Transgender student lies about bathroom attack; media hilarity ensues

March 5, 2014

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I would love to know how long the Associated Press agonized over how to write the headline which in one dumb sentence marveled at how “swift[ly]” a California school responded to a transgender girl who claimed to have been beaten in the boy’s bathroom. They did so while wholly ignoring the real story.

This, in journalism parlance, is known as burying the lead. In fact, the headline should have reflected, you know, the actual story. How about this suggested headline:  “Transgender teen lies about bathroom attack.” Boom. It’s shorter, even. 

An actual Associated Press headline on Yahoo news.
An actual Associated Press headline on Yahoo news.
The AP decided the response to the big, fat lie was more important than the story. Here’s the lead paragraph:
Police, civil rights activists and school district officials in the San Francisco suburb of Hercules responded aggressively when a transgender teenager showed up at his high school health center saying he had just been beaten and sexually assaulted in a school bathroom.
The next graf outs the scam:
[T]he 15-year-old student who alleged the attack recanted, acknowledging during a follow-up interview with a detective that he had fabricated the whole tale…”
The idea of a public school student being able to use a bathroom or locker room depending on what gender they happen to identify with on any given day defies common sense and propriety. Sadly, the California State Legislature is in short supply of both and so passed a bill which went into effect in January that allows teens to suit up for any gender they want –and use the facilities. This change, of course, is irrespective of what makes other students feel comfortable, safe, and protected. 
The student “fabricated the whole tale” because…well, we don’t know why. It might have something to do with creating a cause celebre before the signature gathering campaign to refer the issue to the voters was over. The signature-gathering campaign to refer the issue to voters has failed. Though organizer Bob Tyler of Advocates for Faith and Freedom says they have 21 days to re check all of the signatures. He told radio host Mark Larson on KCBQ Tuesday “there’s a real liklihood of getting it on the ballot.” We’ll see. If it does make the ballot, I’ll report it here.
And I won’t bury the lead.