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Monica Hesse of The Washington Post: Anatomy of a hatchet job

The media fallout from the International Conference on Men’s Issues has been pretty well dealt with on A Voice for Men. The usual nonsense from Salon, Time, Jessica Roy, MSNBC, Adam Serwer, Alex Wagner, and the like have been duly skewered for their all-too-predictable dishonesty—and their obvious fear of a rising men’s issues movement that challenges their prejudices and their unquestioning acceptance of the dominant cultural narrative. But there’s at least one more to discuss: Monica Hesse’s article on the conference that appeared in The Washington Post.

If you want to write a hatchet job on anyone, Hesse’s article would make a good template. Her first mission was to attack the people at the conference, which means depicting them as shallow, angry, hypersensitive, self-involved losers. Having established, in her readers’ minds, the debased nature of conference speakers and attendees, the rest was simple. The actual issues could be caricatured because who would be interested in the concerns of deadbeats with the emotional maturity of children? The balance consisted of verbal swipes at one person or another, one issue or another, ever so slightly leavened with—and this is important to any hatchet job—a few kind words.

So she began her article thus:

The feminists hadn’t shown up yet, but they could, at any moment, with their protest signs and screaming.

See what I mean? Presumably we were all cowering in fear at the prospect of a few feminists showing up with signs. By itself that might not have convinced anyone, but Hesse was careful to add to her portrait of men’s issues advocates as frightened, paranoid little boys. Hesse also failed to mention that these things had happened before and that what looked like reliable sources had indicated such protests and worse were threatened this time as well. Mention of any of this could easily be omitted–and so she did. Instead, in her next couple of paragraphs she referred to attendees’ perception of the world as a “dangerous place” for men and men being “under threat of attack.” She called the tone of the conference one of “paranoia and anger.” She called the MRAs there “misfit boys and damaged men.” If that didn’t convince readers what creeps these men’s issues advocates are, nothing would.

Having laid the prejudicial groundwork, Hesse was free to marginalize the issues. Issues that took the speakers two days to elucidate, Hesse skipped through like tiptoeing through the tulips. My own presentation merited six words. Senator Ann Cools got none, and Mike Buchanan only a single clause. Warren Farrell’s speech was presented to Post readers as an 18-word quotation.

Indeed, rather than engage with any of the issues, on which speakers talked in such depth and detail, Hesse for the most part ignored them altogether. Instead, her article reflects mostly interviews with usually anonymous attendees, i.e., another tactic of the hatchet job. That anonymity means we can’t compare her quotations with a factual record. So, unlike the speakers, whose presentations appear on YouTube and elsewhere, we have to take Hesse’s word for it that they said what she claims.

It’s a curious way to cover a conference. After all, you’d think readers might want to know what the issues are, how they’re viewed, and why. But Hesse carefully avoided that, the better to control the message she was offering Washington Post readers.

But she wasn’t comfortable with simply mischaracterizing speakers and attendees or limiting readers’ information on the issues. Hesse went on to feed her readers a diet of falsehoods and misleading claims. For example, she claimed that no one at the conference mentioned that custodial mothers are more likely to live in poverty than are custodial fathers, but I, in fact, devoted a significant portion of my presentation to exactly that.

Likewise, she wrote, “A Voice for Men said the hotel was issued death threats by feminists for agreeing to hold the conference.…” In fact, it was the hotel management that said that on hotel stationery. She wrote that Paul Elam’s writings have been referred to as “hate speech” but declined to say by whom, preferring to let readers conclude that her reference in the next clause to the Southern Poverty Law Center meant it was the SPLC that had done so. It never has, and SPLC’s researcher on the men’s movement has stated flatly that AVfM is not a hate group, but Hesse didn’t let her readers know this.

She used the same tactic in describing Paul’s years-old “Bash a Violent Bitch” piece, writing, “He says he was being satirical.” That, of course, was Hesse’s way of suggesting to her readers that Paul wrote a piece championing male violence against women and then cravenly backtracked, claiming it to be satire. No Washington Post reader will know from Hesse’s piece that Paul originally labelled the article satire or that the Jezebel piece he satirized explicitly lauded female domestic violence against males. And they’ll never know Hesse’s astonishing hypocrisy of criticizing Paul’s satirical piece that’s anti-violence while shielding the feminist article that unapologetically applauded women’s violence against men.

I mentioned that Hesse failed to engage with the issues. Often that’s the case when an opponent of those issues doesn’t have a valid counter-argument to make, which I suspect is the case with Monica Hesse. That impression is reinforced by the few times she did try to engage with the issues. Her efforts were so weak and poorly thought out that it’s no surprise that she didn’t do more of it.

The said “engagement” invariably came in a “yes, but” format. So, when her unnamed interlocutors mentioned being financially ravaged by ex-wives in divorce proceedings, Hesse’s “but” was her false claim that no one mentioned the greater rates of custodial-mother poverty. Of course I had done exactly that, and other presenters at the conference have mentioned it many times in their careers.

More importantly, since non-custodial mothers are far less likely to be ordered to pay child support, are ordered to pay less than are fathers, and pay less of what they owe, their poverty rates can’t be ascribed to divorce courts but to their own behavior. Women generally work less at paid employment than do men and tend to work at lower-paying jobs. In short, the things that explain the wage gap generally also explain the wage gap between custodial mothers and fathers. Needless to say, Hesse mentioned none of that.

Presenters used historical laws as “proof” that women have always had special privileges — access to their husband’s bank accounts, for example — but didn’t mention that during the aforementioned time period, women didn’t legally have the right to vote.

Did Hesse notice that her example of female “oppression” is also an example of female privilege? Women didn’t have the right to vote in part for one of the primary reasons it was granted to men by the 15th Amendment in 1870. Men are subject to military conscription and slaughter on the battlefield and their voting rights have been explicitly connected to that. (Indeed, they still are to a large extent.) Women’s first privilege came in having no duty of military service, which helps explain their lack of voting rights. Their second came in 1920 when they got the right to vote without the obligation to lay down their lives. It’s not apparent that Hesse knows any of this.

Participants lambasted the media for deliberately ignoring the high percentage of male rape victims — 38 percent — and also lambasted Slate journalist Hanna Rosin for writing a “misandric” book about the “end of men” — but didn’t note that Rosin recently wrote a lengthy article about the high percentage of male rape victims.

