Commentary

USA Today Retroactively Changes Female Athlete's Op-Ed, Calling Her Words 'Hurtful' to Transgender Competitors

At USA Today, the truth hurts.

That’s the lesson of the week after the liberal propaganda sheet that pretends to be a newspaper pushed a commentary piece by a female former high school athlete making an apparently heartfelt, clearly thoughtful case on why biological males should not be allowed to compete against girls in scholastic athletics.

The problem? USA Today’s editors warped the girl’s words, then implied she did something wrong.

The piece was written by Chelsea Mitchell, a former Connecticut high school track star with personal experience with losing to boys in competition.

When it was first published by USA Today, it included Mitchell’s original description of some athletes she was competing against as “male,” or having a “male body.”

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Those are simple facts, familiar to anyone who’s followed the transgender-athletic issue (as well as discernible to anyone with reasonable vision and over the age of say, 4).

But for the woke editors at USA Today, who seem determined to make a disgrace of the journalism business on a daily basis, those words were too much.

According to Mitchell’s attorney, Christiana Holcomb of the Alliance Defending Freedom, USA Today revisited the piece after publication to change the word “male” to “transgender” or simply eliminate the reference entirely.

Thankfully for the cause of intellectual honesty, Alliance Defending Freedom published Mitchell’s piece with the original wording and noted Mitchell had not been informed of the changes to her piece when they were made.

No sane person cognizant of the English language could find anything pejorative in Mitchell’s identification of athletes born as boys, with the sexual reproduction equipment of boys, and the muscle and body development of an adolescent boy as anything but “male.”

But USA Today’s editors — apparently after getting flak, either internally or externally — decided to change things. And Holcomb was not happy.

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“What was the ‘hurtful language’ that editors deleted from Chelsea’s opinion piece three days after publication? The word ‘male,'” Holcomb tweeted.

“USA Today violated its principles to appease the mob. This blatant censorship violates the trust we place in media to be honest brokers of public debate.”

What’s worse than that editorial travesty was the decision by USA Today to place a note on the scrubbed commentary piece with wording that implied Mitchell was the one at fault:

“Editor’s note: This column has been updated to reflect USA TODAY’s standards and style guidelines,” the paper stated. “We regret that hurtful language was used.”

(A phone call and email to USA Today’s corrections department were not returned Thursday.)

Now, every publishing organization has the right to its own style rules. If biased outfits like USA Today, The New York Times and The Associated  Press want to capitalize “Black” in stories about newsmakers who happen to be lowercase “black” by any rule of English grammar, that’s their business.

And if USA Today’s editors think willful obfuscation — substituting a word like “transgender” for the clear English of “male” — is the key to clear writing, that’s a matter for them, their own consciences and God. (Not to mention logic and honesty.)

Is it fair to force girls to compete against boys in athletics?

But readers of the edited version who see the editor’s note will have no way of knowing what Mitchell’s original wording was. The human tendency to assume the worst could well lead any reader to think Mitchell had used words that were actually insulting and truly hurtful.

Instead, an obviously intellectually and athletically gifted young woman made the argument that athletically gifted young women should be making around the country: The push to force them to compete against males — males blessed with the physical advantages that the testosterone push of puberty provide — is a crime against nature and basic fairness.

That’s a simple truth, and at USA Today, the truth obviously hurts.

Anyone who follows politics and the media might not be surprised by USA Today’s latest trick.

The newspaper that broke its own precedent to endorse the disastrous Joe Biden for president has established a track record lately of prostituting journalistic principles in the service of the progressive agenda, whether it’s helping out Stacey Abrams with stealth edits, making ugly, unwarranted jokes about American deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic or just keeping up a daily stream of slanted, liberal coverage of the issues of the day. (Really, the crossword puzzle is about the most valuable thing in the paper.)

But considering the cultural importance of the issue at hand, it just might be the most deplorable, since it branded an innocent young woman in front of the country as “hurtful” simply for telling the truth.

And when the truth hurts, journalism isn’t the right business to be in.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
Birthplace
Philadelphia
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