throw up their hands and go "nah" every time the public tries to protect human rights in their systems.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
I'm extremely cynical about what's really being said in these cheesy "should trans people have rights" polls, and I'll walk you through a local example as to why.
Back before it was devoured by The Star, a local paper called Metro News conducted a poll they claim was about Bill C-16, a law that amended federal Canadian rights to include gender identity. I say "they claim" because they failed to interpret a very important gap in their data.
They asked first a more general question, along the lines of "do you support adding trans Canadians to human rights law." You'd think answer no to that question would make you look like an asshole, yet a whopping 25% were comfortable saying as much anyway…
Read 10 tweets
Oct 2, 2018
Euro-colonial cissexism was never a system rooted in logic, trying to use it as a tool to make declarations on validity of identities derived from it is a fool's errand. #TransRational
Rationalism is important, but as is often the case with people who self-identify as rationalists, it's an important ideology being bastardized by people who wouldn't pass a single fucking philosophy essay.
Of course when you put trans identity under the microscope it's not going to make sense. But the exact same is true of cis identity, because the entire pretext of cissexism is convergent folklore, not a meticulous theory of existence. Physician, heal thyself. #TransRational
Read 4 tweets
Oct 1, 2018
I felt tempted to try a good faith attempt to engage with this honestly but all that came out was "fuck off, tosser"
"Starvation is honourable and dignified" --person who has never eaten peanut butter for a week to make ends meet
Me: *takes a second look at this take*

Me, 3 seconds later:
Read 5 tweets
Oct 1, 2018
Now that I think about it, no right-winger has actually justified to me *why* their policies should be imposed against popular will, other than "we won."
Democracy to them isn't a means of achieving consensus, but rather a means of acquiring power to enact their will. They will (and do, and have, repeatedly) cheated in that vein.
Very few Conservative policy positions even have a basic majority (51+%) of popular support. Abortion? Even in the USA it's like 80% who support at least some access, and the ones who want unconditional access outnumber the ones who want it banned 2:1.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 25, 2018
I'm really tired of the way most people conduct gender "socialization" discourse so I'm going to hammer this out:

Everybody is socialized into all euro-colonial gender roles.
Mistake #1 is conceiving of gendered socialization as something you strictly receive.


Part of this process is teaching you how and when to apply this pressure to others.

Mothers can and sometimes do teach their sons toxic masculinity.
Girl peers can and sometimes do berate boys for not adhering to said toxic masculinity.

They couldn't do that unless they also received messages on what boyhood "ought" to entail.
Read 19 tweets

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