Pronoun Wars: MSNBC Host Can’t Decide Whether Bradley Manning Is ‘He’ Or ‘She’

It looks as if MSNBC has kowtowed to Bradley Manning’s request to be referred to as a woman. On Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, fill-in host Mara Schiavocampo tried to honor Manning’s bizarre request, but kept slipping up and referring to Manning as “he.”

In a teaser before the segment, Schiavocampo declared, “Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning. But is Leavenworth prison legally obligated to grant the soldier gender re-assignment therapy? And is she in any danger in a men's prison?”


Considering that Manning has not yet undergone surgery or hormone therapy to change his gender, it seems premature to start declaring him a woman. But MSNBC has a habit of bowing to political correctness, so Schiavocampo accepted Manning’s desired gender change as a done deal. After a commercial break, she began her story: “Chelsea Manning has now begun her prison term at the army's Ft. Leavenworth, where she's been sentenced to 35 years.”

However, later in the segment Schiavocampo subconsciously drifted back into common sense, not to mention biological accuracy. Referring to Manning, she asked her guest, “And in terms of now his mission to basically -- I don't know how far he wants to go in reassigning his gender but he is asking for hormone therapy.”

Whoops. So much for “Chelsea” Manning. Schiavocampo’s guest, law professor and retired lieutenant colonel Jeffrey Addicott, scoffed at Manning’s desire to be a woman, prompting the host to defend her use of pronouns: “Well, the reason that I'm actually using ‘she’ is because that's what his request was through his attorney, so we're just trying to honor that request.”

Yikes. Schiavocampo used “his” twice in that sentence, immediately after stating the she was using “she” to describe Manning. She continued on, unable to settle on a pronoun: “But in terms of, you were talking about the motivations, you say clearly he's very arrogant. But do you think it's that or do you think there’s also a big concern on her part that she will now spend the next at least seven years in an all-male facility?”

On her next question, Schiavocampo messed up yet again, but this time she caught herself in the act: “Do you think that the government, though, has any responsibility to protect his security in being in an all-male facility if he now -- or she, rather -- now identifies as a woman, that there could be questions about her safety?” The host then managed to refer to Manning as a woman for the rest of the interview.

In all likelihood, Schiavocampo repeatedly lapsed into calling Manning “he” because she knows deep down that Manning is a man. It was a case of reality waging war with an absurd level of political correctness. Addicott, who pulled no punches throughout the interview, provided an antidote to the gender pronoun silliness with a dose of bluntness:
 

"I’m not going to coddle this person. He's still a male, he has the male genitalia. He's going in to serve with males... We can't bring ourselves down to the level of these type of criminal -- and he's a criminal, he’s a convicted criminal. He doesn't have these rights. His right is to go to jail and serve your time, we'll protect you as we protect any other prisoner, have a nice day."
 

One last note. MSNBC loves to slam conservatives as "anti-science" on global warming and conservative Christians as anti-science for believing God created the world directly, not through evolution. Yet when it comes to the transgender issue, they surrender to subjective emotionalism, sacrificing biological and genetically correct terms -- Bradley's DNA has Y-chromosomes, therefore he's a male -- for the sake of political correctness. Talk about being anti-science.

Below is a transcript of the segment:

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO: Bradley Manning is now Chelsea Manning. But is Leavenworth prison legally obligated to grant the soldier gender re-assignment therapy? And is she in any danger in a men's prison?

[commercial break]

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Chelsea Manning has now begun her prison term at the army's Ft. Leavenworth where she's been sentenced to 35 years. The already politicized case became even more complicated last week when Manning, formerly known as Bradley, announced that he was now identifying as a woman and requested that the military provide hormone therapy. Joining me for more on this is Jeffrey Addicott, professor at St. Mary's University School of Law and director of its Center for Terrorism Law and a retired lieutenant colonel in the army who served in the judge advocate generals’ court. Thanks so much for being here this afternoon.

JEFFREY ADDICOTT: My pleasure.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Now first of all, I want to get your reaction to Manning's sentence, 35 years with the possibility of parole in seven years. Does that fit the crime in your opinion?

ADDICOTT: No, it doesn't. The defense counsel was very shrewd here. They elected to go with a judge and not with the jury. They got a judge that gave a very light sentence, considering the fact that he's eligible for parole in the military system. He'll probably get it, so he'll be out in the streets in about seven to eight years. We wanted to send a signal of deterrence to other people that are out there, other Mannings that might be thinking about doing the same thing. He released more classified information that was detrimental to this nation than any person in the history of this country.



SCHIAVOCAMPO: And in terms of now his mission to basically -- I don't know how far he wants to go in reassigning his gender but he is asking for hormone therapy. Now the military does not provide hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery. Manning's lawyer says that he's going to do everything in his power to get the treatment for Manning. Do you see the military changing its stance on this given the very public nature of this case?

ADDICOTT: You know, it's curious that he decided to change his identification right when the sentence came out. He's obviously a very arrogant person, and all criminals are arrogant so this is just his brand of arrogance. I've checked the D.O.D. regulations, the military is under no obligation to provide any type of medical expenses associated with his desires to change from one sex to the other. You know, he can probably make that announcement all he wants to. And of course, we're using the he/she here because I think we're all saying, like, really?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Well, the reason that I'm actually using she is because that's what his request was through his attorney, so we're just trying to honor that request. But in terms of, you were talking about the motivations, you say clearly he's very arrogant. But do you think it's that or do you think there’s also a big concern on her part that she will now spend the next at least seven years in an all-male facility?

ADDICOTT: Well, I mean, I don't coddle criminals. I don’t think we need to coddle criminals. Whatever you want to call it yourself, that’s fine. Here's your suit, here’s your jail cell, have a nice day. That should be the approach of most Americans. This is outrageous that we should coddle this individual, that we should make the military a social engineering product like this administration’s tried to do and other administrations in the past. The job in the military is not to engage in this type of supercilious activity. Let's just move on, lock him up, and hopefully that will be a deterrence to other people that think that they might want to do the same thing that this individual did.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Do you think that the government, though, has any responsibility to protect his security in being in an all-male facility if he now -- or she, rather -- now identifies as a woman, that there could be questions about her safety and that there is an obligation to protect your prisoners from any imminent harm, because that’s not part of the sentence.

ADDICOTT: No, I mean, I’m not going to coddle this person. He's still a male, he has the male genitalia. He's going in to serve with males. I mean, what a great idea. If I'm convicted I can say, I'm a female, throw me in with the female prisoners. We can't bring ourselves down to the level of these type of criminal -- and he's a criminal, he’s a convicted criminal. He doesn't have these rights. His right is to go to jail and serve your time, we'll protect you as we protect any other prisoner, have a nice day.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: There are also two other options that are kind of being tossed around. One is transferring her to a nonmilitary prison where there are designated wards for transgender inmates. And the other thing is the possibility of offering her some kind of protected, isolated opportunity to serve her time. What do you think about that?

ADDICOTT: No and no.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: All right, straight to the point. Jeffrey Addicott, thanks so much for your time this afternoon.
 

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.