Refusal to follow the corporate media’s bow to transgenderism has earned the Cowboy State Daily a 2,600-word reprimand by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR).
Last week, the bi-annual publication sponsored by Columbia University published an article that vilified one of Wyoming’s largest publications, the Cowboy State Daily, as an engine of right-wing propaganda. The State Daily’s crime? The website’s use of biological pronouns contradictory to the far-left’s orthodoxy on transgender coverage, which, according to the university paper, is an exercise in “dehumanizing” discrimination.
CJR relied on claims from far-left activists to make the defamatory accusations.
“Cowboy State Daily has been criticized by LGBTQ rights organization Wyoming Equality for deadnaming and using phrases like ‘biological males/females’ to refer to trans people,” CJR reported. “One Cowboy State Daily columnist wrote they ‘draw the line’ when someone “born with male genitalia and a masculine endocrine system tries to impose himself in a women’s [sic] world.”
Our analysis also found numerous instances where Cowboy State Daily reporting on trans communities used tropes the Trans Journalists Association’s style guide says perpetuate “harmful cliches and stereotypes.” These included “groom” (seventeen articles), “detransition” (seven), and “biological male/female” (forty).
The university publication went on to blame an episode of domestic terrorism on the State Daily’s reporting on transgender issues. Sara Burlingame, the executive director of Wyoming Equality and former Democratic state lawmaker, reportedly contacted the state paper to discuss the outlet’s coverage of transgenderism.
To Burlingame the writing has been alarming—”where they deadname trans people, where they out trans people and students…where they use phrases like ‘he is an intact male.'” This is not only “profoundly dehumanizing,” but relies on tropes for “talking about livestock,” she said. Burlingame is concerned this rhetoric might spill over into political violence. (In fact, in May 2022, a gender treatment and abortion clinic was torched with gasoline by an arsonist.)
A search for links between attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and abortionist commentary turns up empty in the CJR’s archives.
After the Supreme Court struck down the 1973 precedent in Roe v. Wade last summer, pro-life pregnancy centers became the targets of widespread firebombings around the country. Rather than crack down on the far-left anarchists terrorizing facilities that offer support for pregnancy, the FBI went on to arrest pro-life demonstrators.
The New York-based magazine’s condemnation of a mountain state paper’s coverage surrounding transgenderism is another case study in elite arrogance that demands conformity with industry standards set by east coast activists. From compliance with transgender pronouns to the regurgitation of climate change hysteria, independent media that refuses the rules imposed by far-left elites often becomes the primary target of corporate boycotts or, in other cases, the censorship industrial complex.
In a statement to The Federalist, Cowboy State Daily Executive Editor Jimmy Orr said the paper launched in 2019 has so far escaped boycotts and cancellation threats.
“Perhaps it’s because Wyoming is such a reasonable place, and people here don’t subscribe to the same notions as found in liberal, coastal communities,” Orr said. “It’s also why the CJR story is so out of touch. People in Wyoming have flocked to the Cowboy State Daily, while the CJR objects to it. If CJR wasn’t an organ of liberal, journalistic orthodoxy, it would have praised Cowboy State Daily for its success.”
CJR highlighted Orr’s history as the director of digital strategy in the second Bush administration. In a press release, the Cowboy State Daily filled gaps in Orr’s resume left out of the CJR hit piece.
“CJR failed to inform its readers that Orr also worked as Managing Editor for the Los Angeles Times and was Online Editor at the Christian Science Monitor,” the press release read.
“What CJR is really saying,” Orr said in the release, “is that if you’re not a liberal publication and you don’t echo the same stories that have made journalism decline everywhere, you’re doing something wrong.”
Within four years, however, the Cowboy State Daily has eclipsed local legacy papers to become Wyoming’s top publication. The State Daily has gathered more than 50,000 subscribers and leads in social media engagement, according to the paper’s press release.
The release cited SimilarWeb, an online web traffic service, to show the State Daily had 1.6 million visitors last month, compared to rival sites WyoFile with 208,000 visits and the Casper Star-Tribune with 205,000.