Last week, the editor of The New York Times did something rather unexpected, says Janice Turner in The Times. He “upheld the right of journalists to do journalism”. For years, most American news outlets “all but ignored” the trans debate: the “colossal rise” in (mostly female) children diagnosed with gender dysphoria; the gender clinics prescribing hormone treatment to kids “without question”; the surgeons “happy to remove the breasts of girls as young as 14”. But a few months ago, the NYT finally set its reporters on to this story – and they duly produced “long, deep, effortfully balanced reports”. Perhaps inevitably, trans activist employees responded by signing an open letter accusing management of aligning with “anti-trans hate groups”. Yet rather than back down, editor Joe Kahn defended his reporters for their “solid and essential work”. In short: journalism won.
Managers at other companies are also finding their voice on this issue. When Netflix workers kicked up a fuss about featuring content by comedian Dave Chapelle, the streaming giant told them the company “may not be the best place for you”. When staff at publishers Hachette balked at working on a JK Rowling children’s book, they were told, in short, to buck up. If anything, the NYT’s courage “shames” other progressive institutions for not doing the same – not least The Guardian, which allowed feminist columnists Hadley Freeman and Suzanne Moore to be hounded out of the newspaper by trans-obsessed colleagues. Hopefully this will mark a “turning point” in this saga. “A large brick in the once unbreachable wall of ‘no debate’ has crumbled.”