Friday, November 16, 2012

If you don't like it don't read? My take on #fakemamamia

For god's sake, if you don't like it don't read it.


So if I don't like The Australian should I not worry about the impact that its opinion and reporting might have on politics and policy?

And if I don't like Alan Jones, should I not just switch off the radio and stop this ridiculous #destroythejoint 'ing?

And if Vile Kyle or A Current Affair are not my cup of tea should I just keep my radio dial firmly plastered to anything starting with ABC?

No, of course not. If I don't like these media outlets I have every right to voice my concerns, whether that be letters to the editor or corporate sponsors, signing a petition or participating in a satirical hashtag or two. 

Mamamia is a commercial website not a personal blog. It makes money via advertising revenue and it is aimed squarely at women like me. The fact that the brand Mamamia is heavily identified with the founder of this website does not make critiquing Mamamia the same as being mean to Mia Freedman. 

I have been reading through the #fakemamamia tweets and the vast bulk of them are spot on, so much so that it can be hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. They skewer the faux-feminism that is so reminiscent of what mainstream media has always offered women. 

I understand the impulse to wish we would all just "play nice" but don't believe they are justified given the increasingly nasty tone of so many dinner party conversations in Mamamia land. 


  1. It's a wonder that #fakemamamia ripostes haven't been labelled 'cat fight'. Good point, mamabook, about distinction between the commercial website and the person who fronts it.

  2. Agree completely. More should be mindful of the distinction between the person and the commercial website. Some of the hatred that has been directed to Mia personally over the last few years is just disgraceful and can never be justified.

    1. Yep, disagree with personal attacks but at same time recognise that she is not above those sort of attacks on occasion herself. And the angle of many articles really troubles me.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Yes Yes Yes!!! Finally someone else thinks the same as I have been. I have long wondered why people take any critique of the website Mamamia as a personal attack on Mia Freedman.

    Why people get offended if someone dares to point out factual errors in a blog post?

    The "Miaphiles" as I like to call them parade out the tired worn out line 'Mia does this out of the goodness of her heart, she lets us read this for free so if there are any mistakes, you should just keep it to yourself and never ever point them out"

    The Miaphiles seem to think that Mia is doing them a favour by "letting" them read the site. They seem to forget she is making money off them. No she doesn't charge the readers to access the content but she sells the readers to advertisers and she is making enough money from that to employ a large staff, so the argument she is operating something as a free service is totally incorrect. The readers are the value of the site, not the other way around. people seem to forget this point and seem to be happy to sell themselves short.

    It also drives me crazy when it is pointed out that a post contains many errors, poor reporting or just down right biased commentary, the reader gets told, "We are just a small site with a few staff, we cant be expected to get everything right, we are not the ABC" Well, actually you put yourself out there as a "current affairs" site, you employ staff and you make a lot of money from it, so yes I do expect you to fact check, spell check, write unbiased reports as opposed to just saying they are "opinion" pieces. Don't sell yourself as one thing when it suits, but pull out the "we are just a small start up when you want to play victim"

    I also think she is doing a massive disservice to her contributors by never paying them. She is making a lot of money so why are the writers not getting any compensation for their work? She is taking advantage of people and it is wrong.

    I really hope Mia takes notice of the #fakemamamia movement as there are a lot of people making really valid observations. Unfortunately it has been my experience in the past that Mia NEVER apologises or acknowledges mistakes or when she gets something wrong so I am not expecting anything to change.

    Finally, the site has lost a lot of great commentators in the comments section over the years, many have tried to let Mia and the staff know why they are leaving before it happens but again, Mia does not seem interested in any feedback. her stock response is 'Our hits indicate we are as popular as ever so we don't think your complaint about xyz is valid"
    One look at the comment numbers over the past 6 months would tend to dispute Mias claims and show that readership has and continues to decline.

    Great article!!! many thanks for the opportunity to comment

    1. I love this comment - it really deserves to be called a blog post! So many great points. And I agree that many times people try to engage with the website (not just Mia) on the issues and they are largely ignored.
      I find the level of journalism pretty depressing. eg referencing one expert in an article and then claiming that this is the only legitimate point of view (ignoring whole other bodies of evidence and thought).
      I don't hold out a lot of hope for MM changing in any fundamental way but celebrating fact that people are speaking out.

    2. Yes, 100% agree with both of you here. I stopped visiting MM must be at least a year ago now. It just went downhill and whenever you tried to politely bring it up and perhaps nudge them in the right direction you were completely shut down. And I knew it was not just me as I watched several others comment & the same.

      MM was like the kid in class where you felt like saying you are selling yourself short. Has

    3. Note to self: don't comment via iPhone as it never works.

      Anyway an sure you get my gist. Thanks for posting (& C's comment, too!)

    4. I do! Get your gist that is. And yes, I think some of the feeling is also disappointment because we know it could be so much better.

  4. Nodding. It's a web-based women's magazine. It can't really be defined as journalism, can it? (Except while Rick was writing there, perhaps.) The 'not read it' thing should apply mainly to personal bloggers who's viewpoint doesn't sit well with your own.

    The disappointing mainstream media outlets however who also purport to be 'journalism' (and indeed once were), will continue to spout the 'we're just giving our public what they demand'. UM...chicken-egg? Cut the bullshit and feed us better eggs, media chickens.

    1. Yes, don't read it is fair enough if talking personal blog but not mainstream media. And I don't think it can be defined as journalism. The articles that have any research behind them usually quote one source only and then take that as the final word on a subject (I won't list examples but a few spring to mind).
      I think your chicken egg analogy is spot on ;-)

  5. Regular reader of the MM site, regularly frustrated by the poor standard of articles published there.I was not aware until yesterday that most of the articles were pro bono, amazed that ethically that is ok with Mia. The site has drastically changed in the past 12 months. The attitude that comes across is it`s my site so STFU but make sure you visit my online store to copy this celeb`s style. In the attempt to build up her online empire (LOL) she perhaps is losing touch with her readership?

    1. The fact that all writers are not paid on MM is shocking. Much smaller publications with less revenue sources pay writers - and even when that payment is small it is a matter of respect.

  6. I migrated to The Hoopla long ago. I was never a big MM reader, though. I disagreed with a post on The Hoopla once - the comment thread was great and Wendy Harmer herself came into the discussion - I disagreed with her, but it led to a very engaged discussion, not being shut down. I really respected her and The Hoopla for this. The #fakemamamia hashtag is hilarious.

    1. Yep, Hoopla is definitely a step up. Different tone and real debate. No mag will ever be perfect but it feels like they are genuinely trying to create something better.
      I hate the way criticism is handled (or not) on MM. Everything seems to become v personal rather than honest exploration of an issue.
      And yes, #fakemamamia hashtag is hilarious (mostly).

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