Diversity & Discrimination

Issues ››› Diversity & Discrimination
  • How The Media Elevated Anti-Immigrant Nativist Groups

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Throughout 2016, media outlets were complicit in mainstreaming the “nativist lobby,” made up of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA, groups with ties to white supremacists whose mission is to drastically limit both legal and illegal immigration. Even though these groups have a record of producing shoddy research and pushing misinformation about immigrants, their agenda has now inspired many of President-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policies. Many mainstream media outlets contributed to the normalization of these nativist groups by repeatedly referencing them under the pretense of balance while failing to acknowledge their insidious anti-immigrant agenda or provide context about their nativist origins.

  • Anti-LGBTQ Junk Science And Fake News Are Poised To Harm the Future of LGBTQ Equality

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Pseudoscience and lies have long been the favorite tactics of anti-LGBTQ extremists, but now that the incoming U.S. president is highly influenced by hate groups, fake news purveyors, and far-right publications that peddle such misinformation, these smoke and mirror tactics are well-positioned to harm LGBTQ equality.

    Right-Wing Sites Regularly Peddle Anti-LGBTQ Junk Science

    For decades, junk science has been used to attack LGBTQ people as unhealthy and dangerous. Longtime LGBTQ advocate and journalist Claude Summers recently defined the purpose of anti-LGBTQ junk science as “not to persuade the scholarly community, which will immediately note its sloppy methodology,” but to “provide naïve readers some quasi-respectable justifications for their prejudices and to fuel social conservative political chatter.”

    After scientific consensus rejected the “sickness theories” of homosexuality in the 1970s, “anti-LGBT professionals retreated from mainstream scientific organizations and formed their own groups,” Summers explained. These fringe splinter groups, like the deceptively named American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) -- an anti-LGBTQ hate group with about 500 members whose name is meant to be confused with the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) -- funnel debunked “research” to anti-LGBTQ extremist organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), also a designated hate group. FRC and its allies peddle this misinformation as widely as possible to be used as ammunition in the fight against equality.

    Right-wing outlets like Breitbart and The Daily Caller are the go-to platforms for anti-LGBTQ activists looking to push hateful lies and myths. Breitbart in particular regularly pushes pseudoscientific attacks on transgender people. Since March 2016, Breitbart authors have cited ACPeds to falsely claim that affirming transgender youths’ gender identity is a “form of child abuse” in at least 19 different articles. The talking point originated from an American College of Pediatricians “report,” which was quickly touted in other right-wing outlets like The Blaze and The Daily Caller. As The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen highlighted, right-wing journalists published ACPed’s “child abuse” claim “without contrasting their primary source with the AAP.”

    This type of anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience isn’t confined to right-wing web outlets. On Fox News, “Medical A Team” member Dr. Keith Ablow frequently pushes harmful anti-transgender misinformation. In April, Ablow speculated wildly about medical care for transgender youth, and proposed his own harmful “treatments,” akin to conversion therapy, that go against scientific evidence and professional standards from mainstream medical associations.

    Even mainstream outlets like The Associated Press and NPR have allowed well-known purveyors of junk science to attack LGBTQ people.

    Fake News Reinforces Myths Pushed By Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups

    The potential real-life impact of fake news was starting to become apparent several months before it took center stage in the 2016 election. In May, BuzzFeed spotlighted a slew of anti-transgender fake news stories that had gone viral. These fake news stories spiked largely in response to increased media coverage of so-called “bathroom bills” and North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law (HB 2). The measure broadly bans transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity in publicly run facilities and schools.

    Many of the fake stories BuzzFeed profiled -- like an “article” about a transgender women getting caught taking pictures of underage girls at Target -- stem from the anti-LGBTQ “bathroom predator” myth, which purports that sexual predators will pretend to be transgender in order to exploit nondiscrimination laws and sneak into women’s restrooms. Fake news preys on long-standing misconceptions and stereotypes and exploits them to confirm unsubstantiated fears. BuzzFeed interviewed the owner of several fake news sites, who said the stories are a way to make “easy money” by capitalizing off of “the political polarization and anti-LGBT stance at the heart of HB 2.”

    In the past, anti-LGBTQ hate groups were the ones spreading fake “bathroom predator” stories -- and outlets like Fox News fell for it. But now, the sheer profitability of clickbait fake news means that even if hate groups aren’t peddling these stories themselves, fake news is helping to buttress anti-LGBTQ talking points by relying on misconceptions and controversy for their content. A recent BuzzFeed News survey found that fake news headlines “fool American adults about 75% of the time” --meaning that all of these fabricated stories and fact-free science could have a real-life impact on public opinion about LGBTQ people.

    Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, voiced her concern that these lies -- one of which ended with a vigilante shooting a transgender woman -- could fuel anti-transgender violence. Whether because of these fake news stories or not, 2016 has been the deadliest year on record for transgender people.

    The Trump Administration Is Stocked With Purveyors Of Right-Wing Media’s Anti-LGBTQ Myths And Pseudoscience

    While pseudoscience and lies have long been staple tools of anti-LGBTQ extremist organization, the two tactics are now more likely than ever to be employed to justify anti-LGBTQ policies, given the incoming Trump administration. FRC -- the hate group with years of experience peddling anti-LGBTQ junk science -- has a growing influence on Trump’s transition team.

    FRC president Tony Perkins played a pivotal role in Trump’s campaign and helped shape the Republican Party platform. During the Republican National Convention, he was successful in adding support for “ex-gay” conversion therapy, a discredited, harmful practice that falsely claims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and has been denounced by every major medical organization. Since the election, some of Perkins’ FRC affiliates have won spots in Trump’s transition team. Wired’s Emma Ellis spotlighted the hate group’s growing influence on the Trump administration, which includes the following members affiliated with FRC:

    In addition to FRC’s influence on the administration, Breitbart’s brand of anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience has a champion in Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon led Breitbart from 2012 through August of this year, when he became the chief executive of Trump’s campaign. In addition to peddling anti-gay junk science, under Bannon’s leadership the site made a “noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas -- all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right,’” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Trump’s nominees for cabinet positions also have a history of pushing harmful myths about LGBTQ people. Combined with FRC and Breitbart, individual anti-LGBTQ extremists are well-poised to gin up junk science attacks and use them to influence policy making throughout the Trump administration. LGBTQ advocates and journalists have already documented some of their fears about the potential consequences of the resurgence of anti-LGBTQ pseudoscience, including:

    • a comeback of “ex-gay” conversion therapy programs;
    • revocation of the Obama administration’s recommendation to treat transgender students in accordance with their gender identity;
    • repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its health care protections for LGBTQ people; and
    • passage of the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act,” federal “religious freedom” legislation that would permit discrimination against LGBTQ people.

