Fox News host Gregg Jarrett defended his decision to continue referring to Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning - formerly known as Bradley Manning - as a man, boasting, "I don't do what Bradley Manning wants me to do."
During the August 23 edition of America's Newsroom, Jarrett invited former prosecutor Annemarie McAvoy to discuss the prospect that Manning might sue to access appropriate medical treatment - including hormone therapy - while serving her sentence in a military prison for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. On August 22, Manning announced in a statement to NBC that she wished to be identified as a woman, explicitly asking to be referred to as Chelsea or using female pronouns.
Jarrett repeatedly referred to Manning as a male and used the name Bradley throughout the segment. At the end of the interview, Jarrett defended his decision to misgender Manning, saying:
JARRETT: People out there, don't send me angry emails that I refered to him as Bradley and not Chelsea and him instead of her. I don't do what Bradley Manning wants me to do. So thanks very much.
Prison can be a magical place for transgender people, especially once you get over the whole "rape" thing. That's according to an op-ed in The Daily Beast which suggests that Chelsea Manning - formerly known as Bradley Manning - might be treated like "royalty" as a transgender inmate in an all-male prison. The op-ed has already drawn criticism, prompting an editor's note in which The Daily Beast acknowledged the existence of prison rape but continued to ignore the horrific conditions experienced by transgender inmates in particular.
On August 22, The Daily Beast published an op-ed by columnist Mansfield Frazier titled, "How Will Chelsea Manning Be Treated In Prison?" The op-ed sought to downplay concerns that Bradley Manning - who recently announced her desire to be identified as a female named Chelsea - might be subject to violence and abuse once she begins her prison sentence for leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks.
According to Frazier - who bases his claims on his own experience in prison - the astronomical rates of rape and sexual assault against transgender prison inmates are overblown and exaggerated. In fact, in the original version of the piece, Frazier suggested most inmates who claim to be raped secretly want it:
[L]ife in prison is more complex than many statistics suggest. When I was in the joint, rape wasn't just something you could let happen to you.
Indeed, the vast majority of experienced convicts know that "true" rape is not a common occurrence in prison. That doesn't mean that homosexual sex doesn't occur--it certainly does. But it's really not that unusual for a new prisoner to show up on the compound and begin walking around the yard in pants far too tight. Before long they drop the soap in the shower, get a little close to another naked man, and then-- simply because they've never been able to come to terms with their own sexuality--tell anyone who will listen (but, interestingly enough, they usually never complain to the guards) that they were "raped." And a week or two later it could happen again, and then again.
To further prove his point, Frazier states - without citing a shred of evidence - that the desire to have gay sex and claim it was rape is why many prisoners choose to go back to prison once they've been released:
Quiet as it's kept, this is one reason for high recidivism rates. In prison, closeted homosexuals can receive what they desire but are able to maintain to the world they really find such behavior disgusting; in this manner they don't have to take responsibility for what happened to them.
Following the announcement that former Army private Bradley Manning identifies as female and wishes to be referred to as Chelsea Manning, cable news outlets continued to identify Manning as a male.
During the August 22 edition of NBC's Today, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie read a statement from Bradley Manning - who was recently convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks - announcing the former Army private's desire to live as a female and be identified as Chelsea Manning:
In the statement, Manning specifically stated a desire to be referred to using female pronouns:
As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility).
Despite Manning's request to be identified as a female, cable news outlets continued to incorrectly refer to her as a male.
Fox News launched an aggressive campaign to smear a California law that would protect transgender public school students from discrimination. And because the network's coverage of the law lacked commentary from experts or actual transgender people, Fox's commentators were able to manufacture wild horror stories based largely on transphobic misinformation.
On August 12, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a law that would prohibit public schools from barring transgender students access to school facilities and athletic teams that correspond to their gender identity. In the days before and after the bill was signed into law, Fox News commentators peddled a number of baseless attacks on the measure:
Fox's fear mongering was based on several flawed right-wing talking points about the law, including the claim that male students would pretend to be transgender to sneak into the girls' bathroom and the assertion that students are too young to understand gender identity issues.
Fox News continued its attack on a California law granting transgender students access to appropriate school facilities by touting the wildly exaggerated fears of a transphobic California lawmaker.
During the August 19 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy interviewed California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-33), who claims to have recently pulled one of his sons out of public school in response to the passage of the student non-discrimination law.
During the segment - which opened with Fox's classic "P.C. Police" intro - Donnelly warned that the measure would make students uncomfortable by forcing them to be "naked in front of someone that you might want to ask out":
Doocy expressed agreement with Donnelly's criticism, touting an effort to repeal the law through a referendum and even reading from a WND column in which Donnelly stoked fears that California's law might "increase the likelihood of sexual assault on campus."
If there's any doubt how clueless conservative media figures are when it comes to transgender issues, the recent freak out over California's new student non-discrimination law should put it to rest.
For the past several weeks, conservative media outlets have been stoking fears about a new California law that will allow transgender students to have access to school facilities and sports teams that match their gender identity. The law has drawn criticism from outlets like Fox News, which warns that the law will allow boys to sneak into girls' bathrooms and engage in inappropriate behavior.
