February 9, 2023 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Media Matters: Anti-Trans Violence Increases as TV News Coverage Drops 20%

By Susan Payne

A report released by Media Matters’ LGBTQ Program found that national cable and corporate broadcast TV networks covered only 43 minutes of anti-trans violence in 2021 across 19 segments amid an increase in the frequency of that epidemic. 

In 2021, at least 57 transgender or gender-nonconforming people — a vast majority Black or Latina trans women — were killed in the United States, making it the deadliest year on record for the community, according to The Los Angeles Blade and The Human Rights Campaign.

Media Matters analyzed broadcast news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC, and cable news coverage on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC to find 43 minutes of anti-trans violence coverage, despite a surge in brutality that year. 

The latest Media Matters study documented a 20% drop in the total amount of coverage of anti-trans violence from its 2020 report, The Blade reported.

Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, the study found:

  • Cable news networks spent approximately 35 minutes covering anti-trans violence in 2021 with the majority of coverage airing on MSNBC (29 minutes across nine segments.) MSBNC aired four times as much coverage as CNN and Fox News combined. 
  • CNN covered anti-trans violence for four minutes across three segments while Fox News covered it for two minutes across two segments.
  • All three cable networks decreased their total amount of coverage from 2020-2021.

Airing less coverage, the study included these findings about corporate broadcast TV networks:

  • Morning and evening corporate broadcast TV news shows spent nine minutes covering anti-trans violence in 2021 with the majority of coverage airing on CBS (five minutes across two segments.) 
  • ABC spent two minutes covering anti-trans violence in one segment.
  • NBC covered the topic for two minutes across two segments.
  • Both ABC and CBS decreased the total amount of coverage from 2020 while NBC produced the same amount of coverage.

Some trends in coverage include: 

  • A majority of national TV news coverage did not include a trans person as a guest. Only seven of the 19 segments featured a trans or gender-nonconforming guest.
  • Four of 19 segments mentioned the name of a slain trans person. 
  • One third of the reporting occurred during LGBTQ Pride Month in June, totaling 13 minutes that month. The year prior, networks covered the topic during Pride Month for 29 minutes total.
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