Late last week, the incarcerated soldier who had been known as Bradley Manning announced, via her attorney David Coombs on The Today Show, that she would live as a woman and call herself Chelsea Manning. Since then, the media has been scrambling to figure out how to refer to her. (NBC News’ policy, announced that same day, is to use the female pronoun and the name Chelsea.)
Some news organizations—including The New York Times and the Associated Press—that were initially reluctant to accommodate Manning’s request or were weighing their options, are now using the female pronoun. Meanwhile, conservative media outlets have predictably been resistant not only to using the name and pronoun preferred by Manning, but to the entire concept of transgender identity.
Below, a rundown of how news organizations are handling the issue: (Who have we missed? Let us know in the comments.)
News organizations still using the male pronoun, or which have not announced a change in stance:
Fox News: According to Media Matters, the channel led into a segment on Manning with the Aerosmith song, “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),” and one host, Jon Scott, said honoring Manning’s request was an example of ”political correctness gone amok.”
The National Review: One contributor demanded a court declaration, but Kevin D. Williamson went further. In a post titled “Bradley Manning Is Not A Woman,” Williamson insisted: “No amount of pronoun play, psychotherapeutic doublespeak, or wishful thinking can make it otherwise.”
The Washington Times: All you need to know is today’s headline, which reads, “Bradley Manning ratchets hormone fight, as pressure builds to call him a ‘her.’”
Politico: In the course of reporting yesterday noting that the AP and the Times have changed their policies, Politico repeatedly refers to Manning as “he.”
USA Today: As of August 23, the last story that came up in a search for the name, USA Today was using a male pronoun.
The Washington Post: On August 22, the paper’s copy editor, Bill Walsh, told Poynter, “We’re in the process of reviewing our style in light of the Manning situation.” A Style piece published August 22 by a transgender writer uses the female pronoun.
CNN: On August 25, its website ran a story on the issue and noted, “CNN’s policy is to reference Manning with masculine pronouns since he has not yet taken any steps toward gender transition through surgery or hormone replacement therapy.” On August 26, host Fredricka Whitfield repeatedly used “he.” (Her guest, CNN legal contributor Richard Herman, then made a joke about prison rape.)
News organizations that are now using the female pronoun:
The New York Times: Initial coverage used the male pronoun, but going forward as of August 27, the paper will switch to female. Its style guide says, “Unless a former name is newsworthy or pertinent, use the name and pronouns (he, his, she, her, hers) preferred by the transgender person.”
The Associated Press: On August 22, despite its Stylebook’s policy to “comply with the gender identity preference of an individual,” the wire service said it was seeking more information. On August 26, the AP said it would “henceforth use Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman.”
NPR: On August 22, a representative told The New York Times, “Until Bradley Manning’s desire to have his gender changed actually physically happens, we will be using male-related pronouns to identify him.” A day later, Managing Editor for Standards and Practice Stu Seidel changed course. “In the past day, we have been challenged by listeners and readers and by colleagues at our member stations and in our newsroom, raising a chorus of views, including requests to rethink, backed up by arguments that make good sense. We have been persuaded.” They will use the female pronoun here on out.
The Chicago Tribune: Valentina Djeljosevic, the paper’s deputy editor of Editing & Presentation, told Poynter on August 22, “We’ll say Bradley Manning on first reference since that’s the name readers know. We’ll add that Manning identifies as Chelsea, and we’ll use ‘she’ when a pronoun is needed.”
TIME: An August 27 story on its site notes, “As for TIME, a story on Manning’s announcement made its intentions clear within the first sentence: ‘Chelsea Manning first announced to the world that she considered herself to be a woman with a tweet sent from the account of ‘Breanna Manning’ in May of 2010.’”