A terrible tragedy occurred Monday as a deranged shooter killed six people in a rampage at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. The murderer, who has now been identified as 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was born as a female but identified as a male.
If you scanned the front pages of America’s major news outlets, however, you wouldn’t know that—because almost all of them completely avoided these facts in their headlines.
We turn to the news to get exactly that—the news. But here it’s quite clear that editors around the country decided that leaving out crucial information was more important than alerting people to it. Here is a snapshot of coverage at 4:00 am Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday. The headlines may have been updated by the time you read this, but this is where they stand at the moment:
- LA Times: Police seek motive as Nashville school shooting captures the attention of a divided nation
- Washington Post: 6 slain at Nashville school; heavily armed shooter a former student, police say
- New York Times: 6 Killed at Christian School, Leaving a Nashville Community Shattered
- Wall Street Journal: Nashville School Shooter Kills Six, Including Three Children
- CNN: Nashville shooter was a former student at the private school, police say
- MSNBC: 6 are dead in Nashville. Let’s revisit how much the Tennessee GOP loves guns.
The MSNBC entry is—not surprisingly—completely offensive, divisive and gratuituous.
Notice what is missing from each and every one of these headlines? Two unusual facts: one, that the shooter was a biological female, and two, that said shooter was transgender. Both of these details are statistically extremely unusual; mass shooters are almost always male, and a mass murderer who is a female identifying as a male is almost unheard of.
It might seem crass to talk about news coverage during a tragedy, and trust me, I take no joy in it. My heart breaks every time I read about one of these horrific events.
It’s important, however, to analyze how we as a country frame these incidents. For instance, if the shooter were a young white male who voted Republican, you can bet every one of the outlets above would have blasted headlines along the lines of, “Radical MAGA Youth Goes on Rampage.”
While the stories listed above may have eventually printed more information about the shooter in the body of the story, they all seemingly in lockstep did what is known as “burying the lede,” ie, they hid the most salient information deep in their articles and went out of their way not to call attention to it.
The fact is, this shooting appears to be a politically motivated act of hate, and as my colleague Bonchie pointed out, it “sure looks like it was a far-left terrorist attack.” Tennessee has been at the center of the transgender debate, and there was even a recent call from a left-wing organization for a “Trans Day of Vengeance.” When the shooter’s manifesto is released, we will know more about her motivations.
In the meantime, expect our lapdog media to stay as far away from the facts as possible and instead try to blame this event on gun policies or MAGA. It’s heinous that so many would try to parlay a horrific event into a chance to make political statements.