From where I sit, Rosin’s work is among the worst of the contemporary feminist natterers. As a matter of course, her work is misandric and dishonest, sometimes laughably so. But, irrespective of what one thinks of Rosin, according to Hesse, since she wrote a single piece about male rape victims, all else should be forgiven and forgotten. Of course, Paul Elam isn’t entitled to the same consideration from her for some reason. According to Monica Hesse’s thinking, one good turn makes up for a thousand malicious ones, at least when the person is a feminist.

At almost every turn, Hesse opted for the belittling and the denigrating over the respectful. So every speaker she quoted except Farrell had his/her words taken out of context in order to represent them in a negative light. Almost every detail of the conference, its attendees, and its venue was selected for its negative qualities. No person mentioned escaped some form of censure, either blatant or sneaky. Commonly accepted terms such as parental alienation were placed in quotation marks to suggest inauthenticity. Humor was presented as serious. Men’s real pain was belittled. (See the coda below.)

Women? There are a great many highly qualified and dedicated women among men’s issues advocates. But Washington Post readers don’t know that because, with the exception of mentioning that five of the 15 speakers were women and briefly quoting two speakers, Hesse all but totally overlooked the female attendees. She neither interviewed them, counted them, nor mentioned their presence. It’s that feminist thing of silencing women who fail to agree with feminism.

In short, Hesse’s piece is standard agitprop and a pretty good “how-to” manual for a hatchet job. It paints supporters of men’s issues as deadbeats and losers who are so balled up in their own little problems that they can’t see how women suffer and wouldn’t care if they could. The many legitimate issues raised at the conference were either ignored, misrepresented, or “answered” with arguments that don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

So I called Hesse. I was pleasantly surprised at her willingness to talk, and found her defensive but far from the shrieking monster we see so often on feminist websites. We spoke for 40 minutes, and she invariably answered my questions and tried to give context to what she was doing and why.

That said, her defense of her article was hardly persuasive. But her reason for not engaging with the issues was fair enough: she writes for the “Lifestyle” section and her assignment was to give readers “the experience” of being at the conference, not its content. Plus, she didn’t have unlimited space in which to write, so she couldn’t deal in-depth with the issues and said that to favor one issue at the expense of the others wouldn’t give readers a fair idea of what went on. That, of course, doesn’t explain her abortive efforts to engage with the issues she chose, but was fair as far as it went.

Her efforts went downhill from there. What was her basis for calling the conference “an island of misfit boys and damaged men?” Well, she thought some of the men there had been damaged by some of life’s experiences, which is undeniably true. And “island of misfit boys” is a play on words. Just how that justifies using it to describe adult men and women, she didn’t explain. But referring to people such as Warren Farrell, Tom Golden, Mike Buchanan, Carnell Smith, much less Erin Pizzey, Karen Straughan, Barbara Kay, et al. that way is both inaccurate and, of course, intentionally belittling. Did she consider the phrase denigrating? She did not.

Hesse described the conference as a “wounded echo chamber of nebulous statistics.” Which statistics did she consider “nebulous?” She couldn’t say; she didn’t have her notes, but again they were ones cited not by speakers but by her unnamed interviewees.

She wrote that some issues were “not unsympathetic,” but that when conference-goers spoke about them, “they sound like they could be feminists.” So, I wondered, which feminist organizations was she referring to. Oh, she wasn’t talking about feminist organizations, just feminists. Who? She thought for a bit and then cited Sheryl Sandberg, but no one else. Could she think of any feminist or feminist organization that is active on behalf of men’s issues? She couldn’t. When I pointed out that feminism’s unbroken tradition of opposing any and all legislation to improve fathers’ rights tends to contradict her claim, she responded, “I’m not going to debate that.”

Elam online is an uncaged coil of rage, whose violent diatribes have been categorized as hate speech, earning his site a mention in a 2012 Southern Poverty Law Center intelligence report about misogynistic sites.

Could she understand how many people would conclude from that statement that it was the SPLC that had characterized Elam’s words as “hate speech.” She said it wasn’t her intention, but only claimed that others have used the term. Which others? She refused to say.

Her article claimed that no one had mentioned the higher rates of poverty for custodial mothers than custodial fathers. When I pointed out that I had done just that more than once, she said she must have been out of the room.

When I pointed out that her description of Paul’s “Bash a Violent Bitch” misleads readers, she said she thought his piece was “poorly done satire.” When I wondered why she would take aim at a piece that was plainly satire while giving a pass to the Jezebel article that frankly applauded female violence against males, Hesse said, “That could be a fair point,” but that she would “have to think about that.”

Did she find her article to be a fair and balanced description of the conference and the people there? She did. According to her, mine was the only negative feedback she received, and the conference attendees who emailed her said they thought she’d been fair. Comments to the piece show an altogether different analysis, but we didn’t get into that.

On the telephone, Hesse claimed speakers at the conference cherry-picked our statistics, so I asked her to give examples. She criticized Senator Cools’s presentation but offered no examples of cherry-picked statistics.

She complained that the conference was one-sided, that it failed to provide context for the many problems besetting men and boys. By that she meant feminist context, so I asked her if she believed that feminists have applied her rule to themselves, i.e., always given the male, or non-feminist, point of view. Her response? “I think they do more and more,” but offered no specifics and claimed to know nothing of feminism “in the 60s and 70s” because “I wasn’t even born then.”

Overall, Monica Hesse on the telephone failed to live up to the stereotype of the misandric feminist. She came across as neither doctrinaire nor steeped in the sort of absurd notions about men and women we so often get from run-of-the-mill anti-reality feminists. She seemed genuine; she seemed sincere. She didn’t think she’d done a hatchet job on individuals, a conference, or a movement.

How is that possible? Of course she may have just been putting up a front, but I don’t think so. How can her beliefs about her piece possibly square with the fact that, by any rational standard, it’s a hatchet job, a shallow, close-to-defamatory exercise in promoting the perception of men’s issues and their advocates as undeserving of respect?

