While the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, was met with mostly positive comments, some negativity has come from the right, including ostensibly “fair and balanced” Fox journalists and the clearly unbalanced commentator Bryan Fischer.
On Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business Channel show today, in discussing Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, reporter Dagen McDowell repeatedly referred to the former Olympian with male pronouns (Jenner had used them during the transition process but today announced intentions to go by female ones).
McDowell and especially host Cavuto also used a mocking tone, and then Cavuto introduced his next guest, Charles Payne, as “Charlene Payne” and said Jenner’s transition heralds the fall of civilization: “Rome, final days.”
Religious right commentator Fischer, on his American Family Association-affiliated Focal Point show, asserted that Jenner is being controlled by Satan. He prayed that God would “clear up Bruce Jenner's sexual confusion” and “expose the lies of Satan and break their power over his mind.”
Fischer also said, “I’m not going to call him Caitlyn Jenner because that’s not his name and I’m not going to refer to him as a she. He’s a he. He’s a he in every single solitary cell of his body; he will be until the day that God calls him home.” Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, Fischer contended, shows “how corrupt, how morally corrupt, how morally bent, how morally twisted, how morally confused, how morally bankrupt we have become.”
Other right-wingers making negative comments, reports Media Matters, included Ben Shapiro, Dan Gainor, and the staff of The Daily Caller. Shapiro, who works for Breitbart.com, tweeted such remarks as “A man can never understand a woman’s perspective on abortion, but can magically become a woman” and “Your biological sex is completely mutable, but your sexual orientation is completely immutable” with the hashtag #ThingsILearnedFromTheLeft.
Gainor, of the Media Research Center, tweeted, “If Bruce Jenner can have 4,000 surgeries and say he’s a woman, why can’t he do same and say he’s black?” and invoked the idea of a dachshund calling itself a Great Dane and people saying they’re elves or dwarves. And on The Daily Caller, a conservative website, political reporter Patrick Rowley wrote snarkily, “It’s official. Caitlyn Jenner is now the greatest female athlete of all time.”
Media Matters also called out the Associated Press for misgendering Jenner by using male pronouns in a news story today, in violation of its own guidelines on how to cover transgender people. “The report also objectifies Jenner by describing her as wearing ‘va-va-voom fashion’ and highlighting her ‘ample cleavage,’” the watchdog group continued.
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, meanwhile, has issued its own set of guidelines on how to cover transgender people and issues; read here. And below, you can view the Cavuto report (courtesy of ThinkProgress) and Fischer’s rant (thanks to Right Wing Watch).