Back in March, when gay-marriage issues exploded upon the Supreme Court, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown didn’t appreciate how the media covered the news. His ideological brethren had to fight to get their views into stories in newspapers, online and on television.
Included in Brown’s list of hard-to-crack outlets was this: “I think on the cable networks, the coverage has not been great at all. Even on Fox News, we find it difficult to get broadcast time airing our views.”
Nearly three months later, a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) has completed a close examination of how the media covered the issue. The principal finding? Detractors of gay marriage couldn’t buy their way into the coverage. Well, that’s the unscientific way of putting things. Here’s how the PEJ puts it: “Almost half [47 percent] of the nearly 500 stories studied from March 18 (a week prior to the Supreme Court hearings), through May 12, primarily focused on support for the measure, while 9 [percent] largely focused on opposition and 44 [percen] had a roughly equal mix of both viewpoints or were neutral.”
The largely supportive media coverage of same-sex marriage piggybacked on polling results indicating that more and more Americans are embracing the practice.
One Pew chart established that organizations across all kinds of media categories ran stories highly favorable of gay marriage: network news, cable news, NPR and so on.
Given that disparity, you might expect that a guy like Rush Limbaugh would help to equalize things in favor of traditional marriage. But not particularly — the numbers show that of the nine Limbaugh segments evaluated, two-thirds were neutral! How’s that possible? Limbaugh, after all, is the guy who has drawn associations between homosexuality and pedophilia. We may have to fact-check that one.