My conclusion is that she’s probably absorbed gender feminist narratives for so long that she truly thinks they’re the norm, that a different construction of reality is, intellectually, an alien species. I believe she’s so imbued with misandric culture that using phrases such as “misfit boys and damaged men” to describe her superiors (Cools, Golden, Farrell, Smith, Pizzey, et. al.) both in intellect and in achievement truly doesn’t seem strange to her. I think her all but invariable marginalizing of men, the conference, and the movement is simply routine for her; she’s seen it so often she doesn’t recognize it for what it is. Like a hoarder whose house fills up with junk, she no longer recognizes the junk concepts that fill her mind, crowding out everything else.

In short, I conclude that Hesse believes herself to exemplify NAFALT. She’s one of those feminists we’re supposed to respect for their sincerity and their thoughtfulness, both of which terms truly describe the Monica Hesse with whom I spoke. She’s one of those feminists who is in fact sincerely and thoughtfully blind to their own misandry and knee-jerk resistance to non-feminist/anti-feminist notions. She’s a person who can say, and honestly believe, that she requires “the other side” to be given a fair hearing while identifying with a movement that’s always done the opposite. For her, feminism is a prison beyond whose walls she can’t see and whose yard she believes to be the whole world.

Such, at any rate, is my take on her.

And so, in an attempt to jar her out of her feminist complacency, I made it clear how her article comes across. I explained to her that I try to be fact-based and logical, that I’m not a hot head who jumps to conclusions, that I take people and their work as they come. I told her that I was astonished that she views her piece as fair. I told her I regarded it as very poor and a classic example of disinformation. I said,

I would tell you that, from the very first sentence on through, almost without exception, your aim is to denigrate the people and the issues.

She responded by saying that she’d spoken with men there who made statements “of really horrifying misogyny” but didn’t quote them in the article “because I didn’t think they were representative of the larger group.”

To which I said, in essence, “The fact your piece could have been worse doesn’t mean it was good enough.”

I don’t think she took my criticism well, but possibly she didn’t reject it outright.


One of the speakers at the conference was Terrence Popp, an Army veteran of two tours of duty overseas. His topic was the many family court issues facing mostly male veterans returning from overseas deployments. Here’s how Hesse could have accurately and respectfully described him and his presentation.

Army veteran and recipient of two Purple Hearts, Sergeant Terrence Popp illustrated his presentation with a deeply moving multiple award-winning short film about veterans’ harsh treatment by family courts that drives many to suicide. Popp then revealed that this film was a re-enactment of his own planned suicide, which he had only aborted when four days before he was to kill himself, one of his close friends and comrades in the military killed himself first. Popp is part of an organization, SecondClassCitizen.org, that tracks divorce among veterans. It finds that 90% of vets get divorced within five years of returning to this country and most lose their children, based on thousands of interviews of these veterans. Due to military regulations prohibiting individuals speaking on behalf of the Army, Popp emphasized that his remarks were his and not the Army’s.

But here is what Hesse actually wrote:

“One presenter, a military veteran speaking on the treatment of veterans returning from war, put up a PowerPoint slide alleging that 70 percent of men returning from war get divorced, and 90 percent do so within five years. When asked about the source of this statistic, he said, “That particular statistic is from my personal observations. I’m just speaking here as a dude.”

One dude speaking to a roomful of like-minded dudes, who reinforce rather than challenge one another’s world views.”

See what I mean about what non-ideological reporting would look like, and what asking questions of presenters would look like, versus what Monica Hesse did?

Oh by the way, one final note: Terrence Popp did not use PowerPoint for anything. One can only conclude that Monica Hesse of The Washington Post either didn’t watch the video or she watched it and it made so little impression upon her she could only remember it as a nonexistent PowerPoint slide. We contacted Popp before running this piece on The Washington Post‘s hatchet job, and he affirmed that not only did Monica Hesse ask him no questions, either during or after the conference, but neither has any other member of the press contacted him about his presentation or his statistics—other than A Voice for Men and The Honey Badger Brigade.

May we politely suggest that someone at The Washington Post, or any other of our once-great press organs, do a little more investigation on this issue? Or any of the other issues covered at the conference? It might be a start on redemption from hatchet jobs like this.


Editorial note: If you agree with the assessment that Hesse egregiously misreported to and misled Washington Post readers, you can register (hopefully civil) complaints to ombudsman@washpost.com. —DE

About Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin, Esq, is an attorney, writer and former editor of the Houston Law Review.

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  • Watcher

    In the coda it looks like Ms. Hesse fabricated a quote. A quote that is incorrect and stupid.
    Am I reading this right? Did she really make up a quote from Mr. Popp?

    • Chris Wedge

      IIRC, Terrence did say something along the lines of speaking “as a dude” but that was simply him saying that he was speaking in a civilian capacity, and not as a soldier.

      The rest of it? Bullshit.

      • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ Dean Esmay

        All it took was for me to walk up to him and ask for more details on the stats. He has a mountain of them collected through Second Class Citizen, a nonprofit group he was instrumental in setting up.

        Astonishing that not one single reporter–not one–approached him with any questions. (Which once again, I know to be true because I asked him).

        The notion that we were nothing but “a bunch of dudes” who never challenge each other’s point of view was amazingly condescending for a talk given in a Veteran’s hall by a Veteran talking about Veteran’s issues. Not only condescending to every single veteran who’s ever served, but incredibly condescending about the large number of women who were there.

  • PlainOldTruth

    Isn’t Hesse a famous Nobel Prize-willing author — of The Ass Bleed Game?

    • OldandNavy

      You might be right there.

  • OldandNavy

    Hmmm. Yup, if I want to write a gleaming hatchet job, I will be taking Monica ‘ s advice on the matter.

  • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ Dean Esmay

    I hope people will write to ombudsman@washpost.com and point out that anyone actually reviewing the conference (easily viewable here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHLREeMe4S0OmV_BYAfWNWi0qQzu2FWzK ) would have to ask if Monica was even in the same building with the rest of us.

    • Attila_L_Vinczer

      They paid her money to be here??? As an employer, I think reprimand is in order for wasting corporate expenses and for presenting a completely flawed news item.

      • mike gibbs

        …when hell freezes over my friend afterall, she is just doing the bidding for the bigger punk; the Washing Post.

        • PlainOldTruth

          This is 100% correct. The MHRA is a threat to the “progress” that has been planned for “society.” Washington Post pimped out a zombie political correctness android and she did the dirty work she was paid for, and did it well.

