This morning, LGBT blogs were buzzing with word about a story that aired on NPR's Morning Edition yesterday "Backers Of Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Face Backlash." The segment explores how major "Yes on 8" donors have been affected since their donations have become public. Dan Savage , the Advocate, Queerty and others took further looks at the piece, bringing up good questions. Why were no gay folks quoted in the piece? Why was NPR, which is typically a fair, accurate, and inclusive media outlet, running a story focusing solely on "Yes on 8" donors and their concerns? The piece was one-sided it its portrayal of the Proposition 8 campaign, perhaps even sympathetic toward donors to the anti-gay "Yes on 8" campaign who are experiencing adverse effects of their donations. Speaking with a business owner in Sacramento, whose $20,000 donation to the campaign is now public knowledge, reporter Karen Grisby Bates tells listeners:
...retaliation was swift. "We soon started getting very nasty e-mails and letters and phone calls by the hundreds," he says.In response, Savage writes:
Gee, maybe a gay person should've been asked to respond... Bates speaks to no gay leaders. She doesn't quote anyone about the role that boycotts have played in other civil rights strugglesAfter hearing these and other concerns from constituents, we reached reached out to reporter Karen Grisby Bates this morning to address the piece Karen told us she had received over 300 e-mails from concerned LGBT folks and allies since the story was broadcast. She said that she was very open to folks' opinions and thoughts about her work, and also wanted to make sure people saw it in context. After speaking with Karen, we learned about that context: her story was half of a two-part segment on Proposition 8. Yesterday on "Morning Edition," NPR took a look at two sides of Prop 8. The first story "SF Mayor Takes Gay Marriage Fight To Court," focused on Gavin Newsom and gave voice to the support of marriage equality.
The piece was followed with "now a look at the other side of Prop 8..." and the "Backers Of Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Face Backlash" story. Though it is good to see that NPR did in fact delve into both sides of the issue, it is unfortunate that anyone navigating NPR.org may not have seen that. By not labeling the stories as "Part 1" and "Part 2," NPR left the stories to stand on their own, and in turn people saw the stories on their own. What do you think? Does the fact that the piece was actually a part of a larger segment change the way you feel about it?
The two stories appear back-to-back on the full Morning Show listing, as they appeared live on the broadcast yesterday.