Civil Union: Networks Promoting Gay Agenda -- Executive Summary

In the stories they choose, the voices they present and the language they use, ABC, CBS and NBC are making the homosexual lifestyle a key part of 2012 campaign.

Executive Summary

It has become clear from exit polling that President Obama in large part owed his re-election to social issues. Aided by the media, Democrats were able successfully to caricature conservatives as puritanical. Where the GOP wanted to talk about economics and Obama’s record, liberals invented a conservative “war on women,” in which Republicans wanted to take away the previously unknown “right” to free contraception, overturn Roe vs. Wade and pay women less for the same work.

And it wasn’t just women’s issues.

When New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane admitted the paper’s liberal bias in his final column in August 2012, he wrote that issues like “gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”

Brisbane’s example, gay marriage, wasn’t chosen at random. Print, electronic and broadcast media have taken up the gay agenda.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), “What people see in the media has a huge impact and GLAAD ensures images of LGBT people and allies grow acceptance, understanding and build support for equality.” Journalists have done their part, pushing issues like same-sex marriage, and gay adoption and parenting as a backdrop to the presidential election. Anxious to make the 2012 campaign about anything other than President Obama’s record and the foundering economy, news outlets take every opportunity to introduce social issues – especially candidates’ position on gay marriage – to paint conservative politicians as outside “the cultural mainstream” and “anti-gay.”

For proof, look no further than the broadcast networks and their treatment of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) issues. The networks, along with the rest of the media, have all but abandoned objectivity. They are boosters for the LGBT agenda.

ABC, CBS and NBC report hundreds of stories about gay issues, nearly always sympathetic to them, and often without including any supporters of traditional marriage. Reporters and anchors often use the language of activists, asserting that conservatives “fight against protections for gay Americans” that gay marriage is “progress” and “morally right.” Some even make explicit comparisons between gay issues and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute analyzed the coverage ABC, CBS and NBC gave to LGBT issues from Jan. 1 – Aug. 31, 2012, on their morning and evening newscasts. Here are the results:

More Stories About Gays Than Catholics: The three networks covered LGBT stories 213 times on their morning and evening broadcasts in just eight months, despite the fact that only between 2 and 4 percent of Americans identify themselves as gay or lesbian. By contrast, 25 percent of the population of the United States (78 million people) are Catholics, and in the same time period the networks ran only 132 stories about the largest Christian denomination in the country. That’s 81 fewer stories for a group more than six times the size of the gay population. And since May, when a number of Catholic diocese and institutions filed a historic lawsuit against the Obamacare mandate that would force them to pay for contraception, it garnered just three mentions on ABC, CBS and NBC.

Networks Rely on Gay Advocates: By a margin of nearly 4-to-1 (65 vs. 18), stories included pro-gay voices over traditional marriage supporters. That included gay celebrities on morning shows encouraged to talk about gay rights, authors discussing their LGBT-themed novels, and soft-focus profiles of “married” gay couples or gays adopting and raising children.

Dissent Equals Hate: Given their concern with anti-gay bullying, it’s odd how network journalists aren’t above using moral bullying against supporters of traditional marriage. When Christian actor Kirk Cameron caused a media firestorm simply for saying he personally did not believe in same-sex marriage, NBC’s Anne Curry asked him if he felt “any responsibility saying words like that, that might encourage people to feel that it's OK to treat—mistreat gay people?” ABC reporter Amy Robach said gay activists were “fight[ing] back at Chick-Fil-A,” just because the company’s president reaffirmed his support for traditional marriage.

NBC the Worst: In 10 months, NBC featured 90 stories on LGBT issues. Of those 23 included only pro-gay voices and just 4 featured opponents.

ABC the Best: Though still blatantly biased, ABC was the best of the the three networks, broadcasting 62 gay stories with 16 pro-gay voices and 9 opponents.

To improve coverage, CMI recommends:

Keep Perspective: Less than 4 percent of the population is LGBT. According to NBC’s own reporting, “for a large majority of voters, 62 percent, neither Obama’s pro-gay marriage stance nor Romney's anti-one make any difference in their 2012 vote.” While gays issues may resonate in the studios of New York and Washington, in much of the rest of the country, they matter far less.

Give Traditional Marriage a Say: While they may be settled among journalists, issues like gay marriage, adoption and service in the military are still highly controversial. It shouldn’t be hard to find and include conservatives in a meaningful way in reports.

Watch Your Language: Using the terms and framing the debate in the same way as gay activist groups is good propaganda, but bad journalism. Organizations seeking to protect the definition of gay marriage aren’t “against protections for gay Americans.” Opposition is not “hate,” and comparisons to the black civil rights struggle are laughable.