Dealing with trolling by Hopkins

Katie Hopkins is a bit like Cameron Slater – she seeks attention with controversial posts, seeks support from fringe radicals online, and she is being gradually rejected as too toxic by media who have given her views an airing in the past.

She tried to stir things up after the Christchurch mosque attacks, and again after the Sri Lankan bombings. Some New Zealand media chose to feed her trolling, which was disappointing but not surprising – media often stoop low to try to generate publicity for themselves.

This has been covered by RNZ’s mediawatch: Don’t feed the troll

After condemning social media platforms for hosting and spreading extremists’ content, many media here also took the online bait from a noted British troll who’s too toxic even for Fox News and the tabloids in the UK.

Last Tuesday the government’s plans to urge global social media companies to tighten up on extremist content filled the front page of the New Zealand Herald.

“PM Jacinda Ardern is pushing for global response that would make Twitter, Facebook and YouTube more responsible for the content they host,” said the Herald under the banner heading Social Media Crackdown.

“The will of governments to work together to tackle the potentially harmful impacts of social media would have only grown stronger in the wake of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka,” said the Herald the same day on page 5

But there was a very different Herald story on page 5 of the Herald’s regional stablemates the same day – including Hawke’s Bay Today, The Northern Advocate and Bay Of Plenty Times. 

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ignoring a sarcastic swipe by a British columnist over the attacks in Sri Lanka which have left more than 200 dead,“ it began.

These papers weren’t the only media here reacting here to a single social media blurt from British far right provocateur Katie Hopkins.

He told both programmes she was a “publicity seeking idiot” whose name he didn’t want to repeat on TV.

Our media could easily have ignored her crass blurt on Twitter – along with millions of other non-newsworthy tweets.

But TVNZ’s One News Now site and MediaWorks TV and radio and Newshub site turned it into a talking point.

Not just ‘a talking point’, they made news items about it.

Stuff and RNZ were the only major media outlets here that did not turn Katie Hopkins trite tweets into talking points or and news stories.

The NZME papers, TVNZ and Newshub also called Katie Hopkins “an outspoken columnist.”

But she isn’t.

She is a right-wing anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant provocateur who has been too toxic for mainstream media some time.

She used to used to write for The Sun and then the Daily Mail in the UK and host a show on London talk station LBC. Newstalk ZB used to have her on from time to time on British politics.

But she was dumped by the Daily Mail and fired by LBC in 2017 after calling for a “final solution” after the Manchester bombing in May 2017 – and then calling on Western men to “rise up.”

Even Fox news in the US doesn;t use her as a commentator anymore.

Another reason media should keep their distance is her fondness for fake news.

Hopkins has recently been spreading false claims Notre Dame cathedral was destroyed by arson.

Hopkins would be delighted with the exposure she’s had here this past week without getting up from her keyboard in the UK.

‘Don’t feed the troll’ is a much-repeated maxim these days. If ignored, many of them really would go away.

But in the online age, savvy trolls like Katie Hopkins also feed the mainstream media’s appetite for controversy.

I think that at times it is worth challenging crap and hate merchants like Hopkins, but the Herald and Newshub didn’t do that, they used her media bait to bait for clicks. It doesn’t do their credibility any good.

Maybe the Herald should hide that sort of in depth muck behind their premium subscription so most people don’t have to see it.

Leave a comment

19 Comments

  1. MaureenW

     /  28th April 2019

    Political commentator and entertainer – I find her quite funny but in a darker way within our politically correct environment.

    What was so wrong about her suggesting Ardern dress as the pope after the Sri Lankan bombings? I thought it was hilarious – god help us when the queen dies.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  28th April 2019

      Possibly got her target wrong. Should have been the Sri Lankan PM dressing up.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  28th April 2019

        I didn’t see anything hilarious about the Sri Lankan bombings and didn’t appreciate Ms Hopkins making jokes about them. Her sense of humour is different to that of most people, I would say,

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  28th April 2019

          Kimbo, I suspect that had the murder victims all been white and English, she would not have laughed at the massacres.

          Reply
        • MaureenW

           /  28th April 2019

          Nobody thinks there’s anything hilarious about the bombings. Hopkins didn’t say there was anything hilarious about the bombings either. Her reference was about donning clothing one wouldn’t normally wear … etc

          Reply
          • She used a tragedy to take a cheap shot at Ardern to seek attention for herself. To be deliberately divisive and provocative. I don’t think that’s being funny at all.

            Reply
            • MaureenW

               /  28th April 2019

              I don’t share your extended sensitivity Pete. Her comment wasn’t directed at victims of either event – she does have an opinion on dressing up in Muslim styled garb in order to show empathy for victims – discussed extensively here by those for, neutral and against.

            • Gezza

               /  28th April 2019

              My assumption is that while Hopkins didn’t make good on her promise to run naked down the street with a sausage up her bum if Sadiq Khan got elected Mayor of London, she’s more than likely still done something silly with a sausage & it’s affecting her.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  28th April 2019

            She didn’t seem to think that there was anything wrong with using them as a platform for jokes.

            Reply
            • MaureenW

               /  28th April 2019

              If you say so Kitty – I didn’t read it like that.
              The extended sensitivity around tragic events doesn’t sit well for me. There is the event, and there is the way others react to that that – Hopkins was addressing one aspect of the latter.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th April 2019

              Most people seemed to think that it was totally inappropriate as well as being silly.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th April 2019

              Most people didn’t react with ‘humour’. It was disrespectful to the dead. I am no fan of the PM, to put it mildly, but felt that this was not the time or place for mockery. It was using mass murder as an excuse for a laugh at someone’s expense, and while Jacinda Ardern might be fair game at other times, this was not the time.

            • MaureenW

               /  28th April 2019

              Many people reacted with humour (bewilderment, anger etc) to Adern’s choice of clothing. We’ve done that topic and I don’t want to revisit it but to say it didn’t draw mixed reactions is patently wrong.

    • Kimbo

       /  28th April 2019

      What was so wrong about her suggesting… I thought it was hilarious

      Um lack of empathy for those affected by the tragedy, especially when Hopkins was trying to use it to publicise her worthless career? But while I think she is a waste of space and a despicable excuse for a human being, I acknowledge in your case, MaureenW, that humour is a personal thing. I don’t presume to extend that judgement to you.

      Reply
      • MaureenW

         /  28th April 2019

        Any Jesus jokes Kimbo? Thought not.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  28th April 2019

          I posted one a couple of days ago:

          In contrast to the skeptics who say Jesus did not exist, Jewish scholars readily admit the picture we have of him in the New Testament is likely very accurate. For example, Jesus was clearly Jewish – he went into the family business, he lived at home until he was 30, he thought his mother was a virgin, and she was sure he was God. 😅

          Boom, tish! I’m here all night, folks. Try the veal…

          Reply
          • MaureenW

             /  28th April 2019

            Not bad – just a smile rather than a guffaw! Keep it up, you have access to plenty of good material

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  28th April 2019

              My favourite Jewish joke; in the early 30s, a little Jewish man in traditional Orthodox dress was walking through Berlin when he encountered an SS man in full uniform. The SS man clicked his heels together and shouted ‘Schweinhund !’

              The Jewish man clicked his heels together and politely said ‘Cohen.’

              Every one a gem !

  2. orky

     /  29th April 2019

    I wonder what made Katie Hopkins take the career path she is now on? She seems mightily pissed off. A little like the Christchurch shooter who changed from a man with generous praise for Pakistanis, to a man mowing down 50 Muslims without compunction.
    The same could be asked of some Islamic terrorists, although the enigma isn’t as great comparative to Westerners becoming feral and anti-Muslim.

    I think we need to hold on to our hats. I see the likes of Katie Hopkins getting more support as more people realise MSM is never going to change.

    Reply

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