AP Bends Truth in Story About Bradley Manning's Name-Change Court Hearing

Convicted spy Bradley Manning is going to court in the hopes of securing a legal name change to Chelsea Manning. Pfc. Manning, who insists he is a woman and wants to be called Chelsea, has neither procured a court order for a name change nor begun gender reassignment treatments.

But reporting on the development, the Associated Press's John Milburn today repeatedly referred to Manning as either Chelsea or used feminine pronouns, betraying the news wire's devotion to absurd political correctness over an obligation to report that which is objectively true (emphasis mine):


LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge will on Wednesday consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she serves a 35-year sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

The former intelligence analyst, who is serving her sentence at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, said in August that she wants to be known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning instead of Bradley Edward Manning, and to be treated as a woman.

The Army treats Manning as a man and refers to her by her male birth name. Approval of Manning's legal name change request would clear the way for official changes to her military records, but it would not compel the military to treat her as a woman. For example, she wouldn't be transferred from Leavenworth, which doesn't have a women's unit, to a military prison that does.

[..]

She has filed a grievance with the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks commander at Fort Leavenworth over the lack of a response to her request for comprehensive treatment for her gender identity disorder, including specialized gender counseling and hormone replacement therapy.

The military has said it doesn't provide hormone replacement therapy. Gender dysphoria generally disqualifies one for military service, but Manning can't be discharged while serving her sentence.

It is worth noting that in the first draft of this story, however, Manning was referred to with masculine pronouns, judging by the correction appended at the top of the story under a black-and-white photograph of Manning in a wig and wearing makeup [see screen capture below at right]:

CORRECTS FIRST NAME IN FIRST SENTENCE TO CHELSEA INSTEAD OF BRADLEY - FILE - In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. A northeast Kansas judge will make a final determination Wednesday, April 23, 2014, on Manning’s request to change her name from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for giving reams of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/U.S. Army, File)

According to the 2013 AP Stylebook, AP reporters are to "[u]se the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth." Of course, "If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly." 

None of those stated conditions is met in Pfc. Manning's case. Bradley Manning may have privately dabbled in cross-dressing, but throughout his military career and court martial he presented himself as a man. It was only after his conviction that he announced his desire for gender reassignment therapy and for a legal name change to Chelsea. Manning has obviously not "acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex" seeing as he's in military custody and the military is not providing hormone therapy nor allowing him to "present" himself as a female by the wearing of female inmate clothing.

The Associated Press has sacrificed its obligation to report the truth in order to not run afoul of the language police on the Left. This is a grave disservice to the average news consumer as well as to the quest for truth that should mark general news journalism. 

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters