CNN is sorry. The network came under fire on social media on Tuesday after a correspondent covering the ongoing backlash against Bud Light for an April partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney referred to the 26 year old as “he/him” twice. The outcry led CNN to issue an on-air apology the following day.
On Thursday’s show, Megyn was joined by Michael Knowles, host of The Michael Knowles Show on The Daily Wire, to discuss CNN’s mea culpa and what it says about the larger cultural moment.
[Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Megyn’s position on preferred pronouns here.]
CNN Correspondent ‘Misgenders’ Mulvaney
During a Tuesday segment on CNN News Central, correspondent Ryan Young was reporting on the state of Bud Light in the aftermath of its controversial collaboration with Mulvaney in April. While discussing what he had learned from interviews he did with bars and patrons in Nashville, TN, and Chicago, IL, Young failed to use Mulvaney’s preferred pronouns, which are “she/they.”
“One bar was telling us they’re not going to serve [Bud Light] because they don’t like the way Dylan Mulvaney was treated after this whole controversy started,” Young said. “He, of course, is the transgender person they were gonna sponsor and go along with Bud Light. They didn’t like how Bud Light didn’t stand by him after all this.”
After watching the clip, Megyn and Knowles agreed that Young had no idea what he was wading into. “You can tell he did not even realize he was barreling face first into one of the hot button issues of the culture war, but he did,” Megyn said. “He used Dylan’s actual pronouns instead of the preferred pronouns, and you can see the guy has no idea he’s doing anything wrong.”
It didn’t take long, however, for LGBTQ+ activists on social media to pounce on the pronouns, which led CNN anchor Kate Bolduan to issue an apology on Wednesday: “Yesterday in a segment about transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney who was featured in Bud light’s recent campaign, she was mistakenly referred to by the wrong pronoun,” she said. “CNN aims to honor individuals’ ways of identifying themselves and we apologize for that error.”
Knowles said it is noteworthy this situation occurred on CNN. “What was so wonderful about this is that it happened on CNN rather than on a right-wing network,” he said. “Because when you and I refer to men as men – not as women, if they pretend to be women – we’re doing so intentionally, we’re disciplining our intellect and we’re making a point about reality and speaking the truth as far as we see it.”
That was not the case, in Knowles’ opinion, with Young. “He’s a news presenter who just reports on the news,” he explained. “You can tell he’s on a liberal network, and he seems like a kind of a liberal guy in the way that he’s talking about transgenderism, and so I don’t think he meant to give any offense or transgress any of these ever-changing rules.” Instead, Knowles said Young “perceived reality as it is,” which is “the biggest sin you can commit these days.”
CNN’s apology proved as much. “The reaction from CNN was out of a movie,” Knowles noted. It wasn’t a horror movie, he said, but rather a parody or comedy with the network “flogging themselves on air.”
Earlier this year, Megyn shared how her position on pronouns has evolved. “I only recently came to rejecting the preferred pronouns,” she explained. “Once you switch back to actual biological pronouns, it’s jarring to hear it said the other way… it’s amazing when you allow yourself to just slip back into reality how jarring the pretend world sounds to you.”
Knowles said that speaks to the power of language. “This is why the left focuses so much on language,” Knowles concluded. “I sometimes fall into these errors too because if you in any way use the language of people who are trying to deceive you, you will deceive yourself. Language is what constitutes so much of our consciousness.”
You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Knowles by tuning in to episode 587 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.