Thursday, 22 August 2013

BBC Fail where even Daily Mail get it right

It is not often I do this but I am using the Daily Mail as a good example of journalism in a story in which the BBC have failed.

Here is the BBC online coverage of the Chelsea Manning story about her starting the process of gender reassignment the day after she was sentenced to 35 years for her role in spilling details that embarrassed her country to Wikileaks, while serving in the US Army.

Throughout they constantly refer to Chelsea, as she is now known, by male pronouns. Come on BBC! It isn't that hard even the Daily Mail have got this right.

So for the benefit of the BBC Online News Editor here is the copy he can replace this insensitive and transphobic article with, based on there own with corrections in red.

The US soldier, formerly known as Bradley Manning, who leaked secret US government documents to the Wikileaks website, has announced she wants to live as a woman.

"I am Chelsea Manning," Pte First Class Manning, 25, said in a statement to NBC's Today programme. "I am a female."  

She said she had felt female since childhood, wanted at once to begin hormone therapy, and wished to be addressed as Chelsea.

She has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for crimes including espionage. She could be released on parole after at least seven years in jail, his her civilian lawyer David Coombs has said.

Mr Coombs has asked President Barack Obama to pardon Pte Manning, and has pledged to appeal against the verdict and sentence.

Pte Manning will serve her sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and on Thursday, Mr Coombs indicated he was willing to take legal action to force the prison to provide hormone therapy if authorities refused.

He said Pte Manning had not indicated whether she wanted to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

"The ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and to be the person that she's never had an opportunity to be," he said.

 Asked why Pte Manning was making this announcement now, the day after  her sentencing, Mr Coombs said: "Chelsea didn't want to have this be something that overshadowed the case."

Pte Manning's struggles with her identity formed a key part of her defence through her weeks-long court martial.

Defence witnesses, including therapists who had treated Pte Manning, testified she had said she wanted to transition to being a woman, suggesting her problems with her gender identity affected her mental health.

US military prosecutors, meanwhile, described Pte Manning as a notoriety-seeking traitor and asked for a 60-year sentence in order to deter future intelligence leakers.

Pte Manning, who grew up in the US state of Oklahoma and in Wales, joined the Army in 2009 to help pay for university and, according to court martial defence testimony, to rid herself of his desire to become a woman. Trained as an intelligence analyst, he was deployed to Iraq in 2010.

There, she became disillusioned with the war and felt increasingly isolated from her friends and family. In May of that year, she initiated what subsequently became one of the largest leaks of classified US government documents ever - hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pte Manning has said she hoped the documents would change the world by sparking a debate about US foreign policy and the military. Since her conviction she has apologised for her actions.

At her court martial, Pte Manning's former Army supervisor testified Pte Manning had sent him a photograph of herself wearing a blond wig and lipstick.

He said Pte Manning had not indicated whether he wanted to undergo sex reassignment surgery.

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