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  • Univision Lifts Up LGBT Voices In Its Coverage Of The Pentagon Repealing Ban On Transgender Military Service

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Univision’s late night news program continued Hispanic media’s trend of uplifting LGBT voices in its reporting on the Pentagon’s announcement that it is lifting its ban on transgender people openly serving in the military.

    On June 30, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Department of Defense would no longer forbid openly transgender people from serving in the military. In its report on the announcement, Univision's late night news program, Noticiero Univision: Edició​n Nocturna, hosted Antonia Pandilla, a transgender woman who served in the Air Force from 1978 to 1982, to talk about her experience serving under the ban. Contrasting right-wing media’s attacks on the policy change, Univision host Arantxa Loizaga described the end of the ban as “a victory for the LGBT community.” Coverage like this is yet another indication of how Hispanic media is improving its reporting on LGBT issues and making the effort to include transgender voices.

    From the June 30 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univision: Edición Nocturna (translated from Spanish):

    ARANTXA LOIZAGA (HOST): In the United States armed forces, there are transgender soldiers but until today, they were not able to act openly. The Pentagon lifted a provision in light of the Defense Secretary’s idea that he has been pushing for more than a year. Andrea Linares tells us what this means.

    [START AUDIO]

    DEFENSE SECRETARY ASH CARTER: Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly.

    [END AUDIO]

    ANDREA LINARES: The announcement is historic. The Pentagon will allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the armed forces, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

    [START AUDIO]

    CARTER: These new measures will be implemented throughout the next year.

    [END AUDIO]

    LINARES: It is expected that by October 1 transgender soldiers can receive the medical treatment related to their sex change, and effective July 2017 the armed forces will allow the enlistment of new transgender members as long as they comply with the physical and psychological requirements required of any other member.

    ANTONIA PADILLA: I have been living two lives, the life of a man in the day and the life of a woman at night.

    LINARES: This is Antonia Padilla. She was born as a man in San Antonio, Texas, but she identifies as a woman. She was married for six years, had a daughter, and also served in the air force from 1978 to 1982.

    PADILLA: Ten years ago, I said I'm not going to have falsehoods, I'm going to live honestly, I'm going to live like the woman that I am.

    LINARES: Currently, Antonia works as a photographer. She says that it was difficult to live in the shadows when she was in the armed forces, but she never felt that this impeded her from carrying out her duties.

    PADILLA: I am very happy that finally this decision is reality.

    LINARES: A study done by RAND Corporation under the direction of Sec. Ash Carter found that of the 1.3 million active members of the army, almost 2,500 are transgender. But up until now, they have had to deny their condition in order to avoid being expelled from the military world, a situation that is now a thing of the past. The study also revealed that the medical expenses and the sex change operations will cost the Pentagon between $2.9 million and $4.2 million annually. They fear that not assuming this expense could result in a higher rate of substance abuse and suicides among transgender individuals. It's worth mentioning that the army has a budget of $610 million. Arantxa, back to you.

    LOIZAGA: Andrea, thank you, a victory for the LGBT community.

    While Univision’s decision to feature a transgender guest is part of the growing move towards more responsible coverage of the LGBT community by Hispanic media, the segment’s use of the word “condition” to innaccurately describe being transgender shows that there is still room to improve. The failure to use accurate, sensitive language when covering the transgender community isn’t isolated to Univision. While uplifting transgender voices is part of improving reporting on transgender people, Hispanic media should continue to look to guidelines from groups like GLAAD for how to improve the quality of coverage when reporting on transgender issues.

  • Conservatives Lose Their Excuse To Question The Results Of The Clinton Email Investigation

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY, CYDNEY HARGIS & NICK FERNANDEZ

    Conservatives have just lost their excuse to question the results of the investigation relating to Hillary Clinton’s email server, which legal experts say lacks a “legitimate basis” to charge Clinton with crimes. Right-wing media figures have ignored those experts to suggest that if the investigation does not result in a Clinton indictment, it must be politically tainted. But Attorney General Loretta Lynch affirmed that she will “be accepting the recommendations” made by “career agents and investigators” and FBI Director James Comey in the case, and conservative media have spent months lauding Comey’s “impeccable integrity” and ability to impartially conduct the investigation.

  • AP Corrects Story That Suggested Clinton Didn’t Want “Anybody” To Access Her State Department Emails

    Blog ››› ››› JARED HOLT

    The original version of an Associated Press article misrepresented comments made by Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, misleadingly claiming Abedin told investigators that Clinton did not want her State Department emails accessible to “anybody” during her time as Secretary of State. The article was corrected to point out that Abedin was only referring to Clinton’s private emails.

    The Associated Press reported on Huma Abedin’s deposition testimony transcript in a June 29 article on a conservative group’s ongoing civil lawsuit regarding Clinton’s use of a private email server. The article initially reported that Clinton “did not want the State Department emails that she sent and received on her private computer server to be accessible.”

    However, the transcript from Huma Abedin’s deposition shows she repeatedly testified Clinton was concerned others would be able to access her “private personal emails,” not her State Department government emails. The original AP report did not acknowledge Abedin specified Clinton’s concerns were about non-government emails until its seventh paragraph.

    The AP updated the article more than two hours after publication with a new opening that noted the distinction. The updated report’s opening paragraph clarified “Clinton did not want the private emails that she mixed in with State Department emails on her private computer server to be accessible.” The Associated Press did not issue a formal correction.

    Other news sources made clear that Abedin’s testimony was in reference to Clinton’s concern about her personal emails, not her official government emails. Bloomberg noted that Abedin testified that Clinton was worried about others accessing her personal “non-government messages,” The Hill clarified that Abedin’s deposition pointed to “nonofficial email messages unrelated to [Clinton’s] duties on the job,” and CNN reported that Abedin “repeatedly said it was Clinton protecting her personal emails from being read -- and not about hiding government communications.”

  • Media Fell For Bogus “New Information” Spin In GOP Benghazi Report

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Several media outlets falsely reported that the final report released by Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi contained “new information,” when in fact all of the “key findings” in the report had been previously reported. Committee Republicans reportedly released “embargoed ‘exclusives’” strategically to manipulate reporters into presenting details in the releases as new information.

  • A Comprehensive Guide To Benghazi Myths And Facts

    ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN & OLIVIA KITTEL

    After nearly four years of right-wing myths about the September 2012 attack on an American diplomatic compound and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, and as Republicans and Democrats on the House Select Committee on the attacks release their reports, Media Matters has compiled a list of more than 50 myths and facts regarding the origin of the attack, the security surrounding the compounds, the Obama administration’s handling of the attack during and after its occurrence, attacks on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other lies and misinformation regarding the Benghazi attack.