CBS News executives have allegedly barred staffers from using the word “transgender” to describe the Nashville shooter, despite police confirming that the shooter identified as such, according to a memo obtained by the New York Post.
“The shooter’s gender identity has not been confirmed by CBS News,” the network’s executives said in a Tuesday memo obtained by The Post. “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.”
Soon after the shooting at Nashville’s Covenant School on Monday, in which three students and three adults were shot and killed, police stated that 28-year-old Audrey Hale, who was herself killed by police during the attack, identified as transgender — meaning Hale allegedly believed she was a man.
Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, the executive vice president of newsgathering, and Claudia Milne, the senior vice president of standards, allegedly announced the directives in a Tuesday morning editorial call, The Post reported, citing “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 memo allegedly said. “And move on to focus on other important points of the investigation, community and solutions.”
Sources allegedly told the publication that many CBS News journalists were upset by the directive, in light of the fact that police confirmed Hale was transgender and “that her identity may be relevant to the motive,” according to the report.
“This is absurd because the police identified Hale as transgender,” a CBS insider allegedly told the publication. “If the cops didn’t address it, maybe you could avoid it, but withholding information is not journalism.”
According to Fox News, Grabian transcripts show that CBS Evening News included police confirmation of Hale’s transgender identity during a Monday broadcast, but then made no mention of her identifying as transgender on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“However, CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell did use female pronouns for the shooter on Tuesday,” Fox News reported.
A CBS spokeswoman told The Post the network could review its guidance pending the release of Hale’s manifesto and “any details about the motive.”