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CBS Staffers Blast Execs For Prohibiting The Word 'Transgender' To Identify Nashville Shooter Audrey Hale

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Mar. 31 2023, Published 3:30 p.m. ET

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CBS staffers aren't happy after network executives barred using the word transgender in stories when reporting on Nashville school shooter Audrey Hale, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Hale, 28, who also went by Aiden and identified as transgender, shot and killed six people at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday morning.

The decision to omit the word from CBS reporting was made after bigwigs claimed that Hale's transgender status was not confirmed, despite police claims.

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During an editorial meeting on Tuesday morning, CBS executives Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of news gathering, and Claudia Milne, senior vice president of standards and practices, announced the rule.

"The shooter’s gender identity has not been confirmed by CBS News," the memo to staff stated. "As such, we should avoid any mention of it as it has no known relevance to the crime. Should that change, we can and will revisit."

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Along with direction on avoiding Hale's gender in reports, the memo called for staff to "focus on other important points" of the investigation so far.

"Right now we advise saying: POLICE IDENTIFIED THE SUSPECT AS A 28-YEAR-OLD AUDREY HALE, WHO [sic] THEY SHOT AND KILLED AT THE SCENE," it read. "And move on to focus on other important points of the investigation, community and solutions."

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Sources familiar with the editorial call said that staff and journalists were astonished at the decision, particularly due to statements by Nashville Police Chief John Drake.

Chief Drake stated that Hale was transgender — and suggested it could be the motive.

"This is absurd because the police identified Hale as transgender," one insider at the network said. "If the cops didn’t address it, maybe you could avoid it, but withholding information is not journalism."

Insiders revealed that Hale's parents were devoutly religious and allegedly did not accept that Audrey identified as transgender.

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The decision carried over to television coverage of the event too. Correspondent Janet Shamlian stated that the suspect "identifies as transgender" during a report for CBS Evening News with Norah O'Donnell on Monday night.

However, since the memo the following morning, any mention of Hale's identity was dropped.

The move was stark in contrast to reports from Tucker Carlson on Fox News, who blasted the Hale's gender identity and claimed that transgender individuals were the "natural enemy" of Christianity.

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