    Junk science can be easily debunked, as long as reporters are armed with the facts. Journalists should be prepared to counter the false narratives behind the coming attacks on LGBTQ equality.

  • News Programs Need To Make Latino Representation A Priority

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    The Latino population is growing at the second-fastest rate in the country, meaning that the United States of the future will be increasingly Hispanic. But for television news, 2016 was a year in which Latinos were underrepresented -- even in conversations about Latinos -- misidentified, or simply not included.

    In 2015, the number of Latinos in the United States grew to 57 million, and yet, during 2016, television news continued the disturbing pattern from previous years of marginalizing Latino voices in cable news discussions. This creates a blindspot in news media and marginalizes Latinos from discussions on the American experience. Latinos were even underrepresented or altogether ignored in discussions of stories that intimately affected the Hispanic community.

    When President-elect Donald Trump expressed doubts that federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel could objectively do his job because of his Mexican ethnic heritage, many Latinos could have provided insights from their lived experiences, sharing stories about having similar doubts cast upon their ability to do their jobs, or about their accent or the sound of their names making them victims of labor discrimination. And yet, in cable news discussions of Trump’s attacks on Curiel, only 11.5 percent of the guests who were asked to provide analysis were Hispanic.

    The same was true after the horrific massacre at the Orlando, FL, gay club Pulse -- a tragedy that took place during “Latin night” -- which left 49 victims dead, 90 percent of whom were Latino. The day after the massacre, out of 254 guests appearing on cable news networks, only 20 were Hispanic. On CNN and Fox, only 6 percent of the total number of guests on were Latino, with MSNBC doing slightly better at 12 percent, an amount still disproportionate with the number of Latino lives taken. By having the analysis and commentary surrounding the events at Pulse mostly driven by commentators who didn’t represent the victims, cable news missed out on an opportunity to lift up the communities that were hurting the most.

    Similarly, in narratives that affected all demographics and impacted the experiences of everyone living in the United States, Latinos were still largely excluded. This was true on Election Day, when the morning shows of the three cable news networks -- which run for a combined nine hours -- managed to include only one Latina guest. The panels included on CNN’s New Day, Fox’s Fox & Friends, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe featured mostly white guests providing commentary on the election, including their thoughts on the Latino vote. There also wasn’t a single Latino moderator during the presidential debates, which received some of the highest ratings of the year.

    Even in the instances where Latinas were the protagonists of a story, TV news occasionally failed to correctly identify them. CNN used a picture of Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) in a story about her sister Rep. Loretta Sánchez (D-CA); Fox News featured images of then-Senate candidate Kamala Harris (D-CA) in a news segment about then-Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV); and a CBS affiliate located in Louisiana used an image of civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in a segment about the death of labor activist Helen Fabela Chávez.

    Increased and more proportionate representation isn’t just important to those in the Hispanic community who are feeling excluded from the American narrative as it’s portrayed on television news; it’s also important for TV networks and producers and their audiences in general. For the sake of news media accuracy, what is shown on the screen should reflect American demographics. As veteran journalist Fernando Espuelas has explained, “media creates reality,” and so when audiences don’t see Hispanics discussing current issues in the media, “there’s a point at which even non-prejudicial, non-racist [people] start to be unable to see Hispanics in that context.”

    Furthermore, the lack of Latino representation has enabled politicians to run campaigns that strategically and structurally ignored Hispanics and the concrete issues that affect their communities. By rendering the second-largest demographic group in the country invisible, the news media helped reward political strategies that prioritized white voters.

    Underrepresentation can also have other downright dangerous and damaging consequences, like normalizing xenophobic discourse and disparaging rhetoric against Latinos on news media. “It's much easier to say nasty things about somebody who's not there,” Media Matters’ Kristian Ramos posited while advocating for more Hispanic representation.

    In 2017, TV news outlets can work to avoid siloing and ignoring Latino voices by considering all of the American experiences that could help to illustrate and analyze a story and by featuring panels that accurately reflect both those most affected and American demographics. And Latinos should continue to push for increased representation and for the chance to tell their stories on the news media, so that less-diverse communities can get a glimpse into America's future.

  • Fox’s “War On Christmas” Prompts Jewish Family To Fear “Pizzagate”-Style Response

    Fox And Breitbart Focused Attention On Parents Who Expressed Concerns About Elementary School Christmas Play

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Pennsylvania news outlets are reporting that a Jewish family fled Lancaster County in fear after stories from Fox News and Breitbart.com suggested they could be partially to blame for the cancellation of an elementary school Christmas play. The family cited comments from Breitbart readers about doxing the family (“It would be nice if we had the addresses”) for their decision to flee, saying they feared another “pizza incident,” referencing a situation in which a man opened fire in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria after reading fake news stories.

    LancasterOnline.com reported in a December 22 article:

    A Hempfield elementary school is under fire for ending its longstanding production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and a Jewish family has fled the county in fear because it’s being blamed for the cancellation. The unfolding controversy at Centerville Elementary School played out this week in national conservative media outlets including FOX News and Breitbart News Network, which portray the school’s move as part of a “war on Christmas.” The school, however, has said it put an end to the play this year because it took 15 to 20 hours of classroom time to produce.

    [...]

    The fifth-grader’s parents, who spoke to LNP on the condition that they not be named, say they didn’t complain about the play or request that it be canceled, but just asked in September if their child could be excused from the play, and were told yes. Since the school announced the cancellation in November, however, they say the child has been harassed by classmates. Principal Tom Kramer, who is in his first year at the school, posted a letter on the school website on Dec. 15 confronting rumors “that one or two families influenced this decision” to cancel the play. “That’s just not true,” he wrote.

    [...]

    Since the Fox and Breitbart stories, a spokeswoman for the school district said, the school has received at least 200 emails and phone calls either supporting or objecting to the decision or asking for additional information. The Jewish student’s parents say some of the reactions to the stories frightened them. After seeing reader comments like “It would be nice if we had the addresses of those concerned citizens and, I bet, this info is known to people living in the area” on the Breitbart story, the parents pulled their child out of school and headed out of the area for a bit. “There’s no way we’re going to take a chance after the pizza incident,” they said, referencing the man who fired an assault rifle in a Washington D.C area pizzeria after reading a fake-news story that said Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of there.

    Both Fox & Friends Sunday and Fox News Radio’s Todd Starnes covered the story, as did Breitbart, pushing local parents’ claims that the school canceled the play because of a Jewish student’s parents complaining about the line “God bless us, everyone.” Fox News has done hundreds of stories highlighting a so-called “War on Christmas” going back at least 12 years, covering its invented narrative to such a ludicrous extent that some Fox hosts have actually spent more time on the topic than on, say, veterans or actual wars. Fox has pushed the “War on Christmas” narrative so much, for so long, that according to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Fox may have changed Americans’ preferences for the holiday greetings they prefer to hear.

    The climate Fox has created with its “War on Christmas” has turned frightful, rather than delightful. Thanks to the attention it received from right-wing media outlets, the Pennsylvania family feared for its safety. The story had zero national news value, yet Fox pushed the narrative to continue its “War on Christmas” drivel. Fox and other conservative outlets should use this incident to reflect on the repercussions of their culture war next time they want to complain about Starbucks cups. But it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

    UPDATE: The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a press release on December 22 stating that the organization spoke to the family who reportedly fled and they clarified that their departure was in fact a planned vacation. The headline for this piece has been clarified to reflect this new information.

  • Six Times Bill O’Reilly Defended The "White Establishment" Against “The Left”

    Blog ››› ››› CHRISTOPHER LEWIS

    Fox News host Bill O’Reilly claimed that “the left in America is demanding that the Electoral College system put into place in 1787 be scrapped” because “the left wants power taken away from the white establishment.” O’Reilly has taken a stand against “the left” on behalf of white people several times in the past, claiming that “the left sees white men as a problem” and that the left sells “rank propaganda that white supremacy drives the government.”

    Bill O’Reilly: “The Left Wants Power Taken Away From The White Establishment.” Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asserted in his "Talking Points Commentary"that “the left in America is demanding that the Electoral College system put into place in 1787 be scrapped” because “the left wants power taken away from the white establishment.” O’Reilly criticized “the left” for seeing “white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with” and claimed that Democrats’ goal is that “white working-class voters must be marginalized.” From the December 20 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O’REILLY (HOST): Talking Points believes this is all about race. The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with. Therefore, white working class voters must be marginalized, and what better way to do that than center the voting power in the cities? Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race. It permeates almost every issue; that white men have set up a system of oppression. That system must be destroyed. Bernie Sanders peddled that. To some extent, Hillary Clinton did. And the liberal media tries to sell that all day long. So-called white privilege, bad. Diversity, good.

    If you look at the voting patterns, it's clear that the Democrats are heavily reliant on the minority vote; also on the woman vote. White men have largely abandoned the Democrats and the left believes this is because of racism, that they want to punish minorities, keep them down. So that's what's really going on when you hear about the Electoral College and how unfair it allegedly is.

    Summing up, the left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that.

    Five Other Times O’Reilly Took A Stand Against “The Left” On Behalf Of The "White Establishment"

    O’Reilly: The “Rank Propaganda That White Supremacy Drives The Government” Is “Corrosive, Hateful, And Dishonest In The Extreme.” From the June 23, 2015, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O’REILLY (HOST): The truth is America is changing. And those that dislike the country are taking advantage of all the chaos. They're selling rank propaganda that white supremacy drives the government. That the working man and woman cannot get ahead. That all authority is corrupt. White privilege. That's corrosive, hateful, and dishonest in the extreme.

    O'Reilly: "The Left's Secret Immigration Plan" Is To Have "Traditional America Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth." From the December 1, 2015, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O'REILLY (HOST): The radical left immigration vision would profoundly change all of America's traditions, all of them. And that's what the left wants. Because that ideology sees the American Judeo-Christian tradition as oppressive, exploitative, and a white privilege legacy. Thus, the uber-left wants traditional America wiped off the face of the Earth. That's what's truly going on. And if Americans don't wise up quickly, the left-wing vision of immigration may very well become a reality. 

    O’Reilly: “The Fact That I Am White And In A Powerful Position Makes Me The Enemy." From the April 17, 2015, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O’REILLY (HOST): The other night on the Factor, I said this:

    [BEGIN VIDEO]

    O’REILLY: Our traditional American values are under siege nearly everywhere. If you’re a Christian or a white man in the U.S.A., it’s open season on you.

    [...]

    [END CLIP]

    [...]

    O’REILLY: Apparently [Michael Eric] Dyson believes the slave trade continues to define America. Therefore, all white people are complicit. Complete bull. I have no complicity. None. I’m a big fan of John Quincy Adams, the abolitionist. And throughout my life I have donated big money to help suffering minorities in this country and all over the world. Mr. Dyson doesn’t care about that. The fact that I am white and in a powerful position makes me the enemy.

    Here’s the truth: our traditional values in America are under siege. We’re seeing dramatic changes in the definition of human beings on the abortion front, in the definition of marriage, and the definition of capitalism, among other things. Anyone who denies that is a dishonest idiot. It is true that in the corridors of power, white men still dominate, but there are many reasons for that. But if an American woman or a minority wants to succeed in this country at a high level, they can.

