The libertine left and its publicists in the "objective media" have a funny way of writing their lobbying campaigns against troubling traditions such as the "gender binary." It goes like this:
1. Push the revolution from the fringes by testing the supposedly outdated cultural boundaries — say, the idea of putting trans "girls" in girls' sports.
2. Define the conservative reaction as a "culture war" — as if the left didn't start the fight.
A case in point was a March 30 front-page New York Times article by Jeremy W. Peters headlined "Transgender Girls in Sports Are New G.O.P. Culture War." Peters writes like a gay rights activist, because he is one. In 2008, Out magazine featured Peters, then based in Albany for The Times, in its "Our Boys on the Bus" piece and touted him as a "rising star" in the national media elite.
In the liberal media, gay reporters write on LGBT activists; black reporters write on blacks; Asians write on Asians; and so on. Orthodox Christian reporters report on...wait, don't be silly! There are no orthodox Christian reporters at The New York Times!
Peters used the word "conservative" 11 times and variants of "the right" three times. Conservatives were the ones who "restrict rights for transgender people," as they stand on "one of their last footholds in the fight against expanding L.G.B.T.Q. rights." They push laws that "single out transgender people for exclusion and feed ugly stereotypes." Conservative culture "often reduces the nuanced issue of gender identity to a punchline about political correctness."
We're told the right wing wants to "bar transgender girls and women from participating in sports leagues," but The Times is missing a word in that sentence — "bar transgender women from girls' sports leagues." No one's saying an athlete born male can't compete in sports. But having trans women compete with other males would apparently "feed ugly stereotypes."
The leftist American Civil Liberties Union (touted twice) and the Public Religion Research Institute appeared with no labels. A "left-leaning" group is cited once — in an amazing way.
Peters reported this transgender athlete kerfuffle "is much more widely covered in conservative media — and often presented with a heavy dose of sarcasm." And who did The Times hire to study the conservative media?
"According to a review of social media content conducted for The New York Times by Media Matters, a left-leaning watchdog, seven of the 10 most popular stories about the proposed laws targeting transgender people so far this year were from the Daily Wire, a website founded by Mr. [Ben] Shapiro," The Times wrote. "Two others were from Fox News. Combined, the articles were read, shared, and commented on six million times, Media Matters said."
Suddenly, The Times is outsourcing its research on conservatives to a hard-left organization — one of the most toxic assassins of cancel culture — and boasting about it. The Times is swimming in revenue, but somehow it needs help discovering that "targeting transgender people" is a hot conservative topic.
On Twitter, Geoffrey Ingersoll of The Daily Caller hit the Peters article just right. It's "insane to frame it like conservatives are just cynically using women to advance a malicious policy agenda, as opposed to, you know, trying to preserve and protect an otherwise marginalized group in sports," he says.
As much as the left wants to pretend that outrage over this progressive "inclusion" is untethered from reality, Peters noted a lawsuit filed in federal court in Connecticut by three high school runners who lost races to trans women. There is an actual debate here. It's just that The Times is getting research from radicals who want to cancel one side.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.