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The New York Times Turns Its Back On The Far Left
the rainbow lobby takes on the gray lady over its trans coverage
The New York Times is a far-right, science denying, misinformation peddling hate machine that is killing trans people. And they’ve been served with an open letter — no, two letters! The first letter, signed originally by about 200 Times contributors and even some staff is here.
The letter objects to the NYT’s recent coverage of the debate on transgender: specifically, the merits of so-called “gender-affirming care” and whether schools should be allowed to “socially transition” students without informing parents.
Here’s an excerpt to give you a sense of the very thin complaints:
Katie Baker’s recent feature “When Students Change Gender Identity and Parents Don’t Know” misframed the battle over children’s right to safely transition.
What a beautiful euphemism: “misframed the battle.” You can read the letter yourself, but at no point does it accuse the Times of reporting anything false. It doesn’t accuse the paper of taking anti-trans positions (because it doesn’t) — just reporting on those positions. In other words, the contributors are upset that the Times reports the existence of disagreement. They also complain that the Times’ reports have been cited by conservatives in judicial briefs and legislative debates around the country.
GLAAD, the LGBT lobbyist group, published its own letter to go along with the contributor letter, signed by dozens of other activist groups like HRC.
Their list of demands, including timelines for each demand, was as follows:
Stop printing biased anti-trans stories, immediately.
Listen to trans people: hold a meeting with trans community leaders within two months.
Hire at least four trans writers and editors within three months.
It’s a left-wing triple whammy: censorship, struggle sessions, and of course — diversity hiring. At one point, GLAAD whined that its repeated private attempts at censorship had failed, which gave them no choice but to make the campaign public.
Article after article, page after page, day after day, we have tried to educate you and your colleagues. We have sent emails, made calls, tried to help reporters source stories, and in one case, after more than four months of trying, some of us were even able to sit down and talk with you. It is clear that our behind-the-scenes outreach has had zero impact.
The whining continues:
While there have been a few fair stories, mostly human interest stories, those articles are not getting front-page placement or sent to app users via push notification like the irresponsible pieces are.
Oh, the humanity! They didn’t get push notifications! Wrapping up, the finale does not disappoint:
For those of us who truly treasured the Times coverage for so many years, it is appalling to see how the news and opinion pages are now full of misguided, inaccurate, and disingenuous "both sides" fearmongering and bad faith "just asking questions" coverage. We won’t stand for the Times platforming lies, bias, fringe theories, and dangerous inaccuracies. We demand fair coverage, we demand that the Times platform trans voices as both sources and full-time writers and editors, and we demand a meeting between Times leadership and the transgender community.
There is only one side. There are no questions. Follow the science. To the credit of the Times, it seems that the paper will not play ball. A spokesman released the following statement:
"We received the open letter delivered by GLAAD and welcome their feedback. We understand how GLAAD and the co-signers of the letter see our coverage. But at the same time, we recognize that GLAAD's advocacy mission and The Times's journalistic mission are different.
As a news organization, we pursue independent reporting on transgender issues that include profiling groundbreakers in the movement, challenges and prejudice faced by the community, and how society is grappling with debates about care.
The very news stories criticized in their letter reported deeply and empathetically on issues of care and well-being for trans teens and adults. Our journalism strives to explore, interrogate and reflect the experiences, ideas and debates in society - to help readers understand them. Our reporting did exactly that and we're proud of it"
Today, the Times’ Executive Editor, Joe Kahn, sent the following memo to staff:
Yesterday, The New York Times received a letter delivered by GLAAD, an advocacy group, criticizing coverage in The Times of transgender issues.
It is not unusual for outside groups to critique our coverage or to rally supporters to seek to influence our journalism. In this case, however, members of our staff and contributors to The Times joined the effort. Their protest letter included direct attacks on several of our colleagues, singling them out by name.
Participation in such a campaign is against the letter and spirit of our ethics policy. That policy prohibits our journalists from aligning themselves with advocacy groups and joining protest actions on matters of public policy. We also have a clear policy prohibiting Times journalists from attacking one another's journalism publicly or signaling their support for such attacks.
Our coverage of transgender issues, including the specific pieces singled out for attack, is important, deeply reported, and sensitively written. The journalists who produced those stories nonetheless have endured months of attacks, harassment and threats. The letter also ignores The Times' strong commitment to covering all aspects of transgender issues, including the life experience of transgender people and the prejudice and violence against them in our society. A full list of our coverage can be viewed here, and any review shows that the allegations this group is making are demonstrably false.
We realize these are difficult issues that profoundly affect many colleagues personally, including some colleagues who are themselves transgender. We have welcomed and will continue to invite discussion, criticism and robust debate about our coverage. Even when we don't agree, constructive criticism from colleagues who care, delivered respectfully and through the right channels, strengthens our report.
We do not welcome, and will not tolerate, participation by Times journalists in protests organized by advocacy groups or attacks on colleagues on social media and other public forums.
We live in an era when journalists regularly come under fire for doing solid and essential work. We are committed to protecting and supporting them. Their work distinguishes this institution, and makes us proud.
