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The New York Times Response To The GLAAD Trans Letter
full text of the new york times response to the glaad trans letter, and glaad's response to the new york times response
The New York Times has responded to an open letter published by GLAAD that called on the newspaper to “stop printing biased anti-trans stories,” meet with trans leaders and listen to them, and hire “trans writers and editors.” Their response came within hours of the open letter’s publication. Broadly, the newspaper’s message is that it stands by its coverage of trans issues. Here’s the full text of the response:
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.
The GLAAD letter, signed by over 200 “journalists, New York Times contributors,” “organizations,” and “notables” alludes to or explicitly mentions recent NYT reporting and opinion on trans issues such as —
Katie Baker’s When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know, which detailed schools facilitating students’ social transition without telling their parents
Pamela Paul’s opinion piece The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don’t Count, which accuses the “far left” of trying to erasing women by policing language and “reducing them to a mix of body parts and gender stereotypes”
Michael Powell’s coverage of how left leaning institutions are increasingly adopting gender-neutral language such as “birthing people” and “chestfeeding” in A Vanishing Word in Abortion Debate: ‘Women’
GLAAD’s letter called on NYT to stop this type of coverage “immediately.” Also: “Stop platforming anti-trans activists. Stop presenting anti-trans extremists as average Americans without an agenda. Stop questioning trans people's right to exist and access medical care. Stop questioning best practice medical care. Stop questioning science that is SETTLED.”
And GLAAD has responded to NYT’s response. The full text:
The New York Times response is as ill-informed as its coverage of transgender people. It is shameful that the Times’ response blatantly ignores today’s letter from 180+ of their own contributors and does not address the 120+ organizations and leaders who signed the letter alongside GLAAD. The Times is not only standing behind coverage that hundreds of leaders in journalism, media, and LGBTQ advocacy are speaking out against, but boasting that they are proud of it. Does this response mean the Times has no interest in meeting with leaders in the trans community? Does the Times have no interest in hiring trans writers and editors? Does the Times believe it is okay to ignore the voices of hundreds of stakeholders, and thousands more joining in support online? The Times response does not answer these questions and instead tries to dismiss the very real concerns over fair and accurate journalism.
The trans discourse has intensified over the past few weeks, presumably catalyzed by the release of Hogwarts Legacy, a video game set in the Harry Potter universe, which was the most-watched single player game, pre-release, on Twitch. Trans people and allys boycotted the game, and mainstream press tut-tutted in its direction (Vox: whether or not you play the game is a “question of morality”; WIRED: “its real-world harms are impossible to ignore”). Also, The Free Press just announced an upcoming podcast series with JK Rowling, The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, and today, NYT published an opinion piece titled In Defense of JK Rowling by Pamela Paul, who was explicitly named in the GLAAD letter.
Last week, Solana published Vibes in the Machine, detailing his theory that we’re in the middle of a vibe shift. Last night, Balaji tweeted that “NYT is transitioning from wokism to statism. Because the US establishment doesn’t want domestic chaos anymore. They’re in control” — the thread is already at almost 500,000 views. “Prejudice signifying” words in mainstream print seem to be on the decline. Gym bros are morally policing (cancelling) TikTok influencers, the new Gawker is dead, Hogwarts Legacy was the best-selling pre-sale game of all time on Steam, and Rosanne Barr’s new standup special “Cancel This” got advertised during the NFL playoffs.
Is all this evidence of a lasting vibe shift? We’ll have to wait and see.
Update 2.16.23 / Here’s the full text of the New York Times memo to staff about the GLAAD letter.
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