Meghan Markle and unethical journalism practices

ABIGAIL BENNETHUM, Opinion Columnist

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In October of 2019, I wrote a piece on Meghan Markle’s interview with Tom Bradby. It was an interview that changed a lot of people’s perspectives on what it means to be in the spotlight. This heartbreaking interview showed the harsh reality of her newfound role as the Duchess of Sussex and balancing her new role as a mother, which brought much more than she thought. The world was shocked when she expressed that not many people have asked her if she was okay. New mothers and individuals everywhere immediately empathized with Markle sending her love and starting #weloveyoumegan in support and reassurance that she is not alone.

Just recently, I heard the announcement that Markle and Prince Harry are leaving the Royal Palace because of the desire to be financially independent as a new family. Now, I am not a specialist on the Royal Family or any of their laws, though I get the impression that casually leaving the royal palace and their job duties are not something that easily happens. After much more research and coming upon a Twitter thread, I have gathered they couldn’t take the constant backlash anymore.

Before I get into this article, I want to put a disclaimer that I am not an expert on any of this and it is simply an opinion from the abundance of articles and Twitter threads I have read in curiosity and preparation for this piece. Secondly, I understand headlines are crafted to grab people’s attention and make an article look appealing, however, if using racism, double standards and pinning individuals against each other is what journalism news has come to, count me and the majority out.

There are two main issues I see with this jumble of a mess. The first being the constant double standards and racism thrown at Markle, all while pinning her and Kate Middleton against each other for no reason. The second reason being the total lack of ethical standards from some highly ranked British news sources. Before I get into my reasoning, I want to mention the majority of the information I read is from a Twitter thread from a Megan Markle fan page called “Sussex Family Fighter.”  Although this page is obviously in favor of Markle and showing the reality of the British media, they do mention some positive media Markle and Harry have experienced. In this thread, they explained years’ worth of media headline pages and evidence showing just how much Markle has endured during her time with Prince Harry.

First of all, the double standards between Markle and Middleton are horrible. The double standard I noticed was the comparison of the two women’s pregnancy bumps. Daily Mail praised Middleton saying, “Kate tenderly cradles her baby bump while wrapping up her royal duties,” while accusing Markle of having vanity, branding her as less of a mother saying, “Why can’t Markle keep her hands off of her bump? Experts tackle the question that has got the nation talking: Is it pride, vanity, or acting – or a new age bonding technique?”

Next, Express-News reports on a story claiming Middleton had cured her morning sickness after she was gifted with an avocado. However, when Markle has an avocado, she is linked to the abuse of human rights, drought and millennial shame. Throughout the article Express uses words to make Middleton sound like a delicate flower being gifted this almighty fruit by a little boy whose mom is also suffering from pregnancy, making it sound like this innocent and heartwarming piece. While Markle is being perceived as “wolfing down a fruit linked to water shortages, illegal deforestation, and all-around environmental devastation.” It simply baffles me that we are taught in college and throughout life to be honest and ethical, while people are getting paid to write fake news. These people aren’t journalists, but simply liars.

But hold on, there’s more.

In addition to the never-ending double standards, Markle has also been faced with a multitude of racist headlines and comments mostly from Daily Mail and Traditional Britain. Now, let me ask you, why haven’t these news sources been “canceled” like every other celebrity or influencer who has also been guilty of the same thing? Why are we letting major news sources idly go by without any repercussions? Is it simply because we are used to turning our heads from problems such as this, or is it less relevant because it is a news source and not an individual person? As I am not comfortable repeating the degrading slander Daily Mail has used to describe Markle and where she has come from, I urge you to research and educate yourselves of the unethical practices this news source has been spreading.

As usual, I want to leave readers with something to think about, as we have been the generation who is pushing change, we should take this opportunity to go out into the world after graduation and change the game. Fill the positions of the people who are writing these unethical stories about things that more than likely didn’t even happen. Create content that is true and exciting to read without having to reach for the most far-fetched and untrue stories.