CNN Responds To ‘Witch Trials Of J.K. Rowling’ Podcast By Burning The Author At The Digital Stake

Author J.K. Rowling joined host Megan Phelps-Roper for an audio series titled “The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling” — and CNN published a companion article that was supposed to act as an explainer, but read more like a targeted hit piece.

The audio series delves into Rowling’s experience as an author, and later, as an activist — as her defenses of biological women’s rights and protections have often put her in the crosshairs of the transgender community.

Last year @jk_rowling responded to a letter I wrote her. I’d asked if she’d be part of a conversation seeking to understand her perspective and those of her critics.

The result is a new audio series from @thefp:

My essay:

— Megan Phelps-Roper (@meganphelps) February 14, 2023

CNN’s explainer, which does not include a single “opinion” designation, leads off with the headline, “What to know about J.K. Rowling’s new podcast and history of harmful anti-trans comments.”

The network’s official tweet promoting the article shows a definite slant as well, reading, “The ‘Harry Potter’ author has continued to make anti-transgender comments and promote stories on her Twitter account that discredit trans-inclusive advocacy.”

The “Harry Potter” author has continued to make anti-transgender comments and promote stories on her Twitter account that discredit trans-inclusive advocacy.

— CNN (@CNN) February 21, 2023

CNN Associate Writer Scottie Andrew, who authored the piece, opened by accusing Rowling of making “inflammatory comments about transgender people, particularly trans women, using dehumanizing language and baselessly accusing them of harming cisgender women.”

She then included a series of sub-headlines that also clearly sided against Rowling.

“The first episodes mostly don’t mention Rowling’s anti-trans comments”

“Trans people face a dangerous and difficult reality”

“Rowling’s views continue to cause harm”

Andrews included a number of comments Rowling made on Twitter in defense of biological women — and particularly, in defense of ousted think tank employee Maya Forstater, forced out over her opposition to a U.K. government move to allow people to self-select their genders on official papers.

“Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like. Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you. Live your best life in peace and security. But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?” she tweeted.

Rowling, who was quickly labeled a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF), continued to defend biological sex, saying that if it was not real, then the “lived reality of women globally is erased.”

Andrews then attacked Rowling’s claims that many who initially seek gender-affirming medical care ultimately change their minds over time — and claimed that those who did choose to detransition probably did so because of exposure to transphobic views.

“Later that month, Rowling published a lengthy essay defending her views on her website. In it, Rowling explained why she’d been ‘worried about the new trans activism.’ She cited the oft-mentioned but little-researched claim that many people who seek gender-affirming health care eventually regret their decision and want to reverse it, which is known as detransitioning,” Andrews wrote. “It’s rare for a trans person to detransition, and there’s little data to back Rowling’s claims. When people do detransition, it’s often understood to be a product of transphobia and discrimination in their lives.”

The article ended with a recap of the recent controversy over the new video game “Hogwarts Legacy” — which introduces the first trans character to the Harry Potter universe — and a number of trans activists who claimed that buying or playing the game would only further Rowling’s “harmful” views.

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