The Washington Post reportedly deleted errors in a story about a conservative author’s book addressing transgenderism without properly notifying the readers of the changes or offering a public apology to the writer for the original falsehoods.
Ryan T. Anderson’s soon-to-be-published book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment,” apparently caught Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha’s attention when it shot to the top spot on Amazon’s “Gay and Lesbian” philosophy category. It also garnered the No. 1 position in the social policy and natural law category rankings.
Cha’s original story about the book was released on Friday morning and titled, “Ryan Anderson’s book calling transgender people mentally ill is creating an uproar,” which would be changed later that day after contacting the author.
According to the publisher’s description, Anderson’s work “tackles some of the most pressing issues raised by the movement, which has “gone from something that most Americans had never heard of to a cause claiming the mantle of civil rights.”
In a series of tweets, Matt Franck, director of the Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, charged The Post with spreading falsehoods about Ryan — a policy research fellow with The Heritage Foundation — and his book.
In the original version of her story, Cha wrote, “Anderson makes an inflammatory claim — that transgender people are mentally ill.”
Later in her story, the reporter added, “Anderson is also known for his advocacy of ‘ex-gay’ conversion therapy, which has been scientifically discredited …”
Franck came to Anderson’s defense, noting that “neither of those things was true. The reporter seems to have not contacted Anderson at all.”
The Post appeared to accede to its errors by changing both the story’s headline and deleting some of its content Friday afternoon.
The original headline, which can still be seen in the link was changed to “Ryan Anderson’s book on transgender people is creating an uproar,” taking out the phrase “mentally ill.”
The phrase was also removed from the story, simply stating instead that Anderson “makes what some feel is an inflammatory case against transgender people.”
Franck pointed out that The Post apparently made contact with Anderson after publishing piece, despite the author’s book being the subject.
Cha included Ryan’s emailed statement to her story in which he said, “Activists want to silence and shame anyone who questions transgender ideology. But there’s too much at stake to remain silent, for what’s at stake is nothing less than the human person.”
Franck wrote of the paper’s revisions, “So after getting crucial facts wrong in its initial story, facts that it was driven to delete in its revised version, how did The Post alert its readers to its corrections? This is how: ‘This post has been updated.'”
“That’s it. No information for its readers on what it had gotten wrong. No apology to the subject about the palpable hit job. Nothing but ‘updated.’ This is a journalist disgrace,” Franck added.
Kelsey Harkness, a reporter with The Daily Signal (which is affiliated with The Heritage Foundation), agreed with Franck’s assessment.
In an email to The Western Journal, Anderson noted that the backlash to his book isn’t surprising.
“As to the reaction to my book, it’s no surprise that it is intense, even from people who haven’t read it,” Anderson stated. “Activists want to silence and shame anyone who questions transgender ideology.”
He added, “My goal in writing this book was to help people think about these issues more carefully, and to respond to those in need more charitably.”
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