Journalist Society Funds Transgender Activists

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“We proudly partner with organizations like TJA [Trans Journalists Association] that also serve the needs of journalists,” said a September 22 response from Matthew Hall, the 2020 president of the 111-year-old SPJ.

The SPJ has agreed to fund the advice hotline offered by the TJA. The hotline is intended to influence reporters seeking advice on covering aspects of the transgender ideology claim that each person’s feelings about “gender” must be more legally and culturally important than their different and complementary male or female biology, even in sports, privacy, and sex.

“Calls are coming in, and people with lived experiences from SPJ and TJA are being paid to answer questions,” Hall’s SPJ statement said. “The hotline is funded with seed money from SPJ Region 3 and the Florida Pro Chapter, and it is confidential so we won’t say who uses it,” said Hall, who declined to say if transgender activists fund the project.

“Even if you choose not to follow that [transgender] advice, you’ll hang up with an enlightened grasp of the issues currently roiling the news media. And whatever happens on your call, it’s all off the record,” says an announcement about the TJA deal on the SPJ website.

“Journalists need to foster debate on this subject instead of helping these mobs close everyone down,” countered Natasha Chart, board chairman of the Woman’s Liberation Front, a feminist group. She continued:

They are becoming the cancel-culture mob with this agreement. They’re just going to agree [with the TJA] that all of these people in the gender identity movement have the absolute right to silence their critics in democratic debate forever — from all public debates, from all public forums. They’re just going to take on this extremely politicized program about a topic that no one had even been troubled about barely 10 years ago, and [now] have just decided that nobody’s allowed to talk about this.

Hall declined to address Breitbart’s questions about the TJA’s style guide, even though the guide urges reporters to cancel feminist groups who want to preserve the popular legal and cultural recognition of women’s distinctive needs and rights.

However, in September, Hall told EIJNews.org that “Diversity and inclusion has always been important, and the country is having a reckoning in a lot of industries and journalism is no exception.”

Breitbart also sent questions to leaders in the SPJ and the SPJ foundation. The SPJ leaders did not respond, although they touted the project to a site run by the National Press Club.

Breitbart’s questions were mostly about the TJA’s hostility to women’s groups.

For example, the style guide adopted by the TJA — and apparently accepted by the SPJ — urges reporters to deny feminists the right to label their own objections to transgender demands:

avoid giving a platform to TERFs or so-called “gender critical feminists”

Some anti-trans rights groups and individuals use the euphemism “gender critical feminism” to describe their hateful ideology. They are also sometimes called “trans exclusionary radical feminists” or TERFs. This ideology should not be elevated in the press. When reporting on fringe groups and hate groups, instead of calling them TERFs or gender critical feminists, use language like transphobic, anti-trans, etc. Avoid referring to anyone as a feminist when they are spreading anti-trans hate.

Women, girls, boys, and men who give up on changing their male or female presentation via the “transition” process also should be largely disregarded by the media, say the SPJ’s allies:

do not emphasize detransitioning or report disinformation on those who stop transition-related care

“Detransitioning” is generally defined as seeking gender-affirming medical care and then stopping it and/or attempting to reverse its effects. Journalists have overemphasized and sensationalized stories about detransition. Narratives of detransition should be generally avoided because they misrepresent the social and financial complications of transition. They often suggest trans people should not have bodily autonomy and give fuel to the far right’s attacks on trans youth.

The style guide urges journalists to ignore people who say that transgender status must be reserved for people willing to undergo bodily modification. Those people are “truscum” the style guide says:

avoid giving a platform to transmedicalists/truscum

Transmedicalists are a fringe part of the trans community who believe that experiencing gender dysphoria and seeking gender-affirming medical care is a prerequisite of being trans. Many wrongly argue that non-binary people cannot be trans and spread the inaccurate message that non-binary people don’t need or want gender-affirming medical care. Avoid elevating this harmful ideology, which ignores the varied experiences of trans people. On the rare occasion that it’s ethical to report on this ideology, bear in mind that only reporters deeply familiar with trans communities are equipped to cover this topic without causing harm and spreading disinformation.

That body-modification requirement contrasts with the more commonplace demand by transgender activists that transgender status be given to anyone based on their current feelings about their undefined and unmeasurable notion of “gender.”

The TJA also seeks to downplay coverage of the expanding issue of men in women’s sports: “While this is a controversial issue in the media, there’s no evidence that trans women who are receiving transition-related medical care have an advantage over cis women.”

Reporters should not use people’s prior opposite-sex names when covering crime stories, according to the JTA: “Police often deadname, misgender, and provide inaccurate information about trans victims.”

Transgender activists have been so dominant and aggressive, said Chart, that many women in journalism are afraid to speak about transgenderism. The TJA agreement with SPJ leaders is a “hostage letter,” she said, adding:

The left likes to say that they defend women’s rights, but women are still just as disproportionately vulnerable as they ever have been to having a man come into our professional space and saying ‘Hey, she’s a troublemaker, she needs to go!’ and she’s gone. This is just a really common experience for many women … Many of these women [in the SPJ] could be canceled themselves, and they’re more likely to be socially, economically ruined than a similarly situated male colleague of theirs who stands up and speaks out.

The transgender “mob” uses threatening messages on social media, professional pressure, and corporate cooperation to enforce its agenda, said Chart. She continued:

There’s nothing they can say that is too extreme because it can be [justified as a reaction to] “Terrible fascist violence,” [or] “The violence of the white supremacist state is packed behind this woman,” who is saying slowly the innocuous phrase, “Trans women are men.”

And so, they can say anything and so they’re saying things that go beyond “I’m going to call you an extreme name,” to “I think they should drown,” “They should die,” “RIP JK Rowling.” That always seemed to have been actually a pretty reasonable standard for hate speech, which is not just an act of speech; it’s the equivalent of calling fire in a crowded theater.

“I don’t think that any journalist organization should have a relationship with people who are demanding that they lie,” said Chart. She continued:

I think that we can see from the recent experience in the U.K. that when journalists do foster open communication with women’s groups and people with a wide range of opinions and will report accurately on the facts, the public has a different response to these policies and these ideas. People feel free to speak their minds again. And you can see that they don’t agree with this.

The TJA responded to Breitbart’s questions by saying, “We may take several days to reply to your inquiry.”