What happens when the news media focuses on reality?

There's a reason that a recent study by the Pew Research Center showed that mainstream news coverage of the marriage cases before the Supreme Court is being seen as overwhelmingly supportive of the freedom to marry.

Almost half (47%) 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% largely focused on opposition and 44% had a roughly equal mix of both viewpoints or were neutral. In order for a story to be classified as supporting or opposing same sex marriage, statements expressing that position had to outnumber the opposite view by at least 2-to-1. Stories that did not meet that threshold were defined as neutral or mixed.

Here's a hint: It has nothing to do with the so-called "Liberal Media," no matter how anti-gay activists will try to spin this. (and believe me, they will, if they haven't started already.)

It has everything to do with the fact that all of the the stories of the real-life Americans whose lives will actually be directly impacted by the Supreme Court's rulings – unequivocally – point to the fact that supporting marriage is simply the right thing to do for all of America's families and communities.

Take Richard Wolf's recent story in USA Today, which simply lays out the actual, practical implications of our country's current patchwork of relationship recognition. This story contains no editorializing whatsoever, but can really only lead rational readers to one conclusion; that supporting the freedom to marry will improve Americans' lives, and opposing it will not.

The news media is starting to realize that including the voices of anti-gay activists in these stories is creating opposition simply for the sake of creating opposition, and that the job of a journalist is simply to report what is.

In this discussion, the news media has been focusing on the voices of experts (like those Wolf spoke with) and the people whose lives will be changed, for the better, by a ruling that supports marriage and marriage recognition. Why not include those whose lives will be changed for the worse? Because there aren't any.

The stories of servicemen and women who have served their country proudly and yet cannot give benefits to their partners can only point towards support.

 

The stories of the men and women in binational couples who cannot legally sponsor their spouses for immigration the way married opposite-sex couples do can only point towards support.

 

The stories of the men and women who have been together for thirty, forty, fifty years and might finally be able to have their love and commitment recognized by the community they call home can only point towards support.

 

The stories of the children of same-sex couples who are being sent the message that their family is not as good as other families can only point towards support.

 

And the stories of those who say that their rights as anti-gay activists will be infringed upon by the freedom to marry?

As the Daily Show and former GLAAD intern Todd Clayton pointed out last night, they're nonsense. And the media is smart enough to know that.

Twitter, which is almost nothing but editorializing, supports marriage at about the same clip as the rest of America, with a slight majority in support.

But it makes perfect sense that stories from the mainstream news media – whose job it is to simply report what is really happening around the country – overwhelmingly paint the freedom to marry as an idea whose time has come.

Because that's what it is.

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