Mainstream News Sources Misgender Chelsea Manning

This morning, news sources reported that Pfc. Chelsea Manning, formerly referred to as “Bradley,” has come out as a transgendered woman.

The British Guardian, which recently gained notoriety when it published information on US domestic spying released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, referred to Manning by her correct pronouns. Many other mainstream news sources–including ABC, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times–continued to refer to Manning using the name “Bradley” and/or male pronouns. The Huffington Post has a roundup of mainstream news misgendering of Manning here.

This would appear to conflict with the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, which commands that journalists should:

-Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.

-Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

The NYT’s Brian Stelter defended his story on Twitter, saying that

FYI: NYT stylebook ( ) says we use transgender person’s preferred name & pronoun “unless a former name is newsworthy.”

…In this case, the former and current names ARE the news, so the NYT story includes both. Story says “him” when referring to past events.

However, the actual text of the NYT story refers to Manning as “Bradley” and “he” in the present tense, including in its description of Manning’s announcement that she is a woman.


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