    O’Reilly: “The Left Sees White Men As A Problem.” From the May 28, 2009, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O’REILLY (HOST): No matter how you feel about Judge [Sonia] Sotomayor, you should understand that there is a double standard when it comes to evaluating political people. If you are a woman or a minority, you will be treated differently, especially in the liberal press. The left sees white men as a problem. They believe women and minorities in power is a solution to that problem. That is called gender and race politics. With minority voters now able to swing presidential elections, gender and racial situations become extremely important.

    O'Reilly: Civil Rights Leaders Want "To Divide The Country Along Racial Lines Because That's Good For Business." From the July 25, 2013, edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:

    BILL O’REILLY (HOST): [I]t's clear that people pushing racial injustice that they believed happened in the [George] Zimmerman trial, they don't really want to talk about complicated racial problems in general. What the grievance industry does want is to divide the country along racial lines because that's good for business. And they may be succeeding.

    [...]

    So you can see, the state of race in America seems to be getting worse. That's because problems are not being fixed, and many black Americans continue to blame white Americans for the poverty and crime they are facing. Talking Points believes that the collapse of the African-American traditional family is the primary reason the gap between blacks and whites is so large. And as I said at the top of this memo, our leadership simply will not deal with that issue.

  • Megyn Kelly Can't Name Any Black Staffers On Her Show

    Kelly Downplays Her Obsessive, Race-Baiting New Black Panther Coverage As She Competes For Contracts

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In an interview with The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple Blog, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly -- who is reportedly competing for a new contract among networks -- downplayed her role in pushing the pseudo-scandal that the Department of Justice was covering up voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party and admitted she could not name any African-American people on her staff.

    In 2010, Kelly devoted more than 3.5 hours of her then-show America Live to hyping a contrived scandal about the Justice Department. The claim was that the department engaged in racially charged “corruption” in its handling of voter-intimidation claims about two members of the New Black Panther Party who appeared in a video standing outside a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election, one of them holding a nightstick; the other was a registered Democratic poll watcher. No one came forward to say he or she was intimidated by the two men. The story resurfaced during the 2016 election when supporters of Donald Trump used it to defend his false “rigged election” claim.

    Kelly was sharply criticized for her sensationalistic coverage of the supposed scandal, with Dave Weigel -- then of The Atlantic -- calling Kelly’s coverage a “minstrel show.” Kelly’s focus on the Black Panthers constitutes just one part of her consistently insensitive and out-of-touch coverage on race issues.

    During the interview, Wemple asked Kelly if it was a “fair reading” to use the Black Panthers incident to justify “Trump’s claims of the possibility of a rigged election.” Wemple, linking to Media Matters’ research in the transcript, also asked Kelly if her “pushing” of the incident “is where people draw their memory from,” to which Kelly responded, “next question.” Kelly also conceded that her show The Kelly File may not employee any African-Americans “at the moment.” Kelly’s deflection on her record comes as she is reportedly competing for contracts between networks. From the December 19 article:

    [ERIK WEMPLE BLOG]: I was interested to see the photographs in your book. And you have a photograph of your staff and it sprung a question for me: You do all kinds of aggressive coverage, including on race. That staffing picture looked pretty much white, although there could be a couple of minorities in there. Do you think that for as aggressive as you are on racial issues, that you could use more diversity on the staff?

    [MEGYN] KELLY: Well, I don’t know about the first part of your question. That’s not the reason. The reason to have more racial diversity on any team is because it’s helpful to have different perspectives on any issue. And I also believe that. It’s easier said than done, unfortunately. At Fox we started — this is one of Roger’s good legacies, the Ailes Apprentice Program, and that’s been pretty good about getting more people of color into the TV news ranks. But we don’t have enough, that’s just a fact. We don’t. And we can do better at that, just like most of the news networks can.

    EWB: Do you have anyone who’s African American on the staff at this point?

    KELLY: Not at the moment. Don’t hold me to that, Erik, because I’m probably forgetting somebody. Definitely we have some crew who work with me who are African American but . . . to be perfectly honest with you, I have never asked. We . . . have a couple of mixed-race people . . . I don’t know if they identify as mixed race or African American, so I don’t want to guess.

    EWB: Obviously you know a lot about the whole New Black Panther issue, Philadelphia; you were famous for that. I didn’t see much mention in the book, but now, eight years later, a couple CNN pro-Trump commentators cited that incident sort of in the context of Trump talking about a rigged election. Do you think that’s a fair reading of the New Black Panther issue, sort of as grist for justifying Trump’s claims of the possibility of a rigged election?

    KELLY: What do you mean, that guys like those New Black Panthers [inaudible] at the polls?

    EWB: I believe Kayleigh McEnany said something to the effect that Trump “doesn’t want a scenario where there’s New Black Panthers outside with guns, essentially like intimidating people from coming into the polls.”

    KELLY: That was not a widespread incident as far as we knew. That was a couple of rabble-rousers who showed up causing a bunch of nonsense at one Philadelphia polling station. I wouldn’t say you could extrapolate that to a general concern, especially because I don’t believe we saw it again in 2012. I believe it was these two guys trying to make a point in 2008; their point was made and I assume they understood the ramifications of it after the Department of Justice got involved.

    EWB: Do you think that your pushing that incident is where people draw their memory from?

    KELLY: Come on, Erik, next question.

    EWB: No? I just wondered. I mean, you did scores of segments on it.

    KELLY: You should take those scores of segments numbers with a huge grain of salt because that was some tabulation done by Media Matters that included teases. Teases!

  • Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos Doubles Down On Harassing Transgender University Of Wisconsin Student

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos continued to attack a transgender student from the University of Wisconsin during his December 15 talk at Minnesota State University.

    On December 13, Yiannopoulos spoke at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW), where he used the opportunity to openly mock and harass a transgender student that was recently enrolled at the school. As detailed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yiannopoulos “named and showed a picture of the student to his audience.” Yiannopoulos proceeded to attack the student’s physical appearance, using an anti-transgender slur and adding, “The way you know he's failed is I can still bang him."

