Accuracy in Media

Bad arguments are bad arguments, whatever the merits of the cause they’re put to. So it is even with such subjects as medical treatment for trans kids. Leave aside either side of any of the arguments here and just consider HuffPost:

Paxton released a nonbinding legal opinion on February 21 that said doctors who prescribe puberty-blocking drugs, or perform gender confirmation surgeries for transgender minors, are engaging in “child abuse.”

This engenders the headline: “Confusion And Terror Reign In Texas For Families Of Trans Teenagers”

And then this:

“In reality, gender confirmation surgeries are almost never performed on transgender minors in the United States. “

That doesn’t work as a set of logical statements.

Leave aside views on the subject at hand and just consider the statements. A ban on something that almost never happens cannot be the cause of confusion and terror. Paxton may or may not be right in what he’s doing, as with everyone else here. Except, of course, HuffPost itself, they’re definitely wrong.

Part of the job of journalism is to examine such arguments put forward by others and then judge them. Not to either repeat them or to accept them uncritically.

HuffPost is the 26th-largest media outlet in the United States. It gains 62 million visits a month. It’s an important part of that news landscape and as such, it has a responsibility to actually practice journalism. That is, critical evaluation of what is being said, not mere repetition of talking points.

Medical treatment for trans children is indeed a matter of some controversy at the moment. That’s why reporting on it needs to be accurate and properly skeptical of all arguments made by everyone. Claims of terror being caused by a ban on something that almost never happens does not meet that standard.

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