The sloppy journalism of Raw Story’s “tbogg”

We live in a time when “trusted journalist” is becoming an oxymoron and one of those morons responsible for the tarnishing of journalistic integrity is Tom Boggioni (“tbogg”) of Raw Story, an ideological rag that routinely blocks Men’s Rights Advocates (MRAs) merely for being MRAs.

There is no excuse for sloppy writing or sloppy thinking, especially in professional journalism. It is a highly competitive enterprise and a critical one: knowledge is power; lives can change forever with a few words and disasters happen when those words go astray. People’s lives can end over a turn of phrase.

Attention, employers: if you want to hire a sloppy liar to tar your publication with his mendacity on display to the public in ways so embarrassing that you’ll win the Tour de France by backpedaling, then Tom Boggioni can put the “oh, no” in your annual report.

Consider this one paragraph from tbogg’s screed against Dean Esmay:

Like it’s twin brother, the gamergaters, there really is no formal membership in the MRA movement.  As long as you hate women and all they stand for you’re part of the gang. You can walk like an MRA, talk like an MRA, and even grow a neckbeard like them and it’s all, “Hail fellow, well, met. Bitches, waddya gonna do, amirite?” There is probably an elaborate and awkward handshake too.

Here’s a part of a screen capture just in case Raw Story tries to change or bury it:

Let’s unpack this bit-by-bit, shall we?

“Like it’s twin…”: Notice the use of the apostrophe in the word “it’s,” meaning that it’s a contraction of “it is,” not the possessive form of “it.” Expanding the contraction to read “Like it is twin,” we can see that the use of “it’s” is clearly wrong. “Its” would be correct there.

Normally, nitpicking grammar errors like this is looked down on in informal conversational writing but among professional journalists and writers such mistakes are glaring and garish. They are also what poker players would call a “tell”: they alert the careful reader that the author is up to something fishy.

“…twin brother…”: For a supposed feminist, tbogg uses a lot of unnecessarily gendered language. Later on, tbogg implicitly mocks men for experiencing pain during divorce, thereby enforcing the patriarchal norm that men should not expose their weaknesses. Again, for a supposed feminist, tbogg sure is a shitty one: feminists are supposed to smash the patriarchy, not uphold it.

The word “brother” is superfluous (omitting it does not alter the basic meaning of the sentence) so we can infer that the writer was appealing to the sexist, anti-male bias of his intended feminist audience — he wants desperately to come off as the One Good Man standing in chivalric glory protecting the hapless damsels in his harem hugbox citadel.

Yeah, right, buddy. Women never see through posturing like that, nor do they escape from it in tankers.

“the gamergaters“: Notice that we’ve sloppily jumped from a singular noun “twin brother” to a plural one. That’s similar to writing “My dog the beagles” – wretched, erroneous prose. In addition. employers of tbogg would do well to note that #gamergate is a consumer group that exposes lapses in journalistic integrity and ethics and that by implicitly smearing them, tbogg is acknowledging that he opposes journalistic integrity and ethics.

“there really“: The use of another superfluous word, and another tell, again alerts the reader that the author is now spinning fables like a spinster: he sounds like a child caught red-handed crying “I’m really innocent this time! I swear!”

“As long as you hate women and all they stand for you’re part of the gang.”: The author goes full sexist, conflating women with feminism and all men who oppose feminism as gang members who hate women. He ignores both the men who self-identify as feminists and the women who self-identify as MRAs (of whom male MRAs are quite fond.) Indeed, polls show that less than 1 in 4 women identify as feminists and thus it is both sloppy and mendacious for tbogg to equate the two.

Employers should also note that the collapsing feminist base makes it unwise to employ writers that appeal to a dying demographic even as they alienate a burgeoning one.

“You can walk like an MRA, talk like an MRA, and even grow a neckbeard like them and it’s all, ‘Hail fellow, well, met.‘”: Again the author reveals his penchant for chivalry, projecting his own patriarchal leanings onto MRAs. Even a passing glance at MRA writings would have told the author that MRAs oppose the sexism and gynocentrism that are intrinsic to chivalry and which a lot of feminists also reject. One may conclude that Boggioni is lazy, sloppy, dim, or perhaps some failed combination of the three.

Feminists should be especially appalled by this: judging all members of a group by the actions of a few extremists is even more damaging to feminism than MRAs since efforts like #KillAllMen paint feminism in homicidal ways that would make Nazi stormtroopers blush. Feminists have to be squirming to read that “It’s a great way to duck responsibility for anything and everything” as tbogg goes on to say.

Mr. Boggioni may be surprised to discover that feminists are canny enough to parse out nuances like that and use them against men like him whenever it suits them.

Bitches, waddya gonna do, amirite?”: Mixing his metaphorical language by inventing quotes and switching continents, dialects and centuries is sloppy enough but even more importantly, the writer projects his own discomfort and disdain for women onto other men. Mr. Boggioni’s frustration with women is obvious and inevitable: without a red pill understanding of women they will forever remain a puzzle to him. Mr. Boggioni will be shocked to discover that women are smart enough to see through feminist posers like him with ease.

You’re a joke to them, dude. Listen and believe.

Boggioni gets just about every important fact wrong in his article.

  • There was and is no MRA boycott of the Mad Max film.
  • Return of Kings is not an MRA site, indeed, it is anti-MRA. It is mendacious to say or suggest otherwise.
  • The Mad Max film portrays the collapse of an idyllic feminist society that kills all men. This makes it an anti-feminist film.
  • The movie depicts the oppression, exploitation and suffering of men. This makes it an anti-feminist film.
  • Journalists DO have a responsibility to their readers to print the truth and exercise ethical behavior while doing so.

MRAs are used to this garbage and we are grateful for it: surviving such challenges makes us stronger and our opponents weaker.

Toward the end of his article Boggioni mockingly posits a Vast Feminist Conspiracy. I found it hard to tell whether he was referring to “Patriarchy Theory,” “Rape Culture,” “Gendered Domestic Violence,” or the “Alimony Racket” — there’s just so many; like his errors, they are all a blur.

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