    The student, who was in the audience but reportedly unrecognized, later described the experience of being “frozen in total terror” that Yiannopoulos would cause someone in the audience to “incite the mob of the room against me.” The Breitbart livestream of Yiannopoulos’ talk included a “trigger cam” that targeted individual audience members with the crosshairs of a telescopic gun sight. The personal attacks on the student prompted UMW chancellor to send a campuswide email in which he strongly condemned “the belittling of others and their appearance, and the encouragement of hate and harassment.”

    In a December 15 appearance at Minnesota State University, Yiannopoulos reiterated his attacks on the trans student, claiming to be a “second wave feminist icon”:

    I’ve become a feminist icon. Do you want to know why? So at my previous date at UW Wisconsin, I happen to put on the screen, the image, a picture of a nice young man who think he’s a lady and used the law -- because of course progressives always when they don’t get what they want or want to get in somewhere that they don’t belong, invoke the great patriarchal force known as the government -- to try to get into the women’s locker rooms. This young man was desperate for a bit of tit and minge.

    So he tried, via the government, to get himself into the women’s locker rooms at UW Milwaukee. Now he created a terrible fuss, an awful fuss, when I put his name up there and so did the president of that university. But it turns out, he’s going to quit the university. So I have become a sort of second wave feminist icon, protecting women from men in their locker rooms. Well, you’re welcome, feminism.

    Now, this young person -- sometimes they think, sometimes they say I’m mean, sometimes they say it’s too much. Sometimes they say you’re too vindictive, it’s too cruel. But the point of doing this, is that, you know, they invoke the government, they use the government to get a variety of things through that ordinary, normal people would not permit. And then this person, Justine or Adelaide, or whatever he calls himself this week --

    [audience laughter]

    It’s Christmas, I don’t care anymore!

    Adelaide, good lord, went to the press and said I had used violent words as though violent words were a thing. What the fuck is a violent word? If you can’t take a joke, how are you going to deal with having your dick cut off?

    While on tour, he has encouraged University of Delaware students to mock transgender people and at West Virginia University called women “cunts.” In July, Yiannopoulos was banned from Twitter for what the organization described as "participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals." The ban was widely understood as a reaction to the harassment campaign Yiannopoulos led against African-American actress Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos is known for openly mocking and harassing people. He is a champion of the "alt-right," a coalition of white supremacists and misogynists who have consistently used online platforms to organize harassment.

    Yiannopoulos’ brand of outright harassment against individual students has no place in the marketplace of ideas. Join Media Matters in asking colleges to stop letting Yiannopoulos harass their students. 

  • Fox News’ Fox & Friends Was The Only Cable News Morning Show To Ignore The Dylann Roof Verdict

    Blog ››› ››› CHRISTOPHER LEWIS

    While every other major cable news morning show acknowledged the guilty verdict of Charleston, SC, gunman Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners in a racially motivated shooting, Fox News’ Fox & Friends made no mention of it during the December 16 broadcast.

    On June 17, 2015, Roof entered the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, and murdered nine black parishioners, having been influenced by white supremacists and white nationalists. On December 15, Roof was found guilty on all 33 charges brought against him, including “hate crimes that resulted in death,” after only two hours of deliberation by the jury.

    While cable morning shows on CNN and MSNBC both reported on the verdict and discussed the implications for race relations, Fox & Friends failed to mention it, even in a brief headlines segment. Instead, the show found time to host a Fox News doctor to attack the Affordable Care Act, give a Fox News contributor who is under consideration for a position in the incoming administration an opportunity to pitch himself, and test out “As Seen on TV” products.

    The omission is not the first time Fox News has played down the issues surrounding the Charleston murders. When the shooting was first reported, Fox & Friends’ Steve Doocy claimed it was “extraordinary” that it was considered a hate crime, Fox guest Rudy Giuliani claimed that Roof potentially “hat[ed] Christian churches” -- a point that was echoed by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade on his radio show -- and one Fox guest blamed the shooting on “the left wing” and “their education system.”

  • 19 Times Breitbart Cited A Discredited Hate Group To Spread Harmful Lies About Pediatric Medical Care

    Blog ››› ››› RACHEL PERCELAY

    Breitbart.com has cited an anti-LGBTQ hate group as evidence that medical care for transgender youth is dangerous, harmful, and/or tantamount to “child abuse” in 19 separate articles since March. The deceptively named hate group’s position on youth health care is refuted by all major medical associations.

    On March 19, the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) released a position statement titled “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” ACPeds is a deceptively named extremist group with an estimated 200 to 500 members whose name is meant to be confused with the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). ACPeds has been designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for spreading malicious lies about LGBTQ people and deliberately misrepresenting legitimate research to attack LGBTQ equality. SPLC has detailed ACPeds’ history as a splinter fringe organization whose express purpose is to attack LGBTQ people:

    ACPeds was founded in 2002 by a small breakaway group of about 60 ultra-conservatives from the 60,000-plus member American Academy of Pediatrics, the foremost national professional organization regarding pediatrics in the country. Initially, the group was formed as a protest to AAP’s support of LGBT adoption rights. In the 14 years since its founding, ACPeds has continued to pump out demonizing pseudoscience and falsehoods about LGBT people, often parroting Paul Cameron, and calling homosexual relationships promiscuous, a danger to children, unstable, and claiming that LGBT people experience “shortened lifespans.”

    The March statement by ACPeds also claims that “conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” As ThinkProgress’ Zack Ford explained, this claim is “completely refuted by all available scientific evidence.” But presumably due in no small part to its credible-sounding name, ACPeds’ harmful lies about pediatric care were quickly parroted by conservative outlets. The talking point spread far enough that Snopes.com debunked it, writing, “It was an official-sounding but fringe group of politically motivated pediatricians who issued a statement on gender, not the respected American Academy of Pediatrics.”