    • Long Shanks


      This is what I sent to the Ombudsman.

      Dear Ombudsman,

      I am writing this email in regards to the recent article by Monica Hesse on the recent International Men’s Issues Conference, dated June 30, 2014. I was deeply disappointed by the enormous bias and lack of professionalism in the reporter’s coverage of the event.

      I am fairly certain that you often receive these types of correspondences from people who feel they received unfair coverage because they were not portrayed in a favorable light. This is not, however, the case in this instance. I was a journalist and attended journalism school, where I was grounded not only on the ethics of the profession but also studied media criticism, and I assure you that this article comes from a place of at best an uncritical consumption of conventional wisdom on the topic or at worst, deep ideological bias.

      In this regard, the Washington Post’s coverage has mirrored that of most media outlets – including MSNBC, Time and Salon. I am writing the Post whoever, because your organization, unlike openly partisan or online publications, has a strong reputation for journalistic integrity. Quite simply, I expected better of you than this.

      I am posting a link from A Voice for Men, hosts of the conference, where one of the contributors spoke with Ms Hesse and wrote an article on their conversation and her misrepresentations in the piece. Please read it – not to uncritically accept the position it states – but to look at the case made and judge for yourself. I am fairly confident that you will see how heavily the reporter’s slant on the topic influenced her writing.

      Please note that in her defence, Ms Hesse said the article was a “Lifestyle” piece and therefore was created to give the readers a more “experiential” feel rather than a hard news feel. If this is the case, then I think it is saying something much broader about feature writing and journalism. Is it fair to make the only report on a topic, a report that allows for heavy bias? Shouldn’t there have been a separate news story?

      Thank you for your time.


      • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ David King

        Great letter!

        As a journalist, is “gonzo journalism” (à la Hunter S Thompson) legitimate journalism and, if so, how do you reconcile that with “experiential” journalism of this sort — or would you say that both have limited place in public discourse?

  • Long Shanks

    She writes for the “Lifestyle Section.” I pointed out in a previous comment that this is how they are skirting journalistic rules of objectivity. They are treating the conference and the MHRM itself as not “news” but feature-type material. This will continue to happen until they receive the necessary push back to take the MHRM seriously. By push back i mean well-written letters to the media houses and direct phone calls to the editors. I applaud Mr Franklin for speaking to the journalist. It would also be good to go over her head and speak to her editor.

    • Mark

      I think it’s happening though – I do sense a shift in culture. I think the “women against feminism” articles are raising a conversation that we will ultimately benefit from. And you’ll notice, even the negative articles on the conference had to say at some point, something along the lines of genuine issues are being discussed. The MRM has been approaching the point of being very-nearly-not-entirely-unacceptable in the last month or so and a lot of this is to do with the propoganda back-firing. The feminists tried to use the Elliot Rodgers killings to demonize the MRM but what they actually did was raise opportunities for MRAs to say to people they knew “you know that isn’t true; if anything he was the exact opposite – and a symptom of the sort of cultural problems the MRM are addressing”, the “yesallwomen” hashtag raised awareness of misandry and now the feminists are laying into “women against feminism” and by doing so raising awareness of the way feminists try and silence other women, whilst at the same time raising questions about why these women are choosing to be anti-feminist, and for some of them, at least, that is support for men’s issues; then the video about how people react differently to IPV when the victim is male went viral amongst people who’ve never heard of the MRM, and raised that issue into consciousness. So call me a deluded optimist if you like, but I feel there’s positive momentum going on now.

  • Howard Gordan

    Excellent article Mr. Franklin. You mention that during your presentation Ms. Hesse said “she must have been out of the room.” You also say “The many legitimate issues raised at the conference were either ignored, misrepresented, or “answered” with arguments that don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.”
    I can tell you for sure that Ms. Hesse was out of the room much of the time, either physically or mentally. I sat next to her on one of the conference days. Whenever I would look over at her during the presenter’s speeches, she was almost always on her cell phone texting, checking email or who knows what else; Perhaps getting updates from Jezebel’s website. Other times I saw her get up and leave the room in the middle of presentations taking place and was absent during entire presentations. She would write a note or two on occasion but there is no way she heard much of what was being said. She told me directly that she really wasn’t there to listen to the presenters as that wasn’t her interest. She was interested mostly in the attendees and what they had to say. That statement indicated to me that she wasn’t going to write anything positive in her story. What “reporter” (in quotes per her tactics) would come to a conference on an important issue and not care about what the speakers were saying? It seemed to me before I read her “unbiased” article that she already had her mind made up on what the article was going to say and what angle she would give it. I was interviewed by her and knew ahead of time she would never quote me. She asked why I was there and gave her several good reasons which is why I knew it wouldn’t be in the article. I told her I came because I had a young son. I came for all the friends I had that ended up broke, homeless or imprisoned due to family court and false allegations. I came because my brother-in-law came extremely close to losing his kids due to false allegations of sexually abusing his twin daughters- only saved by one daughter stating the truth that the mother told her to say he touched her. And I came in memory of Earl Silverman and explained why he committed suicide. She said she would research him but am sure she never did because it wouldn’t have fit in with her preconceived notions of MRAs nor would it fit in with her demeaning intentions of her article. Being at IHOP with her during day one and being near her at other times, I never heard a single statement of misogyny from anyone. Yes, Ms. Hesse doesn’t seem to emit a “Big Red” attitude, but don’t let that fool you Mr. Franklin. She has the same goal- of silencing the issues men and boys face, not by shouting you down, but by degrading and shaming the character of those who are brave enough to speak out.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ Dean Esmay

      More than one person observed that she was spending more time playing on her phone than listening to presentations. I suspect this may be why she thought “Purple Heart’s Final Beat” was a Powerpoint slide.


      People say we use too much harsh language around here, but holy fuck Monica, are you an incompetent or are you a sociopathic asshole?

