The New York Times is failing trans people

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On Wednesday morning a group of almost 200 New York Times Authors and contributors published an open letter It detailed “serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper’s coverage of transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.” Within hours thousands more authors as well NYT Subscribers and readers signed up to support. The letter was a bold and principled stance, carefully executed; It outlined the flaws in existing biased reporting, such as: B. Misidentifying a source in a massive crowd History of Gender Therapy by Emily Bazelon and a decision to omit crucial context a Katie Baker story about students changing their gender identity without their parents knowing.

In response to that Just ignored that letter, preferring to just acknowledge a separate letter from GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), and quite disparagingly so. The PR response took a classic stance favored by institutional journalism: the autocratic separation of journalists and “lawyers.”

Then this morning the editors hit publish on another worthless opinion essay by Pamela Paul—the former Book Review editor who embarrassingly chose to rebrand as the hero for White’s Aggrieved by Change –titled: “In Defense of JK Rowling.” Yes, Paul uses their massive platform to defend the oppressed billionaire and TERF who wrote Harry Potter. Very brave.

At a time when trans teens continue to die by suicide –And Murder just two days ago in Rowling’s very own United Kingdom—at disproportionate rates amidst unrelenting bullying and legislation that openly aims to prevent their very existenceThe NYT’s Delegating responsibility is confusing. Her PR man, Charlie Stadtlander, chose not to address the contributors’ letter, I can only surmise, because there’s no way to dismiss his meticulous citing of the errors in reporting that prove she is indeed biased – and a disservice to the readers. If the Baker story ignores that the “trials of parents wanting schools to come out their trans children are part of a legal strategy pursued by anti-trans hate groups,” the story obscures full scope of the problem at hand and undermines Stadtlander’s grandiose claim that “even the news stories criticized in her letter reported deeply and sensitively … to help readers understand them.”

Even if the Just insisting on this depressing stance that true journalism is at odds with a clear-eyed assessment of power differences and grave harm, they would have to acknowledge that these omissions detract from the journalistic value of these very long stories.

Instead, the paper opted to publish more of Pamela Paul’s smut.

The implication that anyone who works for their own humanity and survival is not journalistically valuable suggests that the only people who can produce journalism in this edifice are those whose identities have never been seized by oppressive systems and political attack decision-makers. This is a hostile workplace for so many. Journalism is not neutral; it can never be. People are constantly making decisions about language, information, and sources. The aim cannot be to preserve false “objectivity” under a repressive status quo.

I asked author Alexander Chee, one of the signers of the contributors’ letter, if he had anything else to add Just‘ Non-Response was published (and before Paul’s column was published). “I signed because of the love and respect I have for the trans people in my life,” he said. “I signed because I think I believe in the newspaper in a way that they don’t believe in themselves and maybe I’m wrong in expecting something better from them. I still need to. So here we are.” The New York Times is failing trans people

Adam Bradshaw

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