CBS Orders Reporters Not to Identify Nashville Shooter as Transgender on Air

AP Photo/John Amis

CBS News has taken the bizarre step of ordering its on-air talent not to mention that Aubrey Hale was transgender. “The shooter’s gender identity has not been confirmed by CBS News. As such, we should avoid any mention of it as it has no known relevance to the crime. Should that change, we can and will revisit,” the memo read, per the New York Post


Nashville Police Chief John Drake says that Hale was under the care of a mental health professional for an “emotional disorder” and that Hale’s social media accounts were full of her use of male pronouns. Police referred to Hale as transgender.

But CBS’s “see no trans, hear no trans, and speak no trans” will be in effect — until the release of Hale’s “Manifesto,” which will surely identify her as transgender.

Will CBS make note of its previous idiotic policy?

The CBS News directive was delivered on a Tuesday morning editorial call by Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, the executive vice president of newsgathering, and Claudia Milne, the senior vice president of standards and practices, according to sources close to the Tiffany Network.

“Right now we advise saying: POLICE IDENTIFIED THE SUSPECT AS A 28-YEAR-OLD AUDREY HALE, WHO [sic] THEY SHOT AND KILLED AT THE SCENE,” the Tuesday memo said. “And move on to focus on other important points of the investigation, community and solutions.

Sources said Ciprian-Matthews and Milne spent 15 minutes on the Tuesday call discussing the directive — which bewildered many journalists, given that Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief John Drake said Hale was transgender and that her identity may be relevant to the motive.


“This is absurd because the police identified Hale as transgender,” a CBS insider told the Post. “If the cops didn’t address it, maybe you could avoid it, but withholding information is not journalism.”

That’s it exactly. The directive is not meant to further understand what happened. It’s not meant to clarify anything. It’s meant solely to obscure what may be a vital piece of information for purposes having to do more with politics than journalism.

The Tuesday call with the CBS News execs left the network’s roughly 150 staffers stunned into awkward silence, according to a source who was on the call.

The source noted that the two CBS News execs appeared to be “twisting themselves in knots” by censoring the reporting over their own “liberal bias,” which is ultimately a “disservice” to the network’s audience.

“You need to look at all the facts of the case,” the angry CBS source told the Post. “Everyone should be invested in understanding what happened. I don’t know how you do that without understanding the full scope of the situation.”

Related: A Trans Person Just Murdered Christians. How Did Trans People Become the Victims?


But what if your personal editorial bias plays a part in failing to report a salient fact of the case? “You can’t avoid who this person is,” the source said, before turning to Ciprian-Matthews and Milne. “This is not an editorial decision. They made a judgment based on personal feelings.”

Personal political feelings? If so, both editorial staffers need to be disciplined so that CBS sends a strong message to the rest of their employees that personal biases have no place in the editorial process.



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