I wonder how many journalists get death threats?

The media love to motivate the public against ?politicians.

They think that they are holier than thou and don’t think for a minute of the effects of their attacks.

The pay may be good, but many of our MPs face death threats and attacks on their homes, staff and families.

A study based on an anonymous survey of 102 sitting MPs found nearly all of them had been subjected to unwanted harassment. More than one in 10 had been assaulted, and a similar number had been stalked, or had received deaths threats.

One in three had suffered property damage at the hands of angry constituents, and half had been physically confronted by their harassers. Most had been harassed more than once.

Sue Bradford received two death threats during the passage of the so-called anti-smacking bill.

One received 1080 poison in the mail, another had their back door smashed and a bullet thrown through the window of their family home, terrifying their daughter and partner.

Attacks have involved a gun, a molotov cocktail, sticks and placards.

The authors of the study have called for better monitoring of threats to MPs, warning they are often lightning rods for a small group of severely mentally ill people who pose a serious risk to the public at large.

But it isn’t just politicians they go after.

They went after me twice last year. Both attacks resulted in long term harassment both online and via the mail which also included death threats against me, my family and rape threats against my teenage daughter.

One person was particularly vicious and is now before the courts and bizarrely pleading not guilty despite sending emails saying precisely how he would kill me and any Police who came to arrest him.

None of the politicians or indeed me would have been targets if not for media attention first I suspect.

“Once someone gets to that last-resort thinking and acts on their threats, it may be people that are more accessible that become the victims,” co-author Susanna Every-Palmer, of Otago University, Wellington, said.

These “fixated people” were usually severely mentally ill, though she stressed that the vast majority of mentally ill people were not dangerous.

Even as a psychiatrist dealing daily with mental illness, she said she was shocked by some of the abuse our politicians endured. “What the MPs reported, having their family affected, it was really a notch up.”

You should see the abuse that arrives in my inbox almost every day. Pete has seen it…it is not pleasant. But it is part of the job, an unpleasant part, but still part of the job.

It is made worse though when some of the abuse is from media people. One such person just today thinks it is nothing that I was hacked…but that’s probably because he was involved.

 

– Fairfax

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