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In a recent analysis, GLAAD found that many mainstream media outlets failed to put LGBTQ voices at the forefront of their coverage of the Equality Act.
The landmark LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill recently passed the U.S. House, representing a landmark win for the LGBTQ community. But GLAAD said that mainstream media fell short when it came to reporting on the Act.
That included not featuring enough LGBTQ or specifically trans voices, and allowing anti-transgender voices to run unchecked.
In grading coverage by leading online and in print outlets, GLAAD used the following scale: outstanding, pass, satisfactory/needs improvement, and fail.
In order to achieve a Pass, coverage needed to include statements from LGBTQ advocates and congressmembers, not allow anti-trans rhetoric to run unchallenged, provide proper context for the legislation, and include evidence of polling demonstrating overwhelming support from voters — including Republican voters.
“The goal of GLAAD’s report card is not to shame or attack any particular news outlet or journalist,” the organization said. “But mainstream media can and should do better when it comes to writing about prominent LGBTQ issues, especially when false, inaccurate, and harmful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric is part of the story.”
The only outlets to achieve passing grades were the Associated Press, HuffPost, NPR, Reuters, and The Washington Post.
However, there was some variation within this grading. HuffPost was the only mainstream outlet to include a statement from a specifically trans source, a tweet from the National Center for Trans Equality.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post was called out for including “inaccurate claims from conservative opposition groups without fact-checking.”
ABC News, NBC News, and USA Today all received a mark of Satisfactory/Needs Improvement from GLAAD. Although each outlet quoted LGBTQ advocacy groups or LGBTQ Congressmembers, they also gave platforms to anti-trans voices without correcting or countering them.
For instance, GLAAD found that ABC News had quoted “inaccurate and harmful transphobic rhetoric from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Greg Steube [both Republicans] without sufficient fact-check or added context.”
Bloomberg, The Boston Globe, CBS News, CNN, FOX News, The Hill, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal all received a Fail for their coverage.
In reporting on the Equality Act, not one of the outlets sought quotes from either the LGBTQ community or LGBTQ advocates, and many gave space to “inaccurate, transphobic rhetoric” without any countering or fact-checking.
GLAAD reserved its worst grade for Newsweek, whose coverage was so bad according to GLAAD that it merited a “Super Fail.”
Per GLAAD’s analysis, Newsweek ran three articles on the day of the House vote “focused entirely on transphobic, anti-LGBTQ views of the Equality Act.”
That included two opinion pieces, one of which claimed the Equality Act would lead to “the end of females” and another from the leader of an anti-trans hate group.
Newsweek‘s news article about the passage of the Equality Act in the House “quoted only anti-trans Republican leaders — including nothing from the bill’s sponsors,” GLAAD said.
Notably, no outlet achieved GLAAD’s highest rank, Outstanding, which required unique quotes from LGBTQ advocates and specifically trans advocates, in addition to other criteria.
“LGBTQ voices cannot be left out of the coverage of the Equality Act, especially while lawmakers use their platforms to spread inaccurate information about them,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate said in a statement. “We are urging the mainstream press to include LGBTQ people while covering issues important to our lives, and to recognize and call out misinformation.
“The Equality Act is the most significant civil rights legislation for LGBTQ people and will protect every LGBTQ American from discrimination,” Ellis continued. “The hostile and false rhetoric used to attack the bill and LGBTQ people personally shows why The Equality Act is so needed. The press must focus on the truth about the bill and include the perspectives of those it will protect.”
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