Racism in the British media may have been a driving force behind Meghan Markle's 'step back' from the royal family - INSIDER - Canada News Media
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Racism in the British media may have been a driving force behind Meghan Markle's 'step back' from the royal family – INSIDER

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  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s “step back” from the royal family means they no longer have to cooperate with the Royal Rota, a system that allows royal reporters from British newspapers to attend and report on the royal family’s engagements.
  • The couple wrote on their website that they “believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance.”
  • It’s common knowledge that Meghan Markle has dealt with racism from the British press, and Prince Harry even publicly acknowledged this in a statement when they started dating in 2016.
  • Although Markle and Prince Harry’s new media regulations mean they’ll get to handpick the reporters that cover their events from now on, it will likely take a while to see a complete change in the way the British press writes about them.
  • Kerry Daynes, a Consultant Forensic Psychologist who often appears in the media, says she has been asked questions that are purposefully designed to achieve a negative and misleading response about Markle.
  • “I have been asked leading questions along the lines of ‘can you confirm that isolating someone from their family is a tactic used by controlling partners?'” she told Insider.
  • Daynes added that she believes this to be a tactic driven by “racist values.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Meghan Markle has dealt with racism in the British press since before she and Prince Harry even confirmed their relationship to the world. 

In 2016, Prince Harry highlighted and foreshadowed the treatment that was to follow the Duchess of Sussex throughout her royal career, calling out the press for the “racial undertones” of articles written about the then-actress.

prince harry meghan markle

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in South Africa.
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage


“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” said a spokesperson for Prince Harry at the time. “Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”

Two years later, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced that, as part of their “step back” from the royal family, they will no longer be co-operating with the Royal Rota.

This is a system which allows a rotation of royal reporters from British newspapers to attend and report on the royal family’s engagements.

The UK outlets involved in this system include The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times, and The Sun, as noted on the Sussex Royal website.

Markle is often subjected to double standards by the press

Although the couple did not directly cite racism as a reason for the change, they did write on their website that they “believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity, and tolerance.”

And there’s no denying that some of these publications have been accused of double standards when it comes to how the duchess is described in comparison to her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton.

kate middleton and meghan markle wimbledon

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex attended Wimbledon together in 2018.
Clive Mason/Getty Images


“Over and over again, the press tears Meghan apart for crossing her legs, saying it’s a breach of protocol,” royal commentator Kristen Meinzer told Insider. “But do a quick Google image search of ‘Queen crossing legs,’ ‘Camilla crossing legs,’ ‘Di crossing legs,’ etc., and you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of photos of royals at official events crossing their legs.”

She added that Markle wouldn’t “be facing any of these double standards if she were white.”

Asked about Markle and Harry’s decision to leave the royal family — and rota system — behind, Meinzer said: “I can see where they would be fed up with how things currently stand.

“I understand their desire to escape the Royal Rota system — which essentially gives equal weight and credence to a handful of legitimate publications and several gossip rags.

“The UK tabloid press has been relentlessly racist and sexist toward Meghan —  a fact that her husband, the women MPs of Parliament, and many legitimate press outlets (including Insider) acknowledge,” she added.

There’s still a long way to go before these issues are solved, but Harry and Markle are taking important steps forward

However, this type of behavior is owed to far more than just headlines. 

Ayesha Hazarika, editor at the Evening Standard, says many women have been asked as guests on live TV to debate racism in the British media, only to be told “it’s all in our heads.”

“Shout out to all my sisters of color who have been summoned on national broadcast to be told there’s no racism & it’s all in our heads & then have to deal with the fallout here,” she wrote on Twitter.

Kerry Daynes, a Consultant Forensic Psychologist who often appears in the media, says she has been asked questions that are purposefully designed to achieve a negative and misleading response about Markle.

“I have been asked (by British, more right-wing media) to comment on Harry and Meghan in my capacity as an expert in coercive control,” Daynes told Insider.

“I have been asked leading questions along the lines of ‘can you confirm that isolating someone from their family is a tactic used by controlling partners?'”

Daynes added that she thinks racism could be a factor behind this behavior.

“I’m not an opinion-for-hire and am certainly not prepared to make wild and unsubstantiated speculations,” she added. “I think I have a professional and personal responsibility not to get involved in what I see as mass media bullying.

“I am sure that this is underpinned by a number of factors, not least anger and resentment towards Meghan Markle — who is seen as an outsider and ‘other’ to us. I’m sure that there are racist values driving this in some quarters,” she said.

Although it’s unlikely Harry and Markle will be able to put an end to stories like these, their new media regulations mean they will get to handpick the organizations they work with from now on.

harry and meghan in cape town with fans

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Cape Town, South Africa.
Henk Kruger/AFP/Getty Images


On the media section of their website, the duke and duchess write that they plan to “engage with grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists.”

They added that they will invite specialist media to specific events, as well as “provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”

“This new chapter in their lives will allow them to work more closely with grassroots and legitimate press outlets,” Meinzer told Insider.

“It will allow them to use their talents, ambitions, and hearts in bigger, broader ways. And I hope it also means that they’ll be happier and face less abuse than they have up until now.”

