Fox News is being accused of altering the content of Associated Press and Reuters stories that the network republished on its website to enflame further tensions among those opposed to transgender people and their access to medical care.
A media watchdog group found that the network’s website has published articles written by AP and Reuters journalists in which Fox News altered the language of the pieces — including in at least one case, a direct quote.
As reported by Media Matters, Fox News writers often use the terms “sex change” or “sex reassignment” instead of “gender-affirming care.” The former has been deemed outdated by LGBTQ+ activists, advocacy groups, and the AP itself.
The group also found that Fox News often removes or changes the words “care” and “medical care” when reporting on the health care needs of transgender people.
For example, Fox altered a quote from an Oregon state senator to make it more appealing (or off-putting) to its readers. According to critics, Fox News’ use of AP articles without disclosing the changes hides the real impact of legislation removing treatment options for transgender youth.
Findley had said, “Parental rights will not be ignored regarding minors seeking abortion and gender-affirming care.”
The same AP article was posted on FoxNews.com, but the far-right network seems to have deliberately changed the legislator’s words.
In the Fox News version, the article states, “'Parental rights will not be ignored regarding minors seeking abortion and sex reassignment care,’ said Republican Sen. Lynn Findley.”
News organizations use wire services like Reuters and AP to repackage content according to strict ethics regulations established by the companies.
Reporting altered to change its meaning or accuracy violates both Reuters' and the AP’s rules.
“Customers have the ability to adjust AP headlines and stories as long as the changes do not impact the accuracy or facts of the AP journalism,” a spokesperson told Media Matters. “Quotes are not to be altered in keeping with AP standards.”
In a statement, Reuters said, “The editorial meaning of Reuters content cannot be altered or distorted by our clients. Reuters is fully committed to covering all matters, including LGBTQIA+ issues, impartially and accurately, in keeping with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.”
A frequent practice at FoxNews.com is to change accurate terminology in the headlines of AP stories, according to Media Matters. For example, it has changed the phrase “gender-affirming care” to “sex change” and a headline describing a bill restricting “trans youth care” to instead read “youth sex change.”
It appears, however, that Fox News began altering wire service articles after reposting an AP article on April 27, replacing “gender-affirming” with either “sex change” or “sex reassignment.” During the past two months, Fox News has altered at least 18 AP and Reuters articles about anti-trans legislation, passing the changes off as the author’s or a subject’s words, Media Matters found.
At the time of publication, the text credited on FoxNews.com to AP or Reuters contains no note or disclaimer clarifying the changes.
Sometime after the initial publication of this article, Fox News corrected the story to reflect the original quote.
“This report has been updated to correct a quote from Sen. Lynn Findley," the network noted at the end.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that after the initial publication of this article, Fox News changed its version of the AP article referenced in this piece to reflect the original quote and the network added a note at the end of the article.