NBC’s Ken Dilanian Refers to Chelsea Manning as ‘He’ and ‘Him’ in News Report on Assange


NBC News reporter Ken Dilanian referred to imprisoned former army intelligence veteran Chelsea Manning, who is a trans woman, as “he” and “him” during a news report on the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

On Thursday morning’s edition of MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson, Dilanian was explaining the charges that Assange faces if he is extradited to the United States.

“Assange is not charged with receiving classified information, or anything to do with the leak,” Dilanian said. “He’s charged with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to hack a Defense Department computer.”

“Specifically, Chelsea Manning was an army private stationed in Iraq, he was downloading hundreds of thousands of top secret U.S. government files from the military and from the State Department, and he was sending them to assange and Wikileaks to make public,” Dilanian said, twice referring to Manning as “he.”

“As part of those communications, the U.S. Government alleged Manning asked Assange to help him crack a DoD password,” Dilanian added.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, journalists should “Respect transgender people by using the names and pronouns they use in daily life,” and notes that “If you’re a reporter and not sure, the AP Stylebook advises that you should ‘use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.’”

And according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s (GLAAD) media guide, “Ideally a story will not use pronouns associated with a person’s birth sex when referring to the person’s life prior to transition. Try to write transgender people’s stories from the present day, instead of narrating them from some point in the past, thus avoiding confusion and potentially disrespectful use of incorrect pronouns.”

The Associated Press also allows for the use of “They/them/there [sic] …in limited cases as a singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun,” if you can’t wrap your head around the first rule when referring to someone’s pre-transition life.

Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.

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