Joe & Katie
Has the New York Times leadership grown a spine? Will it defend its minimally balanced trans coverage from activist pressure? Only time will tell, but for now (I’m sure I’ll be eating crow on this before long) it seems possible.
At a minimum, it’s a striking difference from how the Times (both leadership and staff) reacted after Tom Cotton’s 2020 op-ed, “Send In The Troops.” Times journalists — many of them — said that the op-ed’s publication constituted a threat to black colleagues. An internal revolt that started on Slack eventually resulted in a paper-wide struggle session, after which James Bennet, the opinion page editor who oversaw the Cotton piece, resigned.
The Times apologized for the publication of the op-ed, added a groveling editor’s note to it, and later changed the paper’s style guide to capitalize “black,” among other things demanded by staff. The markedly different reaction to the trans letters, and especially Kahn’s willingness to call out the few Times journalists who joined them, seems like evidence that the Times might like to disassociate from the furthest fringes of the activist left.
From an operational perspective, the company is well equipped to do so — the Times is massively profitable at the moment, and the numbers are improving.
One of the funnier parts of the campaign is that GLAAD parked a truck outside the Times’ headquarters in New York to go along with the letter(s). Here it is:
THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED. Where have I heard that line before?
The letter and the truck are actually right on this key point: mainstream medical organizations are in absolute lockstep on trans issues. The American Medical Association, as well as the pediatric groups, all endorse “gender-affirming care.” But does that conformity make it right? Of course not! It’s just evidence that they’ve been completely conquered, and all dissent quashed.
And that, of course, is the point of the censorship: to narrow the range of permissible thought. As it relates to policy, it’s absolutely clear where this is going. The activist left is using the same playbook they’ve used on other issues: namely climate change and COVID-19.
In the case of “THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED,” it’s a lazy recycling of the climate jargon (“98% of scientists…”). The logical leap here is that because “climate scientists” (a vague category in the first place) agree on the core claim of anthropogenic climate change, that there can be no discussion on the policy recommendations. You must listen to scientists! Let me clarify something: just because a cabal of PhDs agrees on an issue doesn’t mean you get to end democracy. We’re still here!
The point of censoring dissent on COVID was to conceal from the public that there were alternatives to lockdown. The point of censoring dissent on climate is to conceal from the public that there are alternatives to becoming much poorer through a forced renewable transition. And the point of censoring trans horror stories is to conceal from the public that there are alternatives to putting gender-dysphoric youth through abusive, irreversible chemical and surgical procedures.
It’s a simple playbook: censor the primary information in order to censor the secondary policy discussion that follows, in this case the legal debate over “gender-affirming care” for minors. And the censorship campaign is hardly limited to the media. In California, we have a perfect example of how the left attempted to formalize censorship in law.
The State of California enacted a law to punish medical opinions that differ from the state medical boards on COVID-19, Assembly Bill 2098. That law is on thin ice, having attracted multiple lawsuits — and multiple judicial injunctions. Those cases have been consolidated in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and pending a result there, could go to the Supreme Court.
Ironically, the Times itself seemed to endorse the California censorship law in its coverage:
Trying to strike a balance between free speech and public health, California’s Legislature on Monday approved a bill that would allow regulators to punish doctors for spreading false information about Covid-19 vaccinations and treatments.
Trying to strike a balance between free speech and public health? No, the law tried to end free speech in the field of public health.
Now, there are still enough sane judges on the bench to enforce the most basic provision of the 1st Amendment — the protection of free speech — in the case of doctors speaking about contagious disease and vaccination. But how long before California moves to censor doctors from providing dissenting advice to “trans” youth? After all, the medical associations all agree that double mastectomies are appropriate for children! Will those same judges have the stones to stand up against it?
Even if they aren’t able to effect a legal victory in favor of medical censorship, the pro-trans purge of the medical schools will mean that within a generation, there might not even be any doctors willing or able to dissent. And that’s the ultimate goal: by eliminating dissenting speech, the censors hope to eliminate dissenting thought — until there isn’t anything left to censor.
Richard Hanania put it best last year:
For other left-wing causes, censorship is one tool of many. For gender ideology, it’s essential to maintaining the cult. There is no other movement that has more to fear from a free marketplace of ideas.
In any arena where reality matters, where reality is allowed to be discussed, trans ideology will lose — because it’s obviously absurd. And so the choice for transactivists is obvious: censor reality, and where they can, criminalize it. That makes our choice equally clear: speak the truth and don’t agree to be censored. Ever.
For now, it seems like the Times will continue to make occasional contact with reality on the trans issue. And if Pamela Paul’s column this morning defending J.K. Rowling is any indication, certain elements within the paper may even be relishing the fight.
As for its detractors, if they think that the Times is their enemy, and not a slightly squishy but ultimately loyal ally, then they don’t know an enemy when they see one — and aren’t remotely prepared for the public backlash against their ideological extremism.
With or without the Times, that backlash is well underway.