Read more:

Meghan Markle is being criticized for doing the same things that Kate Middleton is praised for, and a royal expert says it wouldn’t be happening if she were white

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are at war with the media — and their split from the Royal family shows they are fighting to win

The Queen made a rare personal statement where she confirmed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be spending time in Canada

Harry and Meghan’s big ‘step back’: This is what it looks like when a monarchy can’t hold itself together

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Munk Debates – Jeff Jarvis: We'll figure out social media. It's too valuable to curb – National Post

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The following was adapted from remarks recently delivered on a Munk Debates podcast: “Be it resolved, social media is a force for good in the world.”

Social media itself is a misnomer. The internet is not a medium. The internet is not part of media. It’s the reverse. Media is now being subsumed into the internet along with every other sector of society. It’s not produced like a magazine or a newspaper. What social media is, instead, is conversation. Social media welcomes a few billion voices who are now heard, who would otherwise not have been heard in the hegemony of mainstream media.

I know this because I was a part of that problem in mainstream media. I was in a newsroom filled with old white men who look exactly like me, who were the ones making decisions yet didn’t have the life experience of so many others. Recently, in The New York Times, University of Pennsylvania Professor Sarah Jackson wrote a wonderful op-ed about all the people who have been brought out by the internet, such as African Americans and survivors of gendered violence. People have used hashtags as platforms to be able to assemble and create movements; hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and #YesAllWomen. I personally learned a great deal from the hashtag #LivingWhileBlack, which shed light on experiences that I did not have. Social media has allowed these marginalized communities to have a voice.

Social media has allowed these marginalized communities to have a voice

I fear that if we allow a rising tide of moral panic around the internet to enforce regulation, we could cut off these voices. We could have the unintended consequence of trying to go back to a past that amplified voices of the few, not the many.

The internet is yet young. After Gutenberg’s press, it took a century and a half before anyone thought to invent a newspaper. We are 25 years away from the beginning of the commercial web. That is 25 years into this brand-new invention that is changing society and the way we live. Let’s have some faith in our fellow man and woman and user that we will figure this out. We figured out printing. We figured out telegraphs. We figured out the telephone. We’ve even figured out television. We will figure out the internet. Don’t shut off the value of the new voices we hear there.

I think we are trying to blame social media platforms for the behaviour of the people using them. The truth is, what we don’t like is that behaviour and that is what we have to deal with. We have to establish a norm that says, “Don’t encourage that behaviour. Don’t feed the trolls.” The behaviour we should be going after is not that of the platform. It is that of our fellow man and woman, our fellow citizen. And you renegotiate these norms through parenting and education and other things that take time.

We are trying to blame social media platforms for the behaviour of the people using them

What is really happening right now is society is relearning how to have a conversation with itself and we’re screwing it up. We’re doing it badly. We’re trolling each other, we’re letting bad guys come in to the medium and exploit it. Companies are doing greedy things. But this is all part of a long process, and we have to value the voices that we hear around us and stop concentrating on the negativity. We’ve got to start to look out for the nice flowers in the field, not just the dandelions. And we’ve got to understand that there are things of value that people are saying if only we will stop and listen.

Jeff Jarvis is the Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism Innovation and director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in the City University of New York. He is the author of “What Would Google Do?,” “Public Parts,” “Geeks Bearing Gifts,” and “Gutenberg the Geek” and is cohost of the podcast “This Week in Google.” He’s on Twitter @jeffjarvis.

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Queen Elizabeth shows flexibility as social media shifts power to her grandchildren – Toronto Star

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For the last 66 years, Queen Elizabeth has skilfully walked the tight rope between being a bulwark of tradition, keeping things more or less as they have always been and skilfully adjusting as England and the world spun forward around her.

Nothing was ever new; just enhanced.

As the Queen has adopted new technologies — from televising her coronation and annual Christmas speech to increasing the use of social media — who can ever forget her “phone drop” to promote the Invictus Games or her arrival by parachute with James Bond at the opening of the London Olympics — she has, by and large, sought to preserve the decorous traditions of the British monarchy.

The give-and-take (or lack thereof) between tradition and modernity is precisely the tension that fascinates so many. It is this tension that is the dramatic underpinning of Netflix’s biographical drama, “The Crown,” which this week got some real-life experience to add to this theme.

The makings of this new episode began when the Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan Markle, trademarked “Sussex Royal” and posted a photo to their Instagram account announcing their intention to step back from their royal duties, seek financial independence and take up a new life in North America, all the while honouring “our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

While news coverage has been devoted to the announcement’s substance, the medium here is equally as important as the message. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have effectively used social media to leap over their 93-year-old grandmother and family. The Queen of England now finds herself embroiled in a singularly modern predicament: an asymmetrical communications campaign that pits individuals against institutions.

Again and again, we have seen a similar dynamic play out in such situations. While institutions are hamstrung by tradition, bureaucracy, and red tape, individuals are empowered by social media to be self-defining, agile and swift.