    The extremist “alt-right” website has continued to cite ACPeds as a legitimate source of medical information, using the statement as “evidence” to oppose basic protections for LGBTQ youth. Since ACPeds released the baseless “child abuse” claim in March, Breitbart has parroted the lie as fact in 19 different articles. Here are the headlines:  

    1. Gay Group Promotes ‘Gender Ideology’ For Children
    2. Pope Francis: Gender Theory Part Of ‘Global War’ To Destroy Marriage 
    3. Physicians Decry Pseudo-Science Of Transgenderism, ‘Absurd’ To Say Anyone Is Born Into ‘Wrong Body’
    4. LGBT Groups Blast Pope Francis Over Gender Comments 
    5. Pastor: Iowa Is Claiming Authority Over Church’s Teaching Of Christian Sexuality 
    6. Criticism Of Transgender Agenda Will Get Virginia Students Expelled 
    7. Washington State Schools Push ‘Gender Fluid,’ Transgender Ideas On K-12 Kids 
    8. Open Letter To Leaders: Gender Ideology ‘Putting Our Children At Risk’ 
    9. Pro-Gay Group Warns ‘Significant Risks’ In Transgender Medical Treatments For Children
    10. Vermont Schoolkids Resist Official Pressure For Transgender Favoritism 
    11. Princeton Prof: Transgenderism Not Scientific, ‘Superstitious Belief’ 
    12. Pro-Family Leaders Condemn Administration’s Imposition Of ‘Abusive’ Transgender Policy 
    13. Andrea Lafferty: Donald Trump And Others ‘Don’t Understand The Full Impact’ Of ‘Gender Identity’ Ideology
    14. Pope Says No To Trans-Kids, Teach Young ‘To Accept Their Own Body As It Was Created’ 
    15. Planned Parenthood Ignores Doctors’ Warnings Of Transgender Dangers To Children
    16. How The Washington Post Gets The North Carolina Anti-Trans Law Wrong 
    17. North Carolina Passes Anti-Trans Bill, Corporate Bullies Circling 
    18. College Of Pediatricians Calls Transgender Ideology ‘Child Abuse’ 
    19. Pediatricians Call Gender Discordance Conditioning Child Abuse

    Two Breitbart authors -- who are bylined as “Dr. Susan Berry” and “Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.” -- wrote 13 of those 19 articles (seven and six, respectively). It’s unclear whether their titles are particularly relevant to the subject matter. According to his Breitbart biography, Williams “is a Permanent Research Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture at Notre Dame University,” and his personal website biography says that he earned a doctorate in theology in Rome. Berry has no biographical information on Breitbart, including no information to indicate what sort of doctor she is. An archived version of her columnist page from 2014 indicates that she has a doctorate in psychology, while a 2013 article in Darien News reports that a clinical psychologist Susan Berry works “primarily with gifted children and adults.”

    1. Gay Group Promotes ‘Gender Ideology’ For Children

    Mainstream pediatricians and professionals are becoming very concerned about the mental health of children in America who are now being exposed to the Obama administration’s promotion of gender ideology in schools and workplaces. These professionals signed onto an open letter that asserts the ideology is “putting the nation’s children at risk.”

    The American College of Pediatricians states gender ideology is harmful to children and that, by promoting gender fluidity in its school bathroom directive, the Obama administration is complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 10/5/16

    2. Pope Francis: Gender Theory Part Of ‘Global War’ To Destroy Marriage 

    This past August, after the Pope once again decried the introduction of gender theory into schools, LGBT activists reacted strongly, accusing Francis of butting in where he doesn’t belong.

    Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBT advocacy group, said that the Pope was ignorant about gender issues.

    “Nobody chooses a gender identity. They discover it,” he said. “Transgender people come to know themselves in a process is [sic] similar to the way that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people discover their sexual orientation.”

    DeBernardo added that “most reputable scientific experts say that allowing children to transition in youth is both a physically and psychologically healthy thing for them to do in most cases.”

    That same month, however, the American College of Pediatricians issued a position paper warning that gender ideology is harmful to children.

    Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder that must be dealt with, not pandered to, the physicians argued. [Thomas D. Williams, 10/2/16]

    3. Physicians Decry Pseudo-Science Of Transgenderism, ‘Absurd’ To Say Anyone Is Born Into ‘Wrong Body’

    The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has released a position paper denouncing popular approaches to transgender, declaring that the current protocol is founded upon “unscientific gender ideology,” which lacks any basis in real evidence.

    The physicians argue that the assumption that gender dysphoria (GD)—a psychological condition in which people experience a marked incongruence between their experienced gender and their biological sex—is innate contradicts all relevant data and is based on ideology rather than science.

    [...]

    “Conditioning children to believe the absurdity that they or anyone could be ‘born into the wrong body,’ and that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” the paper argues. [Thomas D. Williams, 8/7/16]

    4. LGBT Groups Blast Pope Francis Over Gender Comments 

    Last spring, the American College of Pediatricians issued a position paper warning against the physical and psychological dangers to children posed by advocates of transgenderism. Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder that must be dealt with, not pandered to, the physicians argued.

    The doctors declared that human sexuality is “an objective biological binary trait” rather than an infinite series of self-determined “genders.” The norm for human design, the doctors said, “is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species,” and therefore, “XY” and “XX” are “genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.” [Thomas D. Williams, 8/4/16

    5. Pastor: Iowa Is Claiming Authority Over Church’s Teaching Of Christian Sexuality 

    The American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children and that by promoting gender fluidity, government officials are complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 7/8/16]

    6. Criticism Of Transgender Agenda Will Get Virginia Students Expelled 

    The American College of Pediatricians has issued a report saying that transgenderism in children is dangerous. They have determined that testosterone shots and other transgender-related medical interventions are a form of child abuse.

    There are a mere 700,000 transsexuals in the United States, according to the pro-trans Williams Institute at the University of California – Los Angeles. Only, 90,000 people have moved to change their name based on sex changes, according to a study of 2010 federal data. This means this massive and fundamental change is being imposed on all kids for the benefit of a tiny sliver of the American populace. [Austin Ruse, 6/10/16

    7. Washington State Schools Push ‘Gender Fluid,’ Transgender Ideas On K-12 Kids 

    The push to establish the “gender identity” claim in the nation’s schools is strongly backed by President Barack Obama’s deputies.

    In response, more than 60 leaders concerned about the mental health of American children signed an open letter that says the Obama administration’s K-12 gender fluid policies are “putting the nation’s children at risk.”

