June 2015: Gay Marriage Decision Dominates Net Coverage; Alleged Police Misconduct 3X More Than Police Deaths

The hunt for convicted killers who escaped a prison in New York State was the most covered topic on the evening news broadcasts of ABC, CBS and NBC for the month of June. This was closely followed by coverage of the brutal massacre at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, with considerable amounts of air time dedicated to the 2016 presidential campaign, the ISIS terror threat and the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

Despite only being announced on June 26, the Supreme Court’s decision to mandate that gay marriage is legal in all 50 states got enough coverage to move it into the top five topics for the month.

For the first time since March, coverage of alleged police misconduct was not the most discussed topic on the network evening news broadcasts. However, stories of police conduct got nearly three times the coverage (42 minutes, 18 seconds) that stories of attacks against police received (14 minutes, 51 seconds), despite a veteran New Orleans police officer being killed during the month, and the Dallas Police headquarters being attacked by a gunman in an armored van. 

NBC Nightly News even failed to cover the New Orleans police officer getting shot – or the ensuing manhunt to catch his killer – while devoting a mere 2 minutes 55 seconds to the shootout at the Dallas Police headquarters.

— Mike Ciandella is Research Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Mike Ciandella on Twitter.