The New York Times is being torn asunder by a civil war between the newspaper’s older, liberal veterans and its younger, woke staff over its coverage of the trans issue. The Daily Mail’s Tom Leonard has more.
The imposing headquarters of the New York Times was built of glass, supposedly to highlight the fact that the august newspaper has nothing to hide.
But last month, something happened there that the management would have very much preferred to go unnoticed.
An electronic billboard lorry parked outside the building bearing the message: “Dear New York Times: Stop questioning trans people’s right to exist & access medical care.”
The stunt was part of a campaign against America’s biggest newspaper to force it to stop criticising the transgender movement and specifically the controversial medical treatments offered to some children wanting to change gender.
What makes it so embarrassing for the 172-year-old newspaper — the bible of the city’s liberal elite and nicknamed the Grey Lady for its dour, sober-minded reputation — is that huge numbers of its own staff and contributors actually support the campaign being waged against it.
Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the trans debate appears to be tearing the paper apart as senior, more experienced staff insist on reporting the growing concerns among scientists, doctors and parents about the effects of transgender treatment, especially on children — while younger, woke employees are furious at what they see as an attack on the trans movement they wholeheartedly support.
The trouble, simmering for some time, burst into the open a few days ago when more than 180 contributors to The New York Times signed a letter to the paper’s ‘managing editor for standards’, accusing it of fomenting ‘bigotry and pseudoscience’.
The newspaper was following the lead of ‘far-Right hate groups’, they added, in what they claimed was excessive and biased coverage of transgender issues.
Signatories to the letter — which controversially named and shamed specific journalists — included famous names such as Sex And The City actress Cynthia Nixon, writer and actress Lena Dunham, and the U.S. intelligence whistleblower Chelsea Manning, herself [sic] a trans woman, who was jailed after leaking hundreds of thousands of secret files about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This virtuous army of self-described ‘thinkers’ accused the newspaper of publishing “irresponsible misinformation about trans people”.
Articles they singled out for censure included one last June headlined The Battle Over Gender Therapy, which, they said, “uncritically used the term ‘Patient Zero’” to refer to a child in the Netherlands who was one of the first to have transgender treatment.
This phrase “vilifies transness as a disease to be feared”, asserted the complainants.
They also attacked a feature headlined When Students Change Gender Identity And Parents Don’t Know, which, they said, “fails to make clear that court cases brought by parents who want schools to out their trans children are part of a legal strategy pursued by anti-trans hate groups”.
These groups, they went on, “regard trans people as an ‘existential threat to society’ and seek to replace the American public education system with Christian homeschooling” — but, they claimed, New York Times readers were never told that.
The protest letter also mentioned three articles that last year were cited by Arkansas’ attorney general in support of a new law in the Republican-controlled state “which would make it a felony, punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment, for any medical provider to administer certain gender-affirming medical care to a minor (including puberty blockers) that diverges from their sex assigned at birth”.
The signatories of the letter compared the newspaper’s transgender reporting with what they described as its “demonising [of] queers” in the 1960s and 1970s, and its alleged hounding of homosexuals when the Aids crisis broke in the 1980s.
One of the letter’s organisers, British writer Jo Livingstone, has even speculated that the paper’s coverage is being masterminded by a ‘transphobe’ high up in the organisation, primarily to increase readership.
The diatribe was co-ordinated with a separate letter written by a trans advocacy group and backed by more than 100 organisations which accused the New York Times of “spreading inaccurate and harmful misinformation about transgender people and issues”.
The great irony in all this is that the New York Times prides itself on being one of the most progressive newspapers in America. It yields to nobody in its liberal values and sanctimonious self-regard.
Worth reading in full.
Hard not to enjoy this internal spat, but the grown ups at the newspaper should be congratulated for not backing down in the face of this tantrum. The fact that they’ve finally decided to take a stand against the hysterical Red Guards may be a sign that the woke tide is finally beginning to recede.