  • marcetienne

    Excellent job, Robert. I’d like to add something. I first saw Monica Hesse at the start of the conference while she was in line outside and demanding to see Warren Farrell. She was saying out loud, I came all the way from Washington DC and I want to see Warren Farrell! Warrens wife had to escort her past the security. In her article she says the men in line at that time were talking about their axes. I was right there next to her in that is nonsense. In fact I mentioned my current girlfriend and how she likes chest hair I was saying something good about her. Of course that was never mentioned by Monica. The next day she interviewed me for a half hour overlooking the lake. She asked how I got involved. As soon as I said it was about my friend who was denied domestic violence services for being male, she lost interest and changed the subject to be about the rhetoric of the conference. Obviously she had no interest in anyone who did not fit the stereotype she wanted. She totally ignored anyone who didn’t give her a comment that fit her stereotype. I agree that she came off as nice. What what I asked her to please write a balanced article, she said, well, I’ll try, but … And it was obvious from there that this was a hit piece. I think her kindness is bullshit.

    • PlainOldTruth

      False “kindness” is a standard con artist tactic, to disarm. Predators use it. Narcissists need to believe they are good and liked. The Washington Post’s Junior Journalette has her eye on the Promised Land of Post-Patriarchal Utopia (the formula for which her indoctrinators built on the post-economic version of Marxist theory created by the Frankfurt School thinkers). She KNOWS that fatherhood (“patriarchy”) is the source of all the violence and poverty in all world history. She KNOWS it. And she has been taught that you have false consciousness. To the Utopianist lies are OK. The lies are the means to “change.” (Since they believe humans are, in essence, merely malleable (conditionable) animals and that all consciousness is pure “social construction.”)

      • sevanclaig

        Well disseminated.

    • Mark

      They already know what picture they’re going to make before they look for the collage pieces to make it from.

    • Dagda Mór

      The best place to hide a knife is behind a smile.

  • Victor Zen

    I am repeatedly disappointed to learn that no one cares about facts, just confirmation of their dumb preconceptions.

    Reporters won’t even write a simple email to ask questions or check facts. They simply decide what the facts must be, and use brand recognition to validate their overinflated egos. Even when a reporter is dead wrong, that is enough to solicit ratings and back pats.

    Is objectivity really this hard to pull off?

    The punditry and intellectual prostitution has been wearing on my nerves for a long time. The Raw Story pre-emptively bans the people they write about from commenting. Freelance writers openly present speculation as fact. The founder of Animal NY publicly picks on autistic kids after making up a false family narrative for people he could have simply approached and talked to. And now this.

    Folks, I’m only 23 and I’ve stood in front of courts that were willing to throw men under the bus. I (among other MHRAs) called reporters myself, literally throwing a human rights story in their fucking laps, and they STILL won’t report on it. Why? Why won’t people actually follow up on work that was done FOR THEM? Why won’t they take even just ONE FUCKING SECOND to make sure they are doing their jobs with a modicum of decency and professionalism?

    I can’t keep my composure anymore.

    WHY?! Why is this SO FUCKING HARD, you egomaniacal MSM ASSHATS?!

    • Robert Franklin

      Don’t despair. There are people who are for us, people who are against us and people who haven’t made up their minds. Hesse is in the middle group. The ship of state is travelling away from men and our legitimate issues; it’s up to us to turn it around and much progress has been made toward doing that. But the MSM is generally in the business of manufacturing consent for elite values which tends to mean the status quo. (Have you read the Chomsky/Hermann book?) That makes our job hard but far from impossible. The hypocrisy that inevitably results when people try to hang on to their ill-gotten power (as with feminists) always turns out to be a boon to their opposition, i.e. us. We see this every day with feminists. They just can’t seem to get out of their own way. But be advised, feminists aren’t going away. They’ll be here shouting about rape culture or whatever their cause du jour is when you’re 83. Our job is to fight back. The beauty part is that we have facts, logic and common decency on our side.

      • PlainOldTruth

        I like to do a table-turning by pointing out each point on the “gender” shopping list (pay myth, rule of thumb, chicks don’t hit, etc) are out-and-out frauds, plus add bonuses that come to mind (like my personal favorite,”female serial killers are rare.” – “No they aren’t. I’ll give you a list of 800.”) — and then close with a positive note. I acknowledge that he/she is indeed a VICTIM, a victim of academic fraud, and the suggest they demand full tuition refund from every professor, every college, that lied to them. I recommend that they sue and ask for punitive damages, too.

        “Yes, young lady / young man, you are indeed a victim and you deserve all your money back. You don’t still have debt for student loans do you? — Really? — Then, go for it!

    • Nostradormouse

      Ad revenue. Political agendas. Control. Bigotry. Laziness. Group-think. Habit. Fashion. “I vas only obeynk ze orders”. Cowardice. Lack of a Moral Compass. Life-long indoctrination. Institutionalisation. Organisationally prudent behaviour becoming second nature by erosion, assimilation, absorbtion, osmosis, capilliary action, weathering, constipation, gravity, inertia, thermo-dynamics, etc.

      Take your pick.

      Not one of them singly or even all of them in combination is a good enough reason.

    • TPH

      My view is that the media has simply devolved into editorializing in the guise of reporting. The personal is political in these reportitutes minds, their self absorbed view of the world is all that matters since they willingly whore themselves out to anyone who will pay them for their written viewpoints, screw the facts – reporting has become a huge echo chamber for those who can’t form critical thought patterns.

      • DukeLax

        This is why many Americans are now finding other sources for their news that go around the “Big 5 media”.

        • PlainOldTruth

          Five big coffins for those five dinosaurs. The only way they can survive is to hire MHRA writers, and others, who will, on a daily basis, expose the lies of collectivist ideology and its adherents’ crimes (whether it be forcing fake rigged elections around the world at gunpoint in order to push collectivist anti-partiarchy (anti-father, anti-family) or, under a different banner (but same scam) doing it through internationalist NGOs and bait-and-switch authoritarian population-control scams like the technocratic EU).

          • DukeLax

            totally agree…Liberty and free enterprise was built on a degree of fair play…and these perverse / pork bloating triangles and manufactured statistics Alliances…… are undermining that!!

    • Daniel Freeman

      Read Influence by Cialdini. Spend a month on each chapter, meditating on it. Then re-read the preface, where he says that he won’t even address incentive because it’s too self-evident and rational, and he’s only going to explain the senseless. Then you will understand, and weep, and harden your heart against them; for they are the saddest victims, and the worst perpetrators.

