While reporting the breaking news that Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, was arrested in London for “conspiracy to hack a government computer,” Fox reporter Greg Palkot -- part of the network’s so-called “news” team -- repeatedly deadnamed Chelsea Manning. A Department of Defense press release said that Assange “engaged in a conspiracy” with Manning in 2010.
Deadnaming is referring to a transgender person using their “birth name” or “given name” rather than their affirming name. Like misgendering, which is labeling someone “as a gender other than one that a person identifies with,” deadnaming is a disrespectful practice that invalidates a trans person’s identity. It can also be “completely draining to a trans person’s mental health and can trigger anxiety, depression and gender dysphoria.” Twitter recently banned the practice as part of its “hateful conduct” policy in order to protect users from harassment.
Palkot’s disregard for Manning’s identity is yet another example demonstrating that Fox’s “news” programming is no different than its “opinion” programming. The network often tries to draw a distinction between the two, in part to help attract advertisers even though its opinion programming is becoming toxic for them. Fox has a long history of offering anti-trans coverage. Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Shannon Bream, and other Fox figures often push anti-trans misinformation, host anti-trans activists, and dehumanize and insult the transgender community.
From the April 11 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
GREG PALKOT: Assange -- famous or infamous, depending on who you are talking to, for the leaks coming from his WikiLeaks organization. Classified information about the Iraq, Afghan War. Classified State Department cables coming with the help of, at that time, Bradley Manning.
Later in the episode, Palkot offered a similar report in which he again misgendered Manning.