Media Twists Itself Into Knots Covering Transgender School Shooter

By Published on March 28, 2023

Corporate media outlets have stumbled around the name and pronouns of a shooter who killed three school children and three adults Monday after the public learned that the killer was transgender.

Police identified Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old woman who used male pronouns and identified as transgender, as the person behind the shooting, but initial reports referred to Hale as a woman. Mainstream outlets had initially called Hale a woman in their headlines, stories and tweets; rather than referring to the killer by preferred pronouns, some outlets are avoiding references to gender altogether.

CNN edited an article after publication Monday to remove the word “woman,” but the updated article made no mention of the shooter’s transgender identity.

The New York Times corrected the record on Twitter after publishing an article soon after the shooting illustrating how rare mass shootings by females were.

“There was confusion later on Monday about the gender identity of the assailant in the Nashville shooting. Officials had used ‘she’ and ‘her’ to refer to the suspect, who, according to a social media post and a LinkedIn profile, appeared to identify as a man in recent months,” the NYT wrote on Twitter.

USA Today made a similar post on Twitter after identifying the shooter as a woman.

“Police on Monday afternoon said that the shooter was a transgender man,” the outlet wrote. “Officials had initially misidentified the gender of the shooter.”

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Outlets that typically use transgender people’s preferred pronouns are now avoiding pronoun use altogether to refer to Hale.

The Washington Post avoided using either male of female pronouns to refer to Hale in a Monday evening story, and instead used the shooter’s last name throughout the story.

A Monday morning newsletter from Axios similarly avoided using pronouns and instead used Hale’s last name or “the shooter.”

Axios, the NYT, The Washington Post and USA Today did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.


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