It was about 2007 when I was interviewed for a magazine profile, and the editor of the magazine had been surprised at my credentials back then and wondered why I wasn’t promoted more by other outlets and institutions. I did receive an award from my alma mater McMaster University for my career achievements, but he noted it should have been much more than that, and he was right.
I would have if I was Alexander Kitty.
Fast forward to 2018, and I can tell you that the situation is no better for women.
What has been on everyone’s mind since the 2016 US election?
You would think my 2005 book would suddenly be in demand, all things considered.
Not a chance.
I may be blunt, eccentric, and suffer no fools, but my work is sound and solid. I do my research, and I am thorough.
So why hasn’t Don’t Believe It! been at least mentioned by writers and journalists discussing fake news?
Because I am Writing While Female.
The book has been mentioned in other textbooks and academic papers. If you want to understand the history of fake news, that book will tell you everything you need to know.
The misogyny in the North American press is beyond control, despite #MeToo.
However, not every place is as disgracefully silent as North America.
This is an academic paper from the University of Łodź in Poland that is a discussion of fake news from 2018:
The creation of fake news is nothing new. Alexandra Kitty in her book Don’t Believe It! How Lies Become News (2005) discusses many such cases.
Why is there no mention in North America? Either it is ignorance…or sexism. There is no third option.
Even before then, in 2005, the Irish Times had this passage in an article of book recommendations from various individuals, and this is one:
Don’t Believe It – How Lies Become News (Disinformation Co, £9.99) by Alexandra Kitty should be compulsory for anyone in the media business.
Yes, it should have been because that was the reason I wrote it: so that journalists and other news producers got a clue; so we wouldn’t have fake news being indistinguishable from real news.
But as the book came from a woman, those in the business just ignored it because they are convinced they know everything, and any criticism — real or perceived — levelled at them requires stewing or a temper tantrum…and the requisite demonizing and blaming of the person who is telling them the reality and truth of a situation.
In 2005, I had two media books come out within exactly one month of each other (Don’t Believe It! and OutFoxed). That is not a common feat, and these books, when they were reviewed or noticed, were well received; so I wasn’t churning out dreck. Only one academic paper actually bothered to notice this accomplishment in their footnote:
The publication date for Alexandra Kitty’s Outfoxed was April 15, 2005, nine months after the documentary. One month earlier (March 15, 2005), she had published a book on the broader topic of news and its manipulation.
This is sexism at its absolute worst. Men can be stoned out of their heads, rude, boorish, weird, uninformed, arrogant, and clueless…but they will be seen as visionaries who can see into the future.
Women, on the other hand, are ghettoized. We may get a patronizing pat on the head every once in a while that is supposed to make us girls feel validated enough to just run along all happy and out of the way of the men, but we have to waste precious focus and resources on willfully distracting battles that men do not.
Even now, this article is about how the New York Times’ CEO says print will be dead in ten years…while I say the entire industry of journalism is already dead and buried.
I outline it all in When Journalism was a Thing.
As well as on the site.
I am not the only woman to be ignored this way. It’s not just an Alexandra Kitty Problem. It’s a Woman Problem.
We don’t allow for women to be taken as seriously as men.
And it is time that rancid cowardice is confronted once and for all.