    Among the letter’s signers are Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, and Lisa Bell, founder of Youth Trans Critical Professionals.

    The pediatricians assert that standards or policies that promote gender fluidity amount to “child abuse[.]” [Susan Berry, 6/9/16

    8. Open Letter To Leaders: Gender Ideology ‘Putting Our Children At Risk’ 

    The American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children and that by promoting gender fluidity, the Obama administration is complicit in masking serious mental health issues in children.

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 6/6/16

    9. Pro-Gay Group Warns ‘Significant Risks’ In Transgender Medical Treatments For Children

    In a recent statement, the American College of Pediatricians has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children. The College states that it “urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality…”

    [...]

    “According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty,” the College asserts. “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Susan Berry, 5/20/16

    10. Vermont Schoolkids Resist Official Pressure For Transgender Favoritism 

    Medical professionals caution against the claim that “transgenderism” exists among children. Recently the American College of Pediatricians ruled that it was essentially a form of child abuse to force immature children into transgenderism, partly because it forces the child into a life-changing avenue before they are an adult. [Warner Todd Huston, 5/18/16]

    11. Princeton Prof: Transgenderism Not Scientific, ‘Superstitious Belief’ 

    [Professor Robert P.] George’s concerns over the transgender movement echo the recent statement by the American College of Pediatricians, which argued forcefully against encouraging young people to question their own biological sexuality.

    [...]

    Though preceding the Obama edict by nearly two months, the Pediatricians’ statement reads like a direct response to the unprecedented measure.

    “Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to ‘gender clinics’ where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs,” the physicians warned.

    “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” they concluded. [Thomas D. Williams, 5/16/16]

    12. Pro-Family Leaders Condemn Administration’s Imposition Of ‘Abusive’ Transgender Policy 

    National pro-family leaders are condemning President Barack Obama’s imposition of transgender ideology on America’s schoolchildren – what the American College of Pediatricians says amounts to “child abuse.”

    “This attempt to bully our local schools into submission to the Obama Administration’s agenda is shameful and a gross abuse of the federal government’s power,” Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) said in a statement. “It has nothing to do with compassion for minority student populations and everything to do with political opportunism for the next election.” [Susan Berry, 5/13/16

    13. Andrea Lafferty: Donald Trump And Others ‘Don’t Understand The Full Impact’ Of ‘Gender Identity’ Ideology 

    As Web MD states, the condition known as “gender dysphoria” was once referred to as “gender identity disorder.” However, the website takes the now easily recognizable “politically correct” approach: “But the mismatch between body and internal sense of gender is not a mental illness. Instead, what need to be addressed are the stress, anxiety, and depression that go along with it.”

    The American College of Pediatricians, however, has asserted that gender ideology is harmful to children. The college states:

    [...]

    “Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse,” the College asserts. [Susan Berry, 4/25/16

    14. Pope Says No To Trans-Kids, Teach Young ‘To Accept Their Own Body As It Was Created’ 

    Using some of his most powerful language to date, Pope Francis has joined the American College of Pediatricians in denouncing the transgender ideology behind contemporary ideas of fluid sexual identity among children.

    [...]

    Treating gender confusion as a good and normal thing constitutes an attack on children that can only mean serious problems for them in the future. Or in the words of the pediatricians, it is “child abuse.” [Thomas D. Williams, 4/11/16]

    15. Planned Parenthood Ignores Doctors’ Warnings Of Transgender Dangers To Children 

    Just ten days after the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a stern statement warning of the dangers that gender ideology poses to children and adolescents, Planned Parenthood began a campaign on social media to “train the next generation of trans allies.”

    [...]

    Pulling no punches, the doctors stated that conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is “child abuse.” [Thomas D. Williams, 4/3/16]

    16. How The Washington Post Gets The North Carolina Anti-Trans Law Wrong 

    Major corporations, that long ago were taken over by the sexual left, continue to threaten the state. The NBA is threatening to pull the All-Star Game from the state. Disney, which is about to open a facility in China where the government forces some women to have abortions, is threatening to pull out of the state. American Airline, that has a hub in Charlotte, has denounced the law.

    McCrory released a statement this week outlining “myths vs. facts” about the new law.

    This past week, the American College of Pediatricians described the transgender ideology as a form of child abuse. [Austin Ruse, 3/27/16]

    17. North Carolina Passes Anti-Trans Bill, Corporate Bullies Circling 

    There is a great deal of confusion about transgenderism. Advocates argue that people are “assigned” a gender at birth, an “assignment” that may not comport with their eventual “gender identity” or “gender expression” which could include up more than 58 possibilities, according to Facebook, including something called “gender non-binary” where someone believes he is neither male or female.

    According to a statement released this week by the American College of Pediatricians, the transgender ideology is actually a form of child abuse. The statement cites studies that show children who are gender confused need psychological help and that nearly all of them straighten out by their mid-twenties.

    The College points out that giving a child hormone treatment to halt puberty is highly dangerous. [Austin Ruse, 3/25/16

    18. College Of Pediatricians Calls Transgender Ideology ‘Child Abuse’ 

    The American College of Pediatricians warns educators and legislators that “a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex” is dangerous for children.

    In a strongly worded statement issued today, the professional association of pediatricians says “a person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.” It describes such thinking as problem that exists in the mind and not the body and “it should be treated as such.”

    [...]

    The doctors argue that “Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Austin Ruse, 3/21/16

    19. Pediatricians Call Gender Discordance Conditioning Child Abuse 

    The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has issued a report urging legislators and educators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal “a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex.” They say endorsing “gender discordance” is “child abuse.”

    The report published by the ACP concludes that “conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.” [Lana Shadwick, 3/19/16]

    Methodology:

    Media Matters used Google to search Breitbart.com for “American College of Pediatricians” between March 19 and December 15, 2016. Articles appearing under the “Breitbart London” section of the site were excluded from analysis. Articles that cited the American College of Pediatricians but did not mention transgender or gender nonconforming youth were excluded from the count. 