Case in point: While Harry and Meghan could rush out their campaign as if it were a lifestyle-brand-in-a-box, (along with the post they launched a website, complete with glossy photographs, inspirational quotations from the likes of Desmond Tutu with web copy written in the tone of an Instagram influencer), the Queen had to resort to issuing her rebuttal statement in two sentences printed on Buckingham Palace letterhead.

The generational divide could not be more clear; nor the implications. This is not a fair fight.

While it may be unpleasant to go up against one’s own family, this dynamic yields the couple a few distinct advantages. First, their new media relations strategy circumvents the depraved British tabloids, and their antiquated “royal rota” system.

While the Royal Family has tolerated no end of vitriol from the press (remember Waity Katie? Or Fergie, the Duchess of Pork?), rationalized by the adage, “We pay, you pose,” Harry and Meghan seek to change the rules, an objective made all the more urgent by the press’ clear double standard when it comes to covering Meghan Markle versus Kate Middleton.

As those same British tabloids have reported breathlessly on the behind-the-scenes machinations at work throughout this entire episode, another advantage has become apparent.

By staking out a clear, public position and then negotiating, the couple most likely stymied attempts by the Queen’s courtiers to delay or dilute their plan. Declaring their intention for a clean break was perhaps the only way for Harry and Meghan to break through the institutional monarchy’s resistance to doing things new.

But if there is a resistance to things new, the Queen, herself, demonstrated last week a willingness to enhance.

In the days since the launch of Sussex Royal, the Queen has followed a playbook of her own. She took charge, summoned all the influence of her court, gathered her family for the so-called Sandringham Summit, and after its conclusion, released a statement cautiously endorsing her grandson’s plan.

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But the real news was how the statement was written. One royal historian, speaking to the BBC, remarked that its tone was “unusually personal” with its several references to “my family” or “my grandson.” What’s more, it abandoned the use of formal titles, referring instead to “Harry and Meghan.”

Her Majesty demonstrated, once again, just what it means to enhance.

Jaime Watt is the executive chairman of Navigator Ltd. and a Conservative strategist. He is a freelance contributing columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @jaimewatt

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Social media mobilized to identify found film photo

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Social media gets blamed for a lot of things but it’s not all bad. Here’s a little story about people helping people via social media.

It was a bit of Sunday fun for Victoria’s John Carlow, recently. Well, I guess the story has a longer history than that. A few years ago Carlow bought an old Brownie Target 620 camera from a shop in Cowichan Bay. Carlow, a photographer, had initially intended to use it merely as a mantle decoration but recently he opted to prepare it for use again. He opened the body of the camera to discover a roll of 620 black and white film, shot, rolled and ready for processing.

What could possibly be on that film? Was the film even viable to process? How long had the camera been sitting in that store anyway? Where did it come from? Carlow had so many questions.

The Cowichan Bay thrift store he bought it from is long gone so that lead ended in a dead end.

“This shot film could be 40-plus-years-old for all I know,” he said. “I sourced a lab in Vancouver that still processes 620 film. I got the negatives back and could tell the exposed film had suffered considerably… years..heat..etc… I had a local store process five of the eight frames on the roll that showed any exposure at all.”

Luckily for Carlow, one image survived.

The photo, though battered and of poor resolution, showed an old building. Carlow’s goal: to identify that structure.

Carlow posted it on his personal Facebook and Facebook and Instagram photography pages to no avail. It was suggested he pop on over to the Old Victoria Facebook page given members of that group love history.

“I posted first thing in the morning on the weekend and reaction was immediate,” he said. “People thought [the camera] was a great story itself , and then the sleuthing and suggestions started.”

Over the course of the day, the post generated a couple of hundred responses. Some guesses seemed close, some were off the mark completely, Carlow said.

“There were lots of guesses for the Cowichan Valley and rest of the Island, as Cow Bay is where the camera was purchased,” he explained. “Some people just wanted to talk about the cars in the photo. Some people wanted to talk my last name and family history!”

Carlow said it wasn’t until around dinner time that a Facebook user named Douglas Lewis was able to identify the structure in the fuzzy photo.

“He presented compelling and well documented evidence,” Carlow explained. “Everything seemed very clear to me from that point on. There are one or two folks who aren’t convinced, but they present no evidence to back up what they are saying.”

The building? Mahon Community Hall on Saltspring Island.

The Island’s Agricultural and Fruit Growers Association’s agricultural hall was built in 1902 thanks to a loan from a man named Ross Mahon and, after his tragic drowning death in 1903, the Association named the new hall “Mahon Memorial Hall”.

School District 64 bought the property in 1942 and a community supported restoration project took place in the early 1980s to upgrade the roof among other improvements. It’s still used by the community to this day for concerts, theatrical performances, art exhibitions, craft sales and the like.

“I was very pleased and forwarded the information to the Islands Historical Society,” Carlow said. “I’d like to present the photo for the archives.”

The photo captivated Carlow so much, he even went to Saltspring Island to look at the building in person.

“We have walked past this area many times, but now it means so much more,” he said. “I’m sure we would have figured it out eventually. I’m impressed by the amount of people that took to the story. It was a positive experience overall.”

There you have it, a positive outcome all thanks to social media.


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