The perils of churnalism have been revealed by the Independent today. It has spotted the Mail inadvertently reporting that its own journalist had tried to “coerce” the Matrix filmmaker Lilly Wachowski into an interview about her transition. This is in spite of the paper strongly denying the suggestion that it forced Wachowski to speak about transitioning.
Its report of the story about Wachowski coming out as a trans woman is from the Reuters news agency. Despite the Indy‘s eagle-eyed piece, the report remains unchanged, still accusing its own journalist of coercion: “Lilly Wachowski, 48, said in a statement in Chicago’s Windy City Times that she decided to make her gender reassignment public after a journalist from Britain’s Daily Mail attempted to coerce her to do an interview about her transition.”
Your mole notes that an almost identical story on the Mail‘s site, with a DAILYMAIL.COM REPORTER byline instead, leaves out the accusation and instead prints a denial:
“As Ms Wachowski says herself, we were not the first media group which approached her and we made absolutely clear at several points in the conversation that we were only interested in doing the story with her cooperation and had no intention of publishing anything without her consent.
“Our reporter was extremely sympathetic and courteous at all times.
“We are baffled as to why Ms Wachowski has reacted as she has but we wish her well with her journey.”
Here’s what Wachowski claimed about the Mail in her statement:
“SEX CHANGE SHOCKER—WACHOWSKI BROTHERS NOW SISTERS!!!”
“There’s the headline I’ve been waiting for this past year. Up until now with dread and/or eye rolling exasperation. The “news” has almost come out a couple of times. Each was preceded by an ominous email from my agent—reporters have been asking for statements regarding the “Andy Wachowski gender transition” story they were about to publish. In response to this threatened public outing against my will, I had a prepared a statement that was one part piss, one part vinegar and 12 parts gasoline . . . But it didn’t happen. The editors of these publications didn’t print a story that was only salacious in substance and could possibly have a potentially fatal effect. And being the optimist that I am, I was happy to chalk it up to progress.
“Then last night while getting ready to go out for dinner my doorbell rang. Standing on my front porch was a man I did not recognize.
“‘This might be a little awkward,’ he said in an English accent.
“I remember sighing.
“Sometimes it’s really tough work to be an optimist.
“He proceeded to explain he was a journalist from the Daily Mail, which was the largest news service in the UK and was most definitely not a tabloid. And that I really had to sit down with him tomorrow or the next day or next week so that I could have my picture taken and tell my story which was so inspirational! And that I really didn’t want to have someone from the National Enquirer following me around, did I? BTW—The Daily Mail is so definitely not a tabloid . . . “