The networks each sang from the same hymnal as they covered the awful shooting at Houston’s Lakewood Church: actively excluding the trans identity of the shooter, which caused a great deal of confusion as details of the story were trickling in.
Most emblematic of the news coverage is NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt’s introduction to Morgan Chasky’s report from Houston which, across the dial, was the top story:
LESTER HOLT: Good evening, everyone. It has one of the largest congregations in the country. And tonight after the terrifying shooting inside Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church in Houston, disturbing clues are emerging about the woman who carried it out. Police say she brought her 7-year-old son inside the church on Sunday between services, and opened fire in the hallway with an AR-15 rifle. Two off-duty officers engaged her in a shootout, ultimately killing her. Her son critically wounded in the head. And police today revealing a sticker on her gun had the word “Palestine” on it and that she left behind antisemitic writings along with suspicious chemicals found in her home. None of which law enforcement officials say adds up to a conclusive motive.
All three networks ran a variant of this common theme with these same basic points: ‘Joel Osteen’s megachurch’, a recount of events, the intervention of off-duty law enforcement, the ‘Palestine’ sticker on the shooter’s rifle and the antisemitic writings found in her vehicle.
Also echoing across all three networks- the shooter’s mental health state. NBC went above and beyond by noting that the shooter was at one time subject to an emergency detention order.
But missing from all three reports- the shooter’s trans identity. As our friend Chaya Raichik reported: the shooter, who was born female, was detained multiple times under a male identity. There is no explanation of this whatsoever. The public is simply to accept the narrative of the troubled woman at face value. In fact, many were confused as to what the shooter was– male or female- until the medical examiner weighed in.
The “Palestine” sticker and antisemitic writings are explained away as a beef with her ex husband’s family. But even law enforcement stated that it is too early to establish a motive for this shooting.
Also an undercovered angle: her migrant status. How was she able to get a firearm? We don’t know.
Expect the networks to eject from the story altogether if there is a definitive trans angle that emerges.
To view the ABC transcript, click HERE.
To view the CBS transcript, click HERE.
To view the NBC transcript, click HERE.