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Pick your words, even if somebody is picking their gender

August 27, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Used to be that I would rail and wail at the accusations of “the media” advancing some kind of agenda.

Then, I realized most people really don’t mean their local reporter but the big national folks.

And lately, especially since I went away for 19 months (that will be two years ago on Labor Day), I have been noticing a little bit here and there.

I think it’s a kind of mission creep, the subtle expansion of the role of the media.

Maybe it’s driven by all the independent bloggers without rules. Maybe it’s driven by talk radio and the whole fanning of the liberal vs. conservative divide that permeates everything from politics to the church to the quality of mushroom you should sautee to eat with your steak, assuming you still can afford a steak, which touches off the whole liberal vs. conservative divide again.

Maybe it is a sinister agenda to advance somebody’s idea of right and wrong.

Or maybe it’s just that nobody knows exactly how to deal with some stories.

For instance: Bradley Manning.

He, now requesting that we refer to him as “Chelsea Manning,” says through legal counsel that he doesn’t expect to be imprisoned anywhere but Leavenworth, where men are held, and he would pay for his own hormone shots to make him more of a Chelsea than a Bradley.

The story, as originally written, was referring to Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning. It later referred to “the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning.”

Sounds dangerously close to referring to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince to me.

My solution may be considered indelicate by some, or politically incorrect by all, but it was to change the references, rewriting to refer to Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who now wants to be known as Chelsea. Strikes me as more truthful. He signed on as Bradley Manning, and Army officials weren’t referring to him as Chelsea after he was found guilty in the WikiLeaks case. Also, he has not legally changed his name, that I know of. Last time I checked, in the side of the news business that still follows some kind of rules of responsibility, we go by what a person is called, not what they want to be called. We can note their preference, but legally, he’s not Chelsea. His prison mail has to be addressed to Bradley, he will be called Bradley in any appeals.

So, he is Bradley who wants to be known as Chelsea in my book.

The other issue seems much simpler. It concerned the use of Obamacare in quotes in a story about the debt limit. Seems to me that even Obama has called it Obamacare, so no need to call it “Obamacare.”

It’s Obamacare. Delete the quotes.

Of real importance is that story. Democrats and Republicans will be squaring off for the 2013 rematch before October ends. And somehow, letting it fall to the sequester didn’t seem so damaging after all, did it? The dire predictions of destroying the recovery haven’t come true. The fizzling recovery seems to keep right on fizzling along, up just a little, down just a little. Haven’t heard any resulting damage to the nation by having some in the bureaucracy work four-day weeks. Hmmm?


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