The New York Times’ persistent, dangerous bias problem.

The New York Times is the day’s first newspaper reading, and, after heat lightning flashes of despair, often my last. Thanks to a surge in subscriptions during the Trump era, the paper has settled on a pragmatic ethos in which an estimable adherence to J-school principles concerning fair play has resulted in a kind of survivor guilt among reporters. I will assume most of them are middling liberals: the sort who attend gay weddings, have homes with well-stocked bookshelves, buy organic when Joe Biden’s inflation lets them, and let their kids buy exotic pets. Like many liberals they believe in fair play, a variation on Michelle Obama’s noble maxim at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. These theories produce stories whose ledes, transitions, and choice of sources reflect the biases of your average Matt Gaetz voter in Fort Walton Beach. “School choice,” low taxes, owning property in “safe” neighborhoods, balanced budgets, the decrying of the theoretical “cancellation” of beloved pop culture figures — these are good. To compare them to your average Cuban-American with a TRUMP ’24 bumper sticker would horrify them, though. And they hate Trumpism! But a combination of career uncertainty, a fetishizing of both-sides-do-it, and intellectual sloth leads to excellent examples of toxic journalism like last Sunday’s feature on the parents of trans children:

But how schools should address gender identity cuts through the liberal and conservative divide. Parents of all political persuasions have found themselves unsettled by what schools know and don’t reveal.

Mrs. Bradshaw said she wouldn’t align herself with Republican lawmakers who sought to ban L.G.B.T.Q. rights, but she also felt as though her school’s policy left no room for nuance.

“It is almost impossible to have these discussions,” Mrs. Bradshaw said. “There is no forum for someone like me.”

Other self-described liberal parents said they registered as independents or voted for Republican candidates for the first time as a result of this issue. Although they haven’t sued, some have retained lawyers affiliated with the largest legal organization on the religious right to battle their children’s schools.

In November, Erica Anderson, a well-known clinical psychologist who has counseled hundreds of children over gender identity-related issues and is transgender herself, filed an amicus brief in a Maryland lawsuit in support of parents represented by a conservative law group.

As I implied on Twitter yesterday, check their voting records. “Waaah why are these libs making me vote for Ron DeSantis!” is the kind of delicious roast beef sandwich no national affairs reporter can resist, for it reminds them of the availability of conservative voters in rural diners stirring the ice in their root beer glasses as they wait for the New York Times to interview them.

To be fair to the story, the reporter spoke to a father in Alabama who correctly admitted that many students don’t have safe spaces at home. They also included this passage:

Many advocates for L.G.B.T.Q. youth counter that parents should stop scapegoating schools and instead ask themselves why they don’t believe their children. They said ensuring that schools provide enough support for transgender students is more crucial than ever, given the rise of legislation that blocks their access to bathrooms, sports and gender-affirming care.

A story that placates parents with a quote or two would not have offended me or trans readers; it’s the implied bias, a persistent and dangerous phenomenon. To acknowledge that kids confide in teachers because they’re afraid of their parents would have complicated the story in the ways that writers enjoy as well as stated a truth many of us have known for decades. Including these parents, once children themselves.

Finally, speaking of biases:

Until the next time.

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