CNN's Banfield Misinforms Viewers on NC Bathroom Law

On Thursday, CNN misinformed its viewers on the North Carolina bathroom law on its Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield show by giving viewers the impression that people who have undergone sex changes would be barred from using the bathroom of their new gender.

As host Banfield introduced a segment at 12:38 p.m. ET on the possibility of the Justice Department taking legal action against the state, the CNN host misleadingly asserted:

The governor signed the bill in April saying basically, whatever gender you consider yourself doesn't matter. You have to use the public bathroom that corresponds with your birth certificate -- the sex on your birth certificate. Doesn't matter if you're transgender. You got to use the bathroom that you're listed as.

A bit later, during the segment with transgender employment attorney Jillian Weiss and CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos as guests, the words "NC Law: People Must Use Toilet of Their Birth Gender" were displayed on screen.

But, as recounted by the office of North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, the new law still allows people who have sex changes to change their birth certificates and therefore allows them to use the restroom of their new gender. From the press release titled, "Myths Vs. Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other media outlets aren't saying about common sense privacy law," the governor's office clarified the issue:

Does this bill mean transgender people will always have to use the restroom of the sex of their birth, even if they have undergone a sex change?

Answer: No. This law simply says people must use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Anyone who has undergone a sex change can change their sex on their birth certificate.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, May 5, Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield on CNN:

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD: Three things about North Carolina today: The Justice Department says the state is violating federal civil rights law and that they have got to clean up their act, and they have until Monday to do so. Specifically, they have till Monday to explain how they're going to do so. I'm talking about that bathroom law that they passed in North Carolina and who is allowed to use which public toilets.

The governor signed the bill in April saying basically, whatever gender you consider yourself doesn't matter. You have to use the public bathroom that corresponds with your birth certificate -- the sex on your birth certificate. Doesn't matter if you're transgender. You got to use the bathroom that you're listed as.

Enter the United States Justice Department saying, "That won't fly. Change it."

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters