NEWS & ANALYSIS

To Tell the Truth: NBC Misleads Readers in Reporting of Transgender Book Story

Uses "Experts" and "Advocates" Interchangeably in Covering Amazon Decision


To Tell the Truth is Human Events News’ press analysis series. These stories will focus on “news” being reported by either The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, NBC News, or CBS News. Despite 24-hour cable broadcasts, and an untold number of internet sources, these established, mainstream platforms continue to influence the majority of American citizens and their political opinions.

The “news” generated by these press outlets is better regarded as “opinion” crafted in a way designed to discourage skepticism and critical thought on the part of the audience. To Tell the Truth will be Human Events News’ periodic effort to help address this bias and restore the skepticism necessary on the part of all Americans to maintain a free society.

The framing of a recent “news” report from NBC suggests that Amazon’s decision to sell a particular book despite the disapproval of certain political activists is somehow rebellious, dangerous, or problematic.

 Amazon will not remove book advocates say endangers transgender youth,” reads a Wednesday evening headline in “NBC OUT,” the publication’s section geared toward “the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.”

The piece takes aim at Amazon for daring to sell a book by Wall Street Journal journalist Abigail Shrier. “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” focuses on the increasing number of young girls proclaiming to be transgender in recent years.

“I wrote specifically about the sudden, severe spike in transgender identification among adolescent girls. I fully support medical transition for mature adults. And I have no desire to be a provocateur,” Shrier said in an op-ed for Quillette defending her book.

“Between 2016 and 2017, the number of females seeking gender surgery quadrupled in the United States. Thousands of teen girls across the Western world are not only self-diagnosing with a real dysphoric condition they likely do not have; in many cases, they are obtaining hormones and surgeries following the most cursory diagnostic processes,” Shrier explained.

“Schoolteachers, therapists, doctors, surgeons, and medical-accreditation organizations are all rubber-stamping these transitions, often out of fear that doing otherwise will be reported as a sign of “transphobia”—despite growing evidence that most young people who present as trans will eventually desist, and so these interventions will do more harm than good.”

But NBC reports that “In Irreversible Damage,’ Abigail Shrier argues youth are being “fast-tracked” into medical transition — a claim experts say isn’t true and harms trans youth.”

The piece uses the terms “advocates” and “experts” interchangeably, and pegs Amazon as the bad actor —in an extremely transparent effort to remove the book from market access via public pressure.

“Amazon is still selling a book that advocates say perpetuates the idea that being transgender is harmful to youth and something to be ‘cured,'” NBC reports:

“Dozens of Amazon employees, including some who are LGBTQ, filed an internal complaint in April arguing that the book violates Amazon’s policy against selling books “that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness,” according to The Seattle Times, which received images of the complaint.”

“But on April 23, the company’s director of book content risk and quality announced on an internal message board that Amazon would continue to sell the book.”

The article goes on to make sweeping statements about “trans advocates and physicians who treat trans youth,” and why they oppose the book. Never mind the fact that of course they do, NBC conveniently neglects to mention the viewpoint of “experts” on the other side of the argument. Perhaps some physicians who don’t frame their work around “treating trans youth” would be relevant interviewees.

In order to back up the claim that minors are “never ‘fast-tracked’ into medical transition,” the article points out that “international medical guidance recommends that prepubertal youth socially transition and receive mental health therapy.” No citation is provided for which guidance is being referenced, and no assertion is made that there is “never” deviation from said guidance.

To NBC’s credit, it does present a free-speech oriented argument for continuing to sell the book — Albeit one that compared the work to Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”

“Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union and a law professor at the New York Law School, said she hasn’t read Shrier’s book, but “it doesn’t matter” to her what the book says — she thinks it should continue to be published and sold as a matter of free speech.

She said she recently tried to persuade a publisher to keep publishing “Mien Kampf,” Hitler’s autobiography, “and it’s not despite the fact that my father barely survived the Holocaust — it’s because of that fact,” Strossen said, adding that she believes free speech is “the most effective way to expand rights and safety and dignity for any individual or group, but, in particular, those who have traditionally been marginalized and oppressed.”

No matter how well intended, suppression of speech does more harm than good, Strossen said. First, she argued that it gives the person being censored and their speech even more attention. Second, she said people who are anti-trans can make people like Shrier ‘martyrs for free speech.’”

The piece was authored by NBC Out associate editor Jo Yurcaba, a seemingly gender non-conforming journalist who covers “LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive justice, sexual violence, and science and health.”

Previous works from Yurcaba include an article detailing resources for teenagers seeking to  circumvent regulations to obtain abortions without parental approval, as well as one observing the options for transgender individuals seeking supposedly gender neutral abortion options.

Yurcaba’s twitter feed indicates a perceived statistical significance of 20 transgender people having been killed so far in 2021.

To tell the Truth: NBC’s choice to single out Amazon in order to target a book disliked by transgender activists is a blatant attempt to pressure Big Business into book burning via corporate wokeism. It is one of many shameless attempts to capitalize on the fact that an increasing number of private businesses are capitulating to political manipulation by a vocal minority.

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