A member of the AP Stylebook committee suggested Thursday that mainstream reporters are resistant to using the preferred pronouns of Anderson Lee Aldrich, the self-described nonbinary shooter who killed five and wounded 17 at a gay night club in Colorado.
Jeff McMillan, who is also a board member of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, said LGBT activists and journalists “worry that Aldrich’s high profile as a crime suspect could lead to negative assumptions about all nonbinary people.” A Washington Free Beacon review of articles written about the shooting confirms McMillan’s suspicion.
From the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times to networks like NBC, journalists have refused to identify Aldrich as “they” or “them” even after acknowledging the shooter requested to be referred to as such. CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota questioned the designation and used masculine pronouns to refer to Aldrich while on air. Even the Associated Press used the name “Aldrich” 40 times in a single article without once using nonbinary pronouns.
An AP spokeswoman told the Free Beacon, “Although, as AP has reported, defense attorneys have said Aldrich now prefers to be addressed using they/them/their pronouns, there is no indication Aldrich has ever used they/them/their, and we have not heard from him directly. Because of the lack of certainty, AP decided not to use any gendered pronoun in this story.”
Reporters who covered Aldrich at the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC, and CNN did not respond to a request for comment.
The omission is the latest attempt by liberal media to disregard inconvenient facts. The Free Beacon found in April that major American papers in more than 1,000 articles over the past two years have downplayed the race of nonwhite criminals. The decision to omit Aldrich’s pronouns also cuts against recent efforts by liberal academics and nonprofits to increase representation of gender fluidity.
The push to include nonbinary pronouns in newspaper style guides began in earnest last decade. The AP Stylebook, according to McMillan, instructs journalists that when reporting on gender it should be “taken at a person’s word.” In 2015, the New York Times and Washington Post both told employees that “they/them” pronouns were to be used for those who identify as nonbinary.
Neither the Times nor the Post were shy about referring to transgender Biden administration officials like Rachel Levine by preferred pronouns. The Associated Press similarly showed no hesitancy in using female pronouns for disgraced military intelligence officer Chelsea Manning.
Reporters have sought to undermine Aldrich’s nonbinary designation by entertaining comments from subjects in their stories who challenge the shooter’s preferred pronouns, one of whom suggested the shooter was asking to be called “they/them” as a “tactic.” McMillan speculated in his article some are concerned that adopting Aldrich’s self-designation may placate “someone accused of a heinous act.”
El Paso County district attorney Michael Allen (R.) told reporters in November that Aldrich’s pronouns will have “no impact on the way I prosecute this case.”
Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Aldrich with 305 counts related to the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The charges include first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and an array of hate crimes.
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