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Media Coverage Heavily Biased in Support of Gay Marriage: STUDY


The heads at NOM will no doubt be exploding over a media content study by the Pew Research Center to be released today.

The NYT reports:

The researchers assessed a representative sample of mainstream coverage for two months this year, and found that many stories contained either a balanced mix of views or no views at all. But of the rest, roughly five times as many stories were weighted toward support for same-sex marriage as were weighted toward opposition.

“A story was deemed to be in support of or opposition to same-sex marriage if the statements expressing that view outnumbered opposing statements by at least 2-to-1,” the report stated.

It added, “The level of support conveyed in the news media examined here goes beyond the level seen in public opinion surveys.” The imbalance was evident both in reporting and in commentary, and on all three of the major cable news channels, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN.

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  1. They like us they like us!

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 17, 2013 7:54:38 AM

  2. @UFFDA, two way street. A biased media can turn on you as quickly as it can embrace you. It's better to have a neutral media, than a biased media.

    If the media is going to editorialize, it's better to editorialize than to pretend to be unbiased. Editorializing allows for taking a real stand. Pretense allows for quick changes.

    Since those are all companies directed towards American audiences, I wonder what the percentages would be for Europe.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 17, 2013 8:32:06 AM

  3. And the media was heavily biased in support of African American civil rights? What's the point? The media should be biased when the question is civil rights or denying civil rights. It's one of the very few times when bias actually gives it credibility.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jun 17, 2013 8:37:58 AM

  4. Pew is a conservative polling organization. I'm surprised Andy hasn't mentioned it.

    Posted by: jason | Jun 17, 2013 8:49:23 AM

  5. As well they should be.

    We're talking about people who a) work with LGBT people daily and b) a profession that tends to have a high percentage of LGBT persons within it. So of course there's going to be bias, but that's really the incorrect phrasing. It's more like reporting facts, common sense, and that means being pro-gay and not anti. Especially considering also being blatantly homophobic is a turn-off to most citizens, whether they believe in marriage equality or not.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Jun 17, 2013 8:49:26 AM

  6. That's like suggesting opposing the Iraq invasion was "biased," or supporting equality for women or ethnic groups. This ludicrous idea in the past 10-15 years that the media must play a neutral judge on all things is outrageous. "Biased" towards equality, fairness and upholding the 14th amendment? No, it's being educated, empathetic and rational human beings. There is a wrong and right side of this and the media knows which side that is.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Jun 17, 2013 8:58:49 AM

  7. Yet our local news still focuses on the drag queens and jock-strapped go-go boys when filming Providence Pride, where 95% of the attendees were families.

    Posted by: 99% | Jun 17, 2013 9:09:43 AM

  8. There's no shame in doing to right thing.

    This just in: News media biased against Nazis!

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 17, 2013 9:10:41 AM

  9. When they have idiots like Bryan Brown, Maggie Gallagher, AFA, Tony Perkins, et al. on as opponents of Same Sex marriage, how could it NOT be biased in our favor? That is, there is no real opposition, just lunatics in aluminum foil hats talking to transistor radios.

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Jun 17, 2013 9:17:34 AM

  10. I find the word biased strange.

    At the apex of the civil rights movement would you say the media was biased toward equal rights for black people.

    Perhaps it is the long arch of history leaning toward justice at long, long last.

    Posted by: Ray | Jun 17, 2013 9:19:30 AM

  11. Next, the Pew folks will announce that the media is also biased against criminals. "They need to present both sides of the story..."

    Posted by: homer | Jun 17, 2013 9:22:56 AM

  12. I wonder how they factor the absence of stories about violence against gay people, including the recent murder in NYC.

    There wasn't 1 word of coverage about that in my area and no mention on the National media outlets.

    THAT is bias.

    Or the absence of images of gay people regularly in advertising or in human interest stories generally. That also is bias.

    Recognizing that Marriage Equality is a Civil Rights issue, not so much bias as a no-brainer (which does explain a lot about our opposition, doesn't it)

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Jun 17, 2013 9:33:22 AM

  13. Jason, andy didn't mention that pew is a conservative organization because that's a lie. They are about as neutral as they come, and if anything, as part of the Pew Charitable Trust, they skew liberal.

    Posted by: Brian1 | Jun 17, 2013 9:51:47 AM

  14. it's not "our" fault that truth has a liberal bias.

    nor is it out fault that the only "opposing" side is one steeped in nothing but ignorance, bigotry, hatred, and prejudice.

    oh well.

    i'm reminded of that P.o.S. from Texas; the Young Earth Creationist who is in charge of America's student textbooks who screamed (and check it out on youtube) "Someone has to stand up to these scientific experts!!"

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 17, 2013 10:15:29 AM

  15. For the record, the "paper of record" is not very reliable any more. This biased article proves it.

    The actual facts are that most news reports, as opposed to news commentary, have been balanced in presenting the views of both sides and there have been complaints that news organizations are going out of their way to give the anti-marriage equality side more representation of their views than the pro-marriage equality side. We've seen it here with the many links TW has provided this past year.

    However, news commentary is a different matter altogether. Pro-equality commentary (print or broadcast) is much more to our favor but that is simply because the commentary is based on logic and facts not emotion and anecdote, which is about all the anti-equality side has to offer.

    So, even if there appears to be "bias", that "bias" is based on the anti-equality side's failure to come up with clear, pertinent, factual reasons for opposing marriage equality.

    The New York Times has become an unreliable and scatter-shot newspaper. I had been reading it for decades but I stopped about four months ago. It's quality of news reporting has deteriorated terribly in the past couple of years and The Times now borders on being an intellectual version of National Enquirer sensationalism.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jun 17, 2013 11:19:08 AM

  16. Yes, the mainstream media favors equal rights for all Americans. Bigots rightly are treated as the anti-American scum they really are by reporters. Good. No one complains when they treat the KKK that way. Why is NOM any different. It's an anti-equality organization and no different from racist or antisemitic organizations.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jun 17, 2013 11:21:25 AM

  17. The anti-marriage argument boils down to "but it's ways been this way" and "well, the BIBLE (Pope, Mormon leader, etc.) says...." Sure there's the slippery slope argument too, but that's just cover for one of the above.

    Unless you're the Christian Broadcasting Network none of those make a compelling argument, one that can be backed up with facts and logic.

    And as someone above said, people in broadcasting tend to work with and know gay people and one of the biggest factors in whether someone is for gay rights is *knowing* people who are gay. Those anti-gay edicts that roll so easily off the tongues of homophobes are harder to justify when you're saying them in front of the actual targets of those arguments.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jun 17, 2013 11:32:28 AM

  18. Is it biased to support the United States Constitution and the fundamental principles of equality before the law? The anti-marriage side has no rational basis for their bigotry; it would be irresponsible to act as if they do. Just as evolution and new Earth creationism should not be treated equally, the pro-marriage equality side should not be treated the same as the anti-marriage fundamentalist side.

    Posted by: DB | Jun 17, 2013 12:25:55 PM

  19. I think it's because the actual news is much more positive than negative now. Not that the reporters are biased.

    Posted by: Who me? | Jun 17, 2013 1:31:45 PM

  20. Media Coverage Heavily Biased in Support of Equality: NO NEED FOR A STUDY

    Posted by: Andy | Jun 17, 2013 4:18:19 PM

  21. I always hate studies like this, because it implies that both sides have equally valid claims and that the media is just "taking sides." But that's not necessarily the case. Maybe (read: definitely) there's just no good argument against gay marriage. It's not biased, it's just logical.

    To me, the headline reads like "Media Coverage Heavily Biased Against Murder."

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 18, 2013 4:31:00 PM

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