In his “Fourth Watch” newsletter on Monday night, former CNN producer Steve Krakauer drew attention to how the media frame transgender issues. The New York Times podcast The Daily — which airs across America on National Public Radio affiliates — explained on June 1 how transgender controversies came to the center of the debate. The guest was West Coast cultural correspondent Adam Nagourney, a former chief political correspondent and gay historian.
Following the Obergefell ruling in 2015 making gay marriage legal in America, major gay rights advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD were in a bit of a bind — gay marriage was their defining issue. In many ways, these organizations became the victims of their success. They won. As The Daily told it, now they needed a new mission to drive interest, and donations. Suddenly the focus shifted from gay rights to “transgender” rights, then the subsequent counter movement, and thus began the culture war we see playing out today.
This is an interesting, nuanced conversation about an important and complicated issue. The episode title? “How the G.O.P. Picked Trans Kids as a Rallying Cry.”
It does a disservice to the audience to put that completely ridiculous title out — that actually is undermined by the episode itself.
In other words, what Nagourney called the “mainstream” gay lobbyists and the media started pushing for transgender “inclusion” everywhere while Obama was still president, and then, naturally, conservative resistance followed. The Left picked the “Rallying Cry” first. But the liberal media always want to warn its audience that the Republicans are always going too far — even if their “anti-trans” positions are merely defensive. Let’s not have boys compete in girls’ sports. Let’s not allow drastic life-changing “health care” for children that is not reversible.
Krakauer continued with the framing examples:
A recent Washington Post poll found that 66% of all Americans favor not allowing trans girls to compete with biological girls in high school and college sports. 68% oppose puberty blockers for trans children under 14 years old. 70% say it’s inappropriate to discuss trans identity in elementary schools. In today’s deeply polarized culture, these are rare points of strong agreement.
But how were these Washington Post poll results framed… by The Washington Post? “Most Americans support anti-trans policies favored by GOP,” screamed the headline.
Oh I’m sorry, dear reader. You’re not “anti-trans” are you? You don’t support policies, gasp, “favored by the GOP”?! This frame game is how the corporate media lies to its viewers and readers — and, frankly, itself. And further alienates the audience….
The corporate press is all-in, and so fearful of crossing the Twitter mob and activist crowd it won’t deviate from the consensus orthodoxy on this issue while it’s a hot campaign topic.
The leftist media isn’t really seeking to build trust with a mass audience. They have their eye on leftist Twitter and leftist advocacy groups. They’re in no way the “mainstream media.” As Krakauer shows, the public is strongly against the Left on the “trans kid” issues, and the media is outside the mainstream. At least for now.