The SMH Published A Katherine Deves Sob Story On Today’s Front Page

The SMH did not fact-check any of her claims about trans people.

katherine deves smh

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The Sydney Morning Herald has platformed prominent anti-trans candidate Katherine Deves on its front page on Friday in an editorial that frames her as a victim.

Deves — who is running for the seat of Warringah against Zali Steggall — and her trans-exclusionary women in sport campaign has dominated the election campaign thus far and, by the looks of the SMH editorial, it will continue to do so.

The article ran with the online headline ‘‘Not my fault’ if moderate Liberals lose seats: Katherine Deves’ and a much more sympathetic print headline and featured a lengthy interview in which Deves “repeatedly burst into tears and spoke of “dark moments” she has experienced after her incendiary comments propelled her to become one of the election’s most high-profile candidates”.

This isn’t the first time Nine Entertainment Co — the parent company of the SMH — has platformed transphobic views, with The Age publishing a similar opinion piece just last month.

Throughout the interview, Deves made a number of claims that the SMH failed to scrutinise, including that the “overwhelming majority” of Australians agree with her opinion on women’s sport.

“Polling has shown that the overwhelming majority of Australians agree with my position on women’s sport. I would say to those other candidates they’re not reading the room,” she claimed.

But despite the fact that it was mere weeks ago that the SMH reported that a majority of female athletes support the inclusion of trans women, the publication neglected to back up Deves’ claim with any evidence or refute it in any way. There is also a recent report from Equality Australia that refutes this, with research showing “overwhelming support” among Australians.

Deves has also previously claimed that trans children are being “surgically mutilated and sterilised”. When asked if she supported surgical transitioning, Deves reportedly broke down in tears before claiming that all she wanted to do was “stand up for the people of Warringah.

“I can’t go there — I can’t talk about this subject,” she said. “All I wanted to do was stand up for the people of Warringah and give them a voice back. I did not expect that some tweets about a complex, nuanced argument that I’d been having before I’d even considered putting my hand up for politics were going to dominate my campaign.

“I wouldn’t be human if I said this whole process hasn’t affected me, to see it turned into what it was turned into by the press. I was distraught and it caused me distress.”

It remains unclear if the interview was authorised by the Liberal party — which would not be surprising considering how closely parties monitor media appearances ahead of an election.

When asked about any authorisation by the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas on RN Radio this morning, campaign spokesperson Anne Ruston was quick to distance herself from Deves’ comments.

“The comments that have been made by Ms Deves, I would distance myself from them entirely,” she told PK, repeatedly dodging the question of whether or not the interview was authorised by the party. When pressed further, Ruston said she “highly doubts” it was authorised, but did not outright deny it.

“Well, as far as I’m aware, I wouldn’t know necessarily but I would highly doubt that our campaign would authorise the kinds of comments that have been made by Ms Deves because we have distanced ourselves from those comments,” she said.