Perkins and Bauer say polls are 'skewed' - and they're right

Speaking on the March 24 edition of Fox News Sunday, anti-gay activist Gary Bauer, the current head of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families, derided as "skewed" the recent polls showing that a solid majority of Americans, growing across all cultural and political divides, support marriage equality.

Video courtesy Media Matters:

Bauer's pal and fellow anti-gay activist Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council had something similar to say about that same poll

"...the Post's questions were specifically structured to generate a more favorable response. When you frame the debate as the Post did--in criminal terms--Americans are far more wary of opposing same-sex 'marriage'"

Perkins compared the Post's poll to a larger Reuters poll, which (unlike the Post, and unlike much of the more modern polling we've seen on the subject) still included a "Civil Union' option, But Perkins was looking at the wrong question. Reuters also asked respondents if  married gay and lesbian couples should be able to qualify for Social Security survivor payments and other benefits provided to married heterosexual couples, (In a nutshell, all the stuff that DOMA prevents.) and 55% said yes - not far off from the Post's 58% number. 

Here's the real problem. 

Yes, Misters Bauer and Perkins, the results of these polls are skewed.  

They are skewed by the participation of those Americans who, unlike you, Mr. Perkins, do not believe that gay people are "pawns of" or "held capitve by" '...the enemy.'  These polls will of course seem skewed to a person who believes that gay people are nothing but chess pieces or bargaining chips being held by some unnamed nefarious gamesman, presumabaly the devil. Or Lord Voldemort. 

They are skewed by the participation of those Americans who, unlike you, Mr. Bauer, do not believe that God will stop protecting America if we start treating all families equally., These polls will seem skewed to a person who believes, somehow, that talk of equal treament under the law for all families has - inexplcably - "increased gang culture and deteriorated the black family."

Polls that reflect an America grounded in reality, where same-sex couples can get married without causing a spike in gang violence (?) and without it having been orchestrated by some shadowy metaphysical "enemy" (??) will naturally seem skewed to those whose lives and careers are desperately clinging to the idea that these fantasylands of theirs are real. 

Media is going to be going to these guys an awful lot this week. And when they do, journalists, anchors and reporters have a responsibility to put these views into perspective.  Read our Commentator Accounrability Project. You'll find out why Perkins and Bauer are convinced that the latest polling is wrong, and why they say all the other anti-gay things they say. It's your responsiblity to include that as part of the story.