Fox News host Jon Scott described referring to transgender individuals by their chosen gender pronouns as "political correctness gone amok" and falsely suggested that Private Chelsea Manning's gender transition was a "ruse" aimed at winning release from military prison.
On the August 23 edition of Happening Now, Scott and Fox News contributors Judith Miller and Kirsten Powers continued referring to Manning as a male and questioned the "reality" of transgender identities. Powers asked, "[W]hat if ... Judy says, 'I demand that you refer to me only as 'he'? I mean, there should be some correlation between reality and how you're referring to a person." Joking that he'd like to be called "your royal highness," Scott proceeded to question Manning's motives in announcing her gender transition:
SCOTT: You know, there are cynics out there, and maybe I'm one of them, who say maybe this is all part of a plan to get, you know, early release or parole or a new trial or something, by maintaining some kind of a ruse here that isn't necessarily the case.
In reality, Manning's struggles with gender identity were publicized well before she was put on trial for leaking government documents to WikiLeaks. As National Journal reported on August 22, Manning revealed persistent gender identity struggles in online chats in 2009. Wired published the transcripts of the chats in July 2011. When Manning's lawyer David Coombs appeared on the Today show on August 22 to announce that his client henceforth wished to be known as Chelsea Manning, he explained that Manning waited to make such a statement until after the trial because "she didn't want this to be something that overshadowed the case."