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Powerline Blog
Power Line
1 Apr 2023
John Hinderaker


NextImg:Tied Up In Knots

When it came out that Audrey Hale was transgender, news outlets fell over themselves in their eagerness to refer to her as “him.” But CBS News has followed a different path. Executives at CBS have barred reporters from saying that Hale was transgender, or thought she was, or aspired to be:

“The shooter’s gender identity has not been confirmed by CBS News,” the network’s executives insisted in a Tuesday memo obtained by The Post. “As such, we should avoid any mention of it as it has no known relevance to the crime. Should that change, we can and will revisit.”

The instruction came directly from the top:

The CBS News directive was delivered on a Tuesday morning editorial call by Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, the executive vice president of newsgathering, and Claudia Milne, the senior vice president of standards and practices, according to sources close to the Tiffany Network.

“Right now we advise saying: POLICE IDENTIFIED THE SUSPECT AS A 28-YEAR-OLD AUDREY HALE, WHO [sic] THEY SHOT AND KILLED AT THE SCENE,” the Tuesday memo said. “And move on to focus on other important points of the investigation, community and solutions.

I suppose “solutions” means gun control.

It seems clear that CBS News’s position is based on a desire to avoid reflecting badly on transgenders, a favored political class in the CBS hierarchy:

“This is absurd because the police identified Hale as transgender,” a CBS insider said. “If the cops didn’t address it, maybe you could avoid it, but withholding information is not journalism.”

If you hadn’t noticed, TV news has nothing to do with journalism.

“Are we communicating to our readers and viewers that they cannot handle the basic facts of the case?” the source added.

Yes.

“You can’t avoid who this person is,” the source said, before turning to Ciprian-Matthews and Milne. “This is not an editorial decision. They made a judgment based on personal feelings.”

Most of the judgments liberals make are based on personal feelings. Still, I have a certain amount of sympathy for CBS’s position. I, too, would refer to Hale as “she” rather than “he,” although it sounds like CBS is avoiding pronouns altogether. Most interesting, perhaps, is the fact that CBS’s executives say they are waiting to see Hale’s “manifesto” before deciding whether her sexual confusion played a part in her murderous rampage. On that point, I agree.