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Weaponizing Pathos: How Fox News Exploited a Vulnerable Child Amid National Controversy

On June 10, 2022 Fox News released a story called, “California transgender teen, family hope to be an inspiration to others.” Although the controversy surrounding this propaganda piece has cleared, the child the story features continues to be exploited.

The piece is rife with manipulation and mythology. It is designed to elicit pity and awe, as well as support for a movement based on regressive sex stereotypes and devoid of any scientific evidence. It is a movement that offers the following false choice to distraught parents who believe the lie that a child can be born in the wrong body: “Would you rather have a living son, or a dead daughter?”


We are expected to accept as self-evident the ubiquitous assertion that we need to trans the kids, lest they take their own lives. Although doctors and activists alike present it as uncontested fact, “much of the knowledge of suicidality in transgender-identifying youth comes from self-reported online surveys,” which are “inherently unreliable,” according to a study from The Society for Evidence-based Gender Medicine. The same study further notes that “because widescale medical transition of children and youth is such a new enterprise, and because experimentation on children is unethical and extremely problematic, there are no long-term scientific studies that shed light on whether these treatments prevent suicide, either in youth or when the subjects reach mature adulthood.”


A recent study called “Puberty Blockers, Cross-Sex Hormones, and Youth Suicide,” released on June 13, 2022, finds that “lowering legal barriers to make it easier for minors to undergo cross-sex medical interventions without parental consent does not reduce suicide rates – in fact, it likely leads to higher rates of suicide among young people…”


Amid the national controversy surrounding so-called “gender affirming” care for children, and the evidence that these treatments are harmful, Fox’s segment is a shocking endorsement of an extreme position: that it is necessary, safe, effective, and even loving to subject children to dangerous medical experimentation. This fallacious position rests upon a shaky foundation that uses myth to establish its legitimacy. In support of this fallacy, and this misleading piece, the anchor claims that before the toddler could even speak, “he managed to tell his parents that he is a boy.” We are expected to accept as factual the fantastical assertion that some children are born with innate knowledge of their sexed soul. America is currently engaged in a debate regarding the ethical, legal, moral, and medical concerns related to puberty blockers, procedures such as double mastectomies performed on minors, and social transition. Social transition is a gateway drug. Adults cheer on a child’s otherwise benign fantasy, which in generations past would most likely resolve as the child matures past puberty. So-called “gender affirmation” cements his or her erroneous “identity” and steers the child along a path of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, disfiguring surgery, and sterilization. Fox’s segment exploits its young subject by entrenching her further onto a path toward extreme medical interventions, which inevitably produce sterility and lifelong complications.


From the Governor’s order in Texas to the SAFE Act in Ohio, states are appropriately responding to the alarming explosion in numbers of “trans” kids by introducing bills and directives with the goal of protecting children from the harms of “social transition” and “transgender medical care.” The claim that these state actions are somehow “anti-trans” is a common trope. However, these bills are appropriate and necessary state interventions meant to protect this country’s children from sterility, loss of future sexual function, and heretofore unknown pain and suffering.


The anchor ends the Fox segment with a series of familiar platitudes, saying the family is “courageous” for sharing their story and that all of us who disagree are simply ignorant. “People are afraid of what they do not understand,” says the anchor. Do not fall for this manipulation. It is not courageous to add one more drop to the tidal wave of this social contagion, misinformation, and child abuse passed off as loving parenting and legitimate medical care. It is not courageous to throw a child into the eager arms of an industry that seeks to exploit and sterilize her.


It is courageous to fight for air above the waves. It is courageous to wrestle your way out of those suffocating arms. It is courageous to do the unpopular thing and tell the truth when public opinion is not on your side and the forces of massive media conglomerates, which now surprisingly includes Fox News, are doing their best to spread lies and propaganda. We do not oppose this exploitation out of ignorance. We oppose it because we understand it perfectly.


Fox News needs to remove this misleading story from all of its platforms immediately, not only for the safety and well being of the child it features, but also for other children whose parents may be influenced to place their child upon an unnecessary medical pathway. This child’s story is not over. We have yet to see how the practice of ‘affirmation’ and extreme medical interventions will ultimately affect the rest of her troubled young life.


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