  • Possible Trump Press Secretary Kimberly Guilfoyle Wanted Putin To Be President

    Guilfoyle Has Also Repeatedly Attacked Black Lives Matter, Refugees, And Immigrants

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    Kimberly Guilfoyle, one of the co-hosts of Fox News’ The Five, has reportedly had multiple meetings with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team about possibly serving as his press secretary. Like Trump, Guilfoyle has expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and even called for him to run America for a short time. She has also demonized the Black Lives Matter movement, calling it a hate group that thinks it’s “OK" to "kill cops.” And she has made incendiary comments about terror suspects, refugees and immigrants, including denying that Muslims have faced discrimination in America.

    Guilfoyle’s Positive Comments About Putin Included Request That He Run America To Defeat ISIS

    Guilfoyle Requested We Get “Putin In For 48 Hours” To Be President And Defeat ISIS.

    Guilfoyle Defended Trump’s Praise Of Putin As A Great Leader, Noting That It's "More Of A Strength Model To Say That Putin Will Do What It Takes To Defend His Country.”

    Guilfoyle Has Denigrated Blacks Lives Matter And Criticized Speaking Out Against Police Brutality

    Guilfoyle On Ferguson Black Lives Matter Protests: “It’s Like Savagery. It’s Barbaric.”

    Guilfoyle: Black Lives Matter Is “A Hate Group Against Police Officers.”

    Guilfoyle: Black Lives Matter’s Agenda Is “It’s OK To Go Ahead And Kill Cops.”

    Guilfoyle: Quentin Tarantino Speech At Police Brutality Protest Could “Engender More Violence Towards Police Officers.”

    Guilfoyle Called For Murdering Guantanamo Detainees And Reinstating Torture

    Guilfoyle: “Just Kill Them All And Close Gitmo.”

    Guilfoyle Claimed Waterboarding Was Legal And Said, “We Are Entitled To Do … Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.”

    Guilfoyle Fearmongered About Refugees And Immigrants

    Guilfoyle: Refugee Resettlement In America Is “Forced Infiltration.”

    Guilfoyle Falsely Claimed Syrian Refugees Entering America Are Overwhelmingly “Adult Males Of Fighting Age.”

    Guilfoyle Compared Immigration To “A Tumor Or A Disease.”

    Guilfoyle: Sanctuary Cities Mean U.S. Is “Importing Criminals Instead Of Exporting Them.”

    Guilfoyle Denied That Muslims Face Discrimination

    Guilfoyle: “Who’s Vilifying Any Of The Muslims? Who’s Doing That?”

    Guilfoyle Joined Co-Hosts In Questioning Prevalence Of Hate Crimes Against Muslims.

  • Oakland Fire Highlights Need For Greater Media Accountability And Respect For Trans People In Life And Death

    Blog ››› ››› ERIN FITZGERALD

    A fire in an Oakland warehouse claimed the lives of 36 people, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office who released the official list of victims names that erroneously included the birth name of a transgender woman, Feral Pines. As a result, the initial media misidentified and misgendered Pines, which prompted loved ones and advocacy organizations to call for journalists to update stories with her correct name. Advocacy efforts ultimately yielded proper reporting, but the steps required to get there highlight the need for media outlets to take greater care in accurately reporting on transgender people.

    On December 2, a fire broke out at an Oakland art collective’s warehouse, killing 36 people including several members of the LGBTQ community. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office later released a list of victims’ names, incorrectly identifying one transgender victim, Feral Pines, by her name given at birth, which she hadn’t used in over a decade. Her loved ones asked that officials correct the list, and the sheriff’s office eventually apologized and deleted tweets of the original list. But by that point journalists had already begun using the list as a reference for their reporting, meaning much of the initial coverage misgendered Pines and included an incorrect name for her.

    When the media uses the birth name of a trans person -- a practice sometimes known as “deadnaming” -- it harms the entire transgender community, as a December 7 article published by The San Francisco Chronicle noted, quoting Eliza Wicks-Frank, Pines’ former partner of five years:

    “The impact that this lack of dignity and awareness has on the community of trans people who are alive right now is it tells them that their fight is irrelevant, that they’re going to be disrespected regardless of how they fight to live their lives.”

    On December 6, GLAAD issued a statement urging the media to follow established guidelines for covering news about trans victims -- including using the “gender and pronoun that corresponds with the way the victim identified” -- and clarified protocol around conflicting information, urging outlets to “listen to the friends who did know about the victim’s trans identity, and respect the way a victim identified a the time of the incident.” On December 7, a joint statement released by a coalition of LGBTQ advocacy organizations -- Equality California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, Transgender Law Center and the Trans Assistance Project -- called on both the Oakland authorities and the media to honor the correct name and gender of the transgender fire victims.

    In addition, Pines’ loved ones contacted dozens of journalists and news outlets that used her birth name and asked them to use the correct name. The Guardian published an article highlighting transgender people’s struggle for respect and accurate identification, both in life and in death. Scout Wolfcave, Pine’s friend who has been working closely with media and authorities to ensure the trans victims are described properly, told the Guardian:

    “We fight hard enough every single day to be seen as our authentic selves and to be treated with respect. In death, you can’t defend yourself anymore, so it falls on your friends to do it for you.”

    By the end of the week, almost all of the stories that incorrectly identified Pines had been corrected thanks to the efforts of Wolfcave and an extended network of loved ones.

    The Associated Press reported on confusion around identifying Pines, noting that she was called different names by friends and family. While Pines’ friends and family may have known her by two different names, her identity as a transgender woman was clear and neither of the monikers she used was the name she was given at birth. Building on existing guidelines issued by GLAAD, the article acknowledges that while sometimes identifying and discussing trans people who’ve lost their lives will be difficult, proper naming remains "critical." The need for greater media accountability and responsible journalism is clear, according to American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and trans advocate Chase Strangio:

    "Being referred to as one’s proper gender and name is not a preference. It is not a choice that a journalist can make and still accurately report on the subject. When trans people are misgendered, when our old names are used, we disappear. Because at that point, our truth is taken away. A truth that we fought hard to claim."