Metro Weekly

Fox News has consistently enabled anti-trans misinformation since Biden took office

Media Matters for America analyzed Fox News segments and found multiple instances of misinformation and harmful rhetoric

fox news, tucker carlson
Fox News host Tucker Carlson

A new report has found that Fox News has repeatedly enabled misinformation about transgender people and LGBTQ equality since President Biden took office in January.

Media Matters for America found 86 segments on Fox News in the 57 days after Biden entered the Oval Office that dealt with transgender rights and the president’s pro-LGBTQ policies.

Of those 86 segments, the majority “fearmongered about trans athletes and lied about best practice health care for trans youth,” Media Matters, a nonprofit dedicated to monitoring conservative misinformation in U.S. media, said in a press release.

“Fox News anchors, hosts, and guests also cited trans issues in 65 passing mentions, often describing them critically or listing them among examples of supposedly extreme Democratic policies,” they continued.

Media Matters found 52 Fox News segments about the Biden administration’s pro-transgender actions — including reversing the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military — framed transgender equality as an extreme position.

In 54 segments, Fox News’ anchors, hosts, and guests mentioned transgender athletes, an issue that has become a frequent target for conservatives as they attempt to wage a new culture war by banning trans people from competing in sports according to their gender identity.

Related: Tucker Carlson brands trans kids ‘disturbing’ and a ‘nationwide epidemic’

Media Matters found that in those 54 segments, anchors, hosts, and guests on Fox News often falsely claimed that allowing trans females to compete in athletic competitions would “destroy” women’s sports, while Fox News personalities repeatedly misgendered female athletes by calling them “biological males.”

In 33 segments focused on President Biden’s executive order banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination, the vast majority “misleadingly characterized the order as being solely focused on trans athletes, completely ignoring its broader nondiscrimination protections,” according to Media Matters.

Fox News also hosted lawyers and clients from anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom 10 times, with nine of those appearances focused on ADF’s attempts to ban transgender athletes from competing in sports according to their gender identity in Connecticut and Idaho.

Related: Mass Effect’s gay romance cut because of Fox News, designer claims

“Right-wing media attacks on trans people are not new — conservative outlets, particularly Fox News, have spent years targeting the trans community and opposing nondiscrimination protections for them,” Alex Paterson, Media Matters’ LGBTQ Program researcher, said in a statement.

“But media outlets and advocates have taken note that these attacks have increased as the GOP lost the Senate and White House and now seeks to make up that ground in the 2022 election,” Paterson continued.

Republicans across the country are framing transgender rights as a threat to women’s rights and introducing or passing legislation to block trans athletes from competing in women’s sports or restricting access to gender-affirming health care.

Bills have been proposed or approved in at least 25 states to restrict transgender athletes from competing, while states including South Dakota, Mississippi, and Idaho have already passed bans.

A number of states are also advancing or approving bans on transgender health care, including Arkansas and Alabama.

During a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the Equality Act — a landmark piece of legislation that would enshrine nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people into federal law — Republicans attempted to frame the bill as a threat to women because of its protections for transgender people.

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's online editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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