The co-chairs of the New York City Council’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus blasted the New York Post on March 28 after the newspaper ran a cover story describing the Nashville school shooter as a “TRANSGENDER KILLER” who targeted a “CHRISTIAN SCHOOL”
The cover was published just hours after a March 27 school shooting in the Green Hills section of Nashville, Tennessee, where an individual entered the Covenant School and fatally shot three children and three adults. The shooter was fatally shot by police officers who responded to the scene.
The hours and the day following the shooting have witnessed a wide range reports about the gender identity of the killer, identified as 28-year-old Audrey E. Hale. Police Chief John Drake said publicly on March 27 that the shooter identified as transgender, but there were conflicting reports the victim’s pronouns and gender identity. The specific details surrounding Hale’s gender identity remain unclear.
That did not, however, stop the New York Post from making Hale’s gender identity the focal point — and the first word — of the cover headline.
“Today’s New York Post cover story is a grave insult to the journalistic profession and those around the world who dedicate their careers to honest reporting,” said LGBTQIA+ Caucus co-chairs Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn and Tiffany Cabán of Queens. “The editorial staff’s deliberate choice to insinuate that the alleged shooter’s gender identity was a motive for the shooting is a disgusting attempt to capitalize on a national tragedy in the pursuit of a hateful political agenda.”
One of the New York Post’s several articles about the case noted that “investigators are looking into” whether the shooter’s “identity played a role in the mass shooting.”
The LGBTQIA+ Caucus also condemned the New York Post on a broader level for its coverage of transgender and non-binary individuals at a time when there are other issues in need of greater attention. The caucus said the Post’s decision to “further stoke a culture war rather than report on the systemic issues that fuel these tragedies is nothing short of a moral failing.”
“Transgender Americans are far more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators, and the Post’s shameless scapegoating of this marginalized group will only further the marginalization faced by the transgender community on a daily basis,” the co-chairs wrote. “To see the right and its propaganda machine express sudden interest in a school shooting is a fascinating display of their blatant disregard for basic principles of logic and journalistic ethics. The work of journalists is central to the wellbeing of our democracy. However, our communities deserve far better than the Post.”