OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
As we still have not seen the manifesto left by Christian school shooter Audrey Hale CBS News has decided to instruct its reporters to leave one detail out of the story.
The company has banned its staff from using the word “transgender” to describe the shooter who is, according to Nashville police chief John Hale, transgender, The New York Post reported.
“The shooter’s gender identity has not been confirmed by CBS News,” the network’s executives said in a memo sent on Tuesday that was 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.”
But the shooter’s gender identity is not a mystery as it was confirmed by Nashville Police Chief Jack hale at a press conference following the massacre.
“She does identify as transgender, yes,” he said to a reporter’s question, Newsweek reported.
When speaking with NBC News anchor Lester Holt the chief said “There’s some belief that there was some resentment for having to go to that school,” after which NBC News said, “He said Hale was transgender.”
The chief said that officials “feel that she identifies as trans, but we’re still in the initial investigation into all of that and if it actually played a role into this incident.”
When asked if Hale’s gender identity could be related to the motive for the crime the chief responded in the affirmative but said much was still not known.
“We can give you that at a later time. There is some theory to that. We’re investigating all the leads,” he said.
“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 from CBS News said.
“This is absurd because the police identified Hale as transgender,” a CBS insider said to The Post. “If the cops didn’t address it, maybe you could avoid it, but withholding information is not journalism.”
On Monday night, after the shooting, correspondent Janet Shamlian said on “CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell” that the shooter “identifies as transgender.”
But since the Tuesday morning staff call led by top executives at the company the shooter’s gender identity has never been mentioned again.
“We are waiting to see the manifesto [written by Hale] and any details about motive,” a spokesperson for CBS spokeswoman said to The Post. “As we say in our guidance, we will then review and revise our reporting.”
The CBS insider said that the executives, Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, who is the executive vice president of newsgathering, and Claudia Milne, the senior vice president of standards and practices, appear to be “twisting themselves in knots” to censor what has been reported about the shooter’s gender identity because of their own “liberal bias,” which is a “disservice” to viewers.
“Are we communicating to our readers and viewers that they cannot handle the basic facts of the case?” the insider said.
Another source said that the network may have a tough time when the manifesto is released and the shooter’s motives are known regarding her “struggles” and “emotional” issues.
“You can’t avoid who this person is,” they said. “This is not an editorial decision. They made a judgment based on personal feelings.”
Thousands of protesters stormed the Tennessee State Capitol on Thursday morning to protest and face lawmakers after they began the legislative session at 9 a.m.
“Parents with their children and other community members said they’re rallying to support stricter gun control in the wake of the Covenant School shooting that left six people dead, including three children and three adults,” local outlet WKRN reported. “The group of protestors reportedly outnumber the available seats in the Capitol rotunda. The group filled the hallways and steps of the Capitol building.”
“We’re here because we still believe that we can make change. We can. It’s a tough state, I get it,” said the organizer Maryam Abolfazli, a “simple mama” who said she refuses to accept “irrational policy making.”
Several of the protesters could be heard shouting: “Stand up, stand up for your rights.”