    • Zane

      Heh. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story? Though Hesse’s “story” is about as interesting as the toilet paper I use to wipe my ass with.

    • PlainOldTruth

      Re: “WHY?! Why is this SO FUCKING HARD?!”

      — You can get the answer(s) from Jonathan Taylor (A Voice for Male Students) and Dr. Janice Fiamengo (Professor of English, University of Ottawa). They are from the academic field of English and have a high level of awareness of precisely what the purpose of today’s humanities departments are. Science and engineering majors seldom realize what is going on down the hall at the humanities departments.

      And here is the solution. The liars can just go effing bankrupt — or, alternatively they will have to stop reporting news as if it were “gender studies” (projections, lies, fraud):

      The man who was laughed at: The man who predicted the future of the media (38 minutes): “Matt Drudge Creator of Drudge Report Full Press Conference” – (1998)

  • PlainOldTruth

    “More lies are spoken and written about the family than any other subject.”

    (p. 7, from book: Ferdinand Mount, The Subversive Family: An Alternative History of Love and Marriage,
    London:1982; New York: 1992]

    And there is a reason for the lies. Mount’s book is indispensable. It sets the record straight on so much of the history that has been presented by the establishment in wildly distorted, ideologically motivated form.

    • Daniel Freeman

      Book ordered. Thanks for the rec!

      • PlainOldTruth

        “Freeman” Verrrry suspicious handle, I must say! You shall enjoy the book. The man is a WRITER. It is utterly packed with historical info and profound insight. It was “unpublishable” in the US for a decade (too “subversive”). — From an old review: “Mount argues that our society has been shaped by a series of
        powerful revolutionary movements, the leaders of which, whether they be politicians,
        theologians, feudal lords, or feminist writers, have done their utmost –
        ultimately unsuccessfully – to render the family subordinate to their purpose.”

        • Daniel Freeman

          I’m a huge admirer of Morgan. Amazing actor. The fact that his name was perfect for a MGTOW just sealed the deal, had to steal it.

  • Lastango

    My conclusion is that she’s probably absorbed gender feminist narratives for so long that she truly thinks they’re the norm, that a different construction of reality is, intellectually, an alien species.

    My read is somewhat different. There are far too many feminist touchstones in Hesse’s piece for it to come from an absorbed, distanced awareness of gender feminist narratives.

    My sense is Hesse used her extensive connections to the feminist matrix to shop her experiences around to feminist activists, so she could gather up their professional-level input.

    For Hesse, this has two benefits. First, she won’t overlook any hard-hitting critiques; she can count on her friends to come up with all sorts of angles, and little knives she can stick in the MHRM’s back.

    Second, she protects her relationships with the sisterhood by adopting its tone. If they are alarmed, angry, and aggressive, she knows she needs to be all those things too in order to protect her future access to the feminist establishment… a very valuable thing in view of the Democrats’ now-established strategy of making the War on Women a centerpiece of their election campaigns.

    Overall, Monica Hesse on the telephone failed to live up to the stereotype of the misandric feminist. She came across as neither doctrinaire nor steeped in the sort of absurd notions about men and women we so often get from run-of-the-mill anti-reality feminists.

    Perhaps that’s because Hesse didn’t have access to her network. Without them there to guide her, she’s like Barak Obama when his teleprompter shuts down, and his speeches suddenly go from brilliant to banal.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com John Narayan

      She has, I had dinner with her at the pub where she argued all the hollow 15 second sound bites with another fellow at our table.

  • John Rew

    I have not had much to do with reporters but I would imagine that their job would require them to be like used car salesmen. After all if you cannot seem friendly and interested you wont get much info when you do want it. Anyone who comes away from a car yard and says he seemed nice is showing gullibility. It’s important to remember that journalistic integrity will usually come second to ambition and just plain keeping your job. Monica Hesse was obviously given a job to do and she did it.

  • crydiego

    My question to Monica is: Where are the feminist leaders? Where are those women that can speak for the majority of the feminist movement? Where are the figure heads that should have your back?

    The girls at collages are finding that there is no one backing them up and even the gender studies profs hide in their offices. The protesters against the conference were ragtag and unfocused so they resorted to death threats to a hotel! Feminist bloggers are becoming lone voices speaking to followers but with no back up from current leaders. Then there are journalist like Monica who defend feminism but have no leaders to quote. NOW has become NOT-NOW.

    Where are their champions? Where are any unifying voices for feminist?

    What I think I’m seeing is that feminism left the building many years ago and we have won but we just don’t know it yet. The feminist castle is empty. The royalty that once resided there has gone out to rule small queendoms that they alone rule for their own profit. When feminism became ubiquitous it became NAFALT and inept.

    • Daniel Freeman

      But of course they’re just resting on their laurels. They already won all their legitimate goals, if there ever were any (an assertion that I would challenge); all that’s left is milking the cows.

      You know the difference between a short con and a long con, right? One treats the mark like a fryer, the other like a layer. One takes them for all that they’re worth, while the other makes them comfortable and keeps on coming back for more.

      We’re upstart vigilante regulators, going up against a practiced network of professional con artists on a global long job, and we can’t ever forget it.

      • Lastango

        Excellent analogy!

        • crydiego

          I believe the right is just as bad as the left. Both sides view men as expendable and people of lesser value. Defining his struggle as left and right only divides us. I’m sure that’s not what you want.

          • Lastango

            Two points:

            — attacking the Left does not absolve complacent Republicans and other pseudo-conservatives who refuse to kick the sleeping dogs of the established system or political-correctness culture.

            — while not everyone on the Right is complacent and complicit in allowing and perpetuating abuses against human rights for men, it it dead certain that 100% of progressives and other cultural Marxists are. Even more than being complicit/complacent, the Left is working actively against human rights for men.

            It’s critical to know who our most vigorous enemies are. Otherwise, we end up with a moral equivalence that hides the truth and dilutes our focus. For instance, the GOP does absolutely nothing to help men, but the GOP is not out there inventing Rape Culture, using the public education system to crush the masculinity and self-confidence of schoolboys, suppressing speech on campus, terrorizing men who are students within the university gulag, or storming MHRM meetings. All that, and worse, is a product of the feminist/Marxist/progressivist Left — not only here, but all around the world.

          • crydiego

            I don’t much care what the politics are of a person are as
            long as they support equal treatment under the law. I don’t care about their
            religion which I’m sure they have views on. I don’t care about the
            social/regional backgrounds, their race, sexual orientation, or any number of
            personal factor that make up a person. All these things I mentioned are ways to divide people like politics.

            When we work for a salary we don’t question the politics of everyone and only cooperate with the good people, we have a job to do.

            Politics divides people. Look at feminism and see what happens if you side with a party…any party or political viewpoint. They are like The Blob that eats you in order to grow.

            The question remains; Do you want to divide the Men’s Human Rights Movement down political lines? It is a job that we all need to get done.

            If we can stay together, we will win. Half the population cannot be ignored.

          • Lastango

            I was replying to your comment “I believe the right is just as bad as the left”.

          • crydiego

            All the best and I’m proud to be here with you.

          • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

            ” For instance, the GOP does absolutely nothing to help men, but the GOP is not out there inventing Rape Culture, using the public education system to crush the masculinity and self-confidence of schoolboys, suppressing speech on … … ”

            They are really, because they are funding it.

            (As are many lawyers.)

          • Lastango

            They are indeed funding it. When it comes to facing up to tough challenges like the systematic oppression of men, the Republican establishment is about a useful as a pitcher of warm spit.

      • crydiego

        “Milking the cows,” I love your comments. You have a very good point about the con.
        I still think that we need to call out their leaders and prove them lacking but none are public enough for the victory to mean anything.

        • Daniel Freeman

          Leaders don’t matter. Look at the rotting corpse of Christianity, crawling with maggots that squeak out over the airwaves that you’ll get rich if you give them money. Prosperity cultists following in the unhallowed steps of Simon the Magician, using Christ’s name as an incantation for a spell that you can use to make a binding contract with the universe, like a village wizard or hedge-witch. Really, just con artists pulling the most transparent long con ever.

          No one has to tell them what to bleat over the podium on Sunday. They all look at each other and see what works and what doesn’t, and just some are better than others at copying the ones that earn bigger theaters for their performances. Ignore how whenever he’s about to lie, he looks up and flutters his eyes like a small child preparing to charm his mother, like an old man still practicing the trick that he learned worked as a toddler. Give him money, and you’ll get rich!

          Pah. Leaders don’t matter for con artists. Whether feminists or preachers, they don’t need a course to teach them how to trade on the pretense of being holy and righteous. Some will do better than others; some will soar while others tread water. Pigs get fat while hogs get slaughtered; cows get fucked, and wouldn’t you rather be a bull?

          The invisible hand is sweaty with desire and shaky with need, but even with religion and politics, it still funnels the money to those better at giving what you what you think you want. That is the way of things, and wishing it were otherwise won’t make it so. Only hard work can root up the dead stumps in the field. Only persistence can pull each rock out of the soil, one by one, and lay them down over the long years into a sturdy wall.

          The task that we have set ourselves will be hard and long, but not beyond our abilities; because our opponents are no better than ourselves, and lazier, or they wouldn’t have set their hands to grifting in the first place.

          • crydiego

            Religion, I avoid the subject.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com John Narayan

      Where are the feminist leaders?

      Pulling the strings of the useful idiot puppets like her.

  • Roby 83

    The deceptive hostility of feminist journalists against men’s rights confirms that there is a real issue

  • Emahray Trolle

    Here is one graphic artist’s take on media coverage of the recent conference :

  • http://batman-news.com MGTOW-man

    Robert, it was great meeting you in the lobby and having a chat with several of us about various things that can be summarized as the imbedded misandry accepted in our cultures. I wanted to speak with many more writers, leaders, and staff but found everyone incredibly busy.

    Anyway, the Post “journalist” sat in the lobby too for part of our discussion. I noticed she was so busy making sure she wrote down nearly all that was said in such a hurried manner—even little, mundane stuff—that there is no way she could note the atmosphere and actual context in which things were spoken. She clearly was disconnected.

    I later noticed how well she integrated

  • DukeLax

    Excellent piece MR Franklin. More and more each day we are growing the field for professional MRM pundits!!!

  • earth one

    Another shallow, neotonous blond white 20-something claiming to be a “journalist.” Does anyone ever notice, it’s always the blond white girls who get these jobs as feminist mouthpieces for the mainstream media? Hmmmm….

  • Mark

    I think your characterization of her brand of feminism describes most feminists I know – there’s no conscious hatred there because there doesn’t have to be – like nineteenth century colonialists were not consciously racist when they portrayed darker-skinned people as savage brutes – to them it’s just a statement of fact in the culture they inhabit.

    • garyonthenet

      Like I always say, the casinos don’t have to cheat to win – it’s already a part of their game.

    • PlainOldTruth

      I’ve known famous feminist intellectuals from the 60s who were very, very well-educated. The were dealing with what we would now call “equity feminism.” They know that the young’uns are UNEDUCATED people. They are merely the product of callous indoctrinators who see not person as human, but merely a formula of class+race+gender. Feminism is now inseparable from technocratic collectivism, a system of peer-pressure, Skinnerian behaviorism (pain compliance), surveillance, taxation, and threats of incarceration that favors the narcissist ans sociopath. in our midst. No hard-core feminist now believes in the rights of individual women, really. They believe in Race war, class war, and the end of sexual bonding in the natural family unit. Feminism is merely a specialization within the (fiercely but incrementally and stealthily) coercive Class-Race-Gender agenda. The dummie coffee-shop feminists we encounter on a daily basis cannot articulate these beliefs very well — since they are unfamiliar with reasoned analysis and factual history — yet they do believe in the scam cult (Class-Race-Gender) nevertheless. It is a “faith.”

  • http://menaregood.com/ Tom Golden

    Thank you Robert Franklin for teaching about the inner workings of a “hatchet job” and clearly and painstakingly exposing the Hesse piece as being just that. I do feel that you are a bit more forgiving of Hesse than I can muster for myself. She is consciously turning a blind eye to the pain and hardships of half the population and then making fun of them in the process. This is the work of a bigot. Would we make excuses for southern whites bigotry in the 1950’s? I don’t think so. i would wager that they likely had “absorbed racist narratives for so long that they truly think that’s the norm,” But this lack of awareness of their own evil in no way excuses it. Hesse needs to be called out and called out hard.

