ABC Devoted 64 Minutes to 'Pregnant Man' Story Since March

November 17th, 2008 12:06 PM

Since March 26, 2008, the ABC network has devoted nine segments or 64 minutes and 48 seconds to the "pregnant man" Thomas Beatie, including three stories in the last four days on either "20/20" or "Good Morning America." On Monday, GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow invited Beatie, who was born a woman but kept her reproductive organs after having transgender surgery, to discuss the autobiography "Labor of Love," which recounts the author's first pregnancy and now another. Snow announced that Beatie would be appearing "to tell us what his definition of family and fatherhood is all about."

Since GMA first discussed the story on March 26, the program has gone back to the subject again and again. Despite hyping the transgendered birth, most stories acted as though there was nothing at all controversial about the topic. News anchor Chris Cuomo told a doctor in March, "Oddity aside, biology aside, it is all about love of this child and as long as that's present, everything else is really going to be normal."

By April 4, the morning show had touted the subject three times. On June 9, reporter Ryan Owens insisted that "Today, Thomas says, different is normal" and "Love makes a family, he [Beatie] says, and that's all that matters." Mixed in with the usual segments on hotdogs and fireworks, GMA returned to the tabloid tale on the Fourth of July and proclaimed that the daughter of Beatie and his wife Nancy would have a normal life. Less than eight months after first being mentioned, the "pregnant man" returned on Monday to talk to Snow and to break the hour mark in terms of time devoted to a topic. (This was after Friday's "20/20" gave 33 minutes to the Beatie couple.) On July 23, correspondent Andrea Canning showcased photos of transgendered parent and new baby.

Snow was more challenging than previous GMA journalists Owens or Cuomo. She queried Beatie, "Can you understand the questions, though? I mean, all morning people here have been talking about it and people say, when you're not around, people say, 'But is it normal?'" However, when Nancy Beatie said of the publicity, "Well, you know, hopefully it will just calm down and we can just get on with our lives," Snow failed to mention just how much attention the couple had been seeking and ABC's role in obliging.