We need to talk about Pink News

No one should take Pink News seriously. But when it bullies people with baseless and defamatory allegations, Fair Cop cannot stay silent.

It’s easy to mock Pink News but it’s dangerous to dismiss it. This is a blog with well over six million monthly unique visitors, so what it lacks in intellectual clout it more than makes up for in readership.

So when PN turns its guns — and its followers — against a blameless individual, it’s not enough to sit back and treat it with our usual mixture of wry amusement, pity and contempt.

In a blog due to be published tomorrow, Pink News’ Vic Parsons plans to castigate Charlie Evans for the reprehensible crime of volunteering for the NHS at a time of unprecedented medical crisis. The angle, such as it is, is that Charlie is letting down the detransitioners who The Detrans Advocacy Network (TDAN) was set up to help.

Leaving aside Pink News’ newfound — and, dare we say it, insincere — interest in the struggles of detransitioners, the article provides a perfect example of the blog’s modus operandi

Charlie’s original sin, remember, is to support those who have turned back on the road to transition, a path down which she herself has travelled. She has never attacked or mocked trans people; has never bullied or abused the groups that champion transitioning.

What truly terrifies Pink News is that Charlie knows what she’s talking about: her story, together with the experiences of hundreds of other detransitioners, is an incredibly powerful challenge to the narrative that people rarely, if ever, regret the permanent physical changes wrought by transitioning.

When faced with an argument it can’t win, Pink News turns to hamfisted (but nonetheless damaging) character assassination, deploying snide innuendo, risible reasoning and outright distortion of the truth. For example, Parsons’ planned attack on Charlie includes claims that there are allegations that she is lying about the number of detransitioners that The Detrans Advocacy Network is helping. No evidence has been provided for these allegations; nor does Pink News identify who is making them. But that hasn’t stopped Parsons, with breathtaking chutzpah, from insinuating that Charlie herself should provide evidence.

This is beyond silly, and Parsons knows it. It is unclear how Charlie can provide this evidence without publishing detransitioners’ names. This would be a massive breach in TDAN’s duty of care to vulnerable individuals; it would also be against the law. It’s inconceivable that someone claiming to be a journalist would be unaware of this point…. but Pink News has never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Of course, you can counter this by saying that every publication, from national newspaper to squalid little bedsit blog, pursues an agenda. But it’s difficult to think of one that does it so brazenly and yet so incompetently. A case in point: earlier this month Pink News ran the headline “Every major political party has now condemned Liz Truss’ ‘troubling’ attack on trans youth”. A quick scan of the article shows that the condemning comments came not from the political parties themselves, but from their fringe trans groups.

We don’t criticise Pink News for taking a position contrary to our own: the freedom to disagree is, after all, a cornerstone of our democracy. But when a publication’s articles don’t stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny, it’s a sign that it holds its own readership in as much contempt as the target of its attacks.

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