Case in point: Media Research Center Content Specialist Dan Joseph, who on August 15 released a video in which he poses as a transgender female and asks a woman if she would be comfortable with him using the same restroom as her:
JOSEPH: Excuse me. Are you going into the locker room?
JOSEPH: My name is Dan. I'm a transgender. So that means I have the man parts but inside I feel more like a woman. I was just wondering, is it okay if I go in there with you in there and change and shower and stuff? Just because I don't really feel, like, comfortable in the men's area. It's just weird. Is that okay with you?
Other than attempting to feminize his voice, Joseph doesn't present himself in any way as a female in the clip. He is wearing men's clothing, has a full goatee, and goes by his male name, "Dan."
His impersonation is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with how conservative media imagine transgender people.
Fox News continued its fact-free attack on a proposed San Antonio ordinance to ban anti-LGBT discrimination, blatantly misrepresenting the measure while portraying it as an attack on "faith."
During the August 16 edition of Fox & Friends, guest host Shannon Bream invited San Antonio pastor Steven Branson to criticize a proposed non-discrimination ordinance that would:
Bream confused two separate portions of the ordinance, falsely stating that businesses owners would be barred from holding city contracts if they spoke out against homosexuality:
BREAM: A First Amendment battle heating up in San Antonio, Texas, as lawmakers consider a controversial measure that could block business owners from holding contracts with the city if they speak out against homosexuality based on their religious beliefs. That could include Christians who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. So does this wind up being a case of reverse discrimination, potentially?
BREAM: I know that this ordinance, which basically says that you can't hold certain positions or get work with this city - and it's in draft form now - if you speak out in "word or deed" against homosexuality.
NBC Universal has pledged to report on the impact of Russia's draconian new anti-gay laws during its exclusive coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics, but its financial stake in maintaining a positive relationship with the International Olympics Commission (IOC) raises questions about the network's ability to be objective in its reporting.
NBC has faced increasing pressure to report on Russia's harsh anti-gay laws - including a measure that bans vaguely defined pro-gay "propaganda" - during its coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi this February. Despite assurances from the IOC, Russian officials have warned that the law will be enforced against Olympians and visitors who display or demonstrate support for LGBT equality during the games.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, has stated that NBC will "acknowledge" the law in its coverage if it affects the Olympic Games in any way, saying, "If it is still their law and it is impacting any part of the Olympic Games, we will make sure that we acknowledge it and recognize it."
But NBC's ability to objectively cover the Olympic controversy is potentially threatened by the network's own financial interests. As Time magazine reporter Sean Gregory noted, NBC paid the IOC more than $4 billion for television rights to the Sochi Olympics, as well as rights to the 2016, 2018, and 2020 Olympics. The hefty price tag demonstrates how valuable NBC considers its exclusive access to the Olympic Games to be, an agreement which is granted by the IOC directly.
NBC's close relationship with the IOC is likely to become problematic as the IOC begins to take its own precautions to crack down on pro-gay "propaganda."
A handful of fringe anti-gay activists are having a meltdown over a "report" that alleges Fox News harbors a "growing pro-homosexual bias," ignoring the network's ongoing track record of smearing and stoking fears about LGBT people and LGBT equality.
On August 14, the xenophobic, Islamophobic, and homophobic right-wing group America's Survival published a "report" documenting Fox News' alleged "growing pro-homosexual bias," citing the network's ties to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and occasionally favorable coverage of marriage equality by personalities like hosts Megyn Kelly and Shepard Smith.
The rambling, 40,000-word report was written by Peter LaBarbera, president of one of the fringiest anti-gay hate groups in America - Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). It's already being touted by other anti-gay hate mongers, including the American Family Association's (AFA) Bryan Fischer:
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan criticized a recently enacted California law that will allow transgender students to have access to facilities and sports teams that correspond to their gender identity, arguing that non-discrimination law had moved too quickly with respect to transgender elementary school students.
During the August 13 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Ashleigh Banfield invited Callan and criminal defense attorney Danny Cevallos to discuss the recently enacted law. Cevallos warned that the measure might "infring[e] on the privacy of other children," asserting - without evidence or explanation - that the mere presence of a transgender student would be enough to violate other students' privacy rights.
Callan echoed his concerns, suggesting that protections for transgender students had "moved a little too fast in this area" and questioning if children in the first grade could even be identified as transgender:
CALLAN: Pardon my lack of political correctness on this, but when I hear that a first grader is a girl trapped in a boy's body or vice versa and wants to use the girls room as opposed to the boys room I wonder if the science sort of has kept up with where society is on this issue. I think a lot of people would be very upset if they thought their first grade child, girl, was going be in the bathroom with a boy who thinks he's a girl. And I think maybe the law has moved a little too fast in this area, at least with respect to elementary school students.
BANFIELD: Not if you're transgender. No, you have been discriminated against openly for your whole life.
CALLAN: Oh, no, no. That's fine when we get old, older, maybe into adolescence and gender identity is clear. I'm not so sure gender identity is clear in the first grade.