Alexandra Steigrad at the New York Post reported Thursday that CBS News ordered its staffers to avoid “any mention” of Tennessee school shooter Audrey Hale’s identification as transgender. CBS has weirdly asserted that they haven’t “confirmed” what the police said. It’s interesting that in this case, their failure to accept official sources lines up with the GLAAD crowd.
Pay no attention to the shooter’s identity, said the hardliners in identity politics!
“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….”
“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.
The Post reported from anonymous network insiders that the CBS News directive was delivered on a Tuesday morning editorial call by Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, executive vice president of newsgathering, and Claudia Milne, the senior vice president of standards and practices.
The sources said Ciprian-Matthews and Milne spent 15 minutes on the Tuesday call discussing the directive — which bewildered many journalists, given that Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Hale was transgender and that her identity may be relevant to the motive.
On Monday night, correspondent Janet Shamlian reported on CBS Evening News that Hale “identifies as transgender.” But as Curtis Houck reported, there was zero mention on Tuesday’s CBS Mornings.
“We are waiting to see the manifesto [written by Hale] and any details about motive,” a CBS spokeswoman told The Post. “As we say in our guidance, we will then review and revise our reporting.”
The Post’s CBS sources were angry:
“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….”
“You need to look at all the facts of the case,” the angry CBS source told The Post. “Everyone should be invested in understanding what happened. I don’t know how you do that without understanding the full scope of the situation.”
For a “news” network to tell their reporters to dismiss all mention of transgenderism as irrelevant to this story is to say some facts, in this case, are too inflammatory or damaging to a cause or a “community” to mention. Politics is trumping facts.
On Tuesday, the leading newspapers — The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today — all avoided ‘transgender’ in their front-page headlines on Tuesday. (The Times at least had ‘Christian’ in a subhead, and the Journal had “Christian” in a photo caption on Page 1.)
This reflects their sensitivity to the LGBTQ lobby, that this shooter can’t in any way be representative of her “community,” when a self-proclaimed Christian mass shooter would likely be used to shame all Christians.