  • Mark

    Just reading the article now: I think when she says “they sound like they could be feminists” she means that as a compliment. What she actually means is “they sound like they could be egalitarians” – she doesn’t know what our experience of feminists is like. She doesn’t know that feminists are the ones most likely to say our issues aren’t important, or are less important, or are essentially our own fault, or that it was feminism that makes ungenerous assumptions about male motivations that means they can say “I don’t need to understand your point of view; I already understand your point of view – you need to understand mine” – I think she’s speaking from the delusional point of view that feminism is an egalitarian movement.

    The thing with comparing income rates of custodial fathers and custodial mothers is it isn’t comparing like with like – if the children staying with the mother is considered the default, to be a custodial parent a father has to be significantly and demonstrably the one more capable of providing for the children – so the further down the economical scale you go the more likely the mother will be favoured; hence the average income for custodial fathers will be higher than for custodial mothers – that statistic doesn’t represent what it purports to.

    Oh and of course she thinks it’s balanced – it is halfway balanced between what actually happened, and what her readers want to hear happened – it’s an even balance of facts and fiction! The thing is, not usually finding myself in a group that is demonized by mainstream media I can only imagine, but I suspect, this is what the press nearly always do.

    • Robert Franklin

      Mark – I agree with your point that comparing NC mothers and NC fathers isn’t comparing like with like. But I would add that the distinction may also reflect not so much dads being better as moms being worse. My take on the statistic is that, it’s more likely that the fathers getting custody are doing so because the mothers are seriously lacking in numerous traits needed for competent parenting, not because the dads are so much better. That take is supported by the fact that only 28.8% of fathers with custody have an order of child support to be paid by the mother. In short, a huge percentage of NC mothers look so bad as to not even be ordered to pay support. Likewise, the median income for those custodial fathers is only about $36K per year, i.e. significantly below the national median. So these guys aren’t spectacular earners, but their exes are spectacular failures.

  • scanspeak
    • scanspeak

      Disregard the above. It appears to be an issue with Chrome.

  • pinetree

    The over 1200 comments are no longer accessible. What is up with that?

  • http://www.google.com Smiles

    It seems to me that Monica Hesse’s responses after the article was publish was more like what a child would say after getting caught doing something bad. Sort of like Robert Franklin was the parent asking “Why did you do this?”, “What were you thinking?” and all Hesse could do was stare off into space and say “I dunno…” over and over.

  • Graham Strouse

    Excellent job, Robert. this is the sort of piece that demands the skills of a proper lawyer for cross-examination. Looks like Monica couldn’t handle the truth.

    • PlainOldTruth

      “Progress” requires the elimination of “the patriarchy” (meaning two-parent families). Progressives can’t handle the truth. Try to get a job with the Washington Post as an objective evidence-based ideological minimalist journalist. Good luck. Progressivism is the worship of the distant future (paradise) which requires in the adherent deep psychological denial of every fact that interferes with the pretty vision of the future paradise.

      For the Progress zealot — the professional Progress-worshipper — the end justifies the means. The prime means is: LIES, LIES. LIES, backed up by denial, normalcy bias and inability to deal with cognitive dissonance.

  • Bluedrgn

    Did Terrence Popp actually say “That particular statistic is from my personal observations. I’m just speaking here as a dude.”? As a veteran myself I would not be surprised if those numbers were accurate… but that particular statement makes it seem like he is just making stuff up.

    • http://www.avoiceformen.com/ Dean Esmay

      We did what reporters didn’t–we asked him to clarify. They have surveys of thousands of vets from Afghanistan and Iraq. All it took was someone to ask. No reporter could be bothered to take the trouble.

      • Bluedrgn

        Good to know. I’m sure the anti-MRA crowd likes latching onto a statement like that to discredit us. I wouldn’t be surprised if his source was a briefing he received in the Army… but when put on the spot he realized he couldn’t site the Army as his source because of political fallout.

  • http://garycostanza.wordpress.com gary959

    Robert, that was a magnificent article – Bravo! Students of journalism should read your piece to learn how TO, and how NOT TO, write.

    It was great meeting you at the conference; your presentation was amazing!

  • BeijaFlor

    I only wish that your phone interview with Monica Hesse had been a conference call, with her editor, the managing editor of the Post, and someone empowered to place her in a job that she might be able to handle – taking classified ads in the call center.

  • Renaissance Man

    It was great that the conference got so much coverage . . . unfortunately, media organizations sent out their least qualified people to cover it. This translated into the silly, dismissive presentations in Time or MSNBC . . . though it is good to critique the ‘reporters,’ the decision to send such poorly equipped writers was probably understood to indicate that the conference and its issues should be covered this way. In others words, I am very clumsily trying to say that the editors set the tone.

  • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry


    What a lovely piece of writing.

    I’ve always been jealous of your ability when it comes to thinking and writing.

    You are a huge weapon.

  • Hospital Chaplain

    You wrote the following:

    contacted Popp before running this piece on The Washington Post‘s hatchet job,
    and he affirmed that not only did Monica Hesse ask him no questions, either
    during or after the conference, but neither has any other member of the press
    contacted him about his presentation or his statistics—other than A Voice for
    Men and The Honey Badger Brigade.”

    to be clear, there is *no* doubt that Popp was questioned about his statistics
    at the conference. And there is *no* doubt that he made up the statistics:

    First, thank you for your service. Secondly, the statistic that

    percent of those who are deployed are divorced by the time they return, and

    percent within five years—where did you find that statistic?

    Popp:) Well, first of all, that particular statistic is from my

    observation. Maybe it’s different for the military in general, but

    troops—men that are up in the front lines or subject to high deployment

    close to that number. Again, these are—I’m just speaking as a dude,

    these are my observations and my opinion.


    The question is whether a member of the press
    asked him this question not whether the question was asked. The
    transcript of the session does not indicate whether it was a member of the
    press who asked him about his statistics so I don’t know how Popp could say
    that it wasn’t a member of the press. To be fair, it is entirely possible
    that individuals who were from the press had badges on identifying themselves
    as such otherwise, how could Popp have known one way or the other?

    Finally, given that Popp admitted to making up numbers, then by definition,
    these numbers can’t rightfully be called “statistics.”