Here Come the Brides: CNN Promotes a Social Engineering Soap Opera

In a bizarre leap of logic, CNN's John Roberts proposed same-sex marriage as “perhaps another path [that] needs to be taken” in response to high divorce rates.

Roberts' comment during the Feb. 16 “American Morning.” followed a segment in which entertainment correspondent Lola Ogunnaike promoted daytime television's first lesbian wedding, which is scheduled to air this week on ABC's “All My Children.” 

Roberts framed the segment as taking “a look at the groundbreaking nuptials and the controversy surrounding them.” But Ogunnaike only included one critical comment in the nearly three-minute story about “All My Children's” latest wedding. Glenn Stanton of the conservative Focus on the Family told CNN, “I think it's really important to understand that there are a lot of things that people really don't want to see and don't want coming into their home, and lesbian weddings are certainly one of them.”

“American Morning” aired clips of lesbian brides Bianca and Reese, played by actresses Eden Riegel and Tamara Braun, pledging their undying love and devotion to each other. Roberts commented, “They are touching the heart strings there with the wedding ceremony,” and Ogunnaike admited, “I shed a tear. I really did.”

Apparently Roberts and Ogunnaike played right into what ABC hoped to accomplish by featuring a lesbian character on the show. Riegel noted that “the beauty of the show was that we were able to reach people and get people used to the idea.”

Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, echoed Riegel's comment and defended the wedding, saying “It's reality. And so when we see a lesbian couple getting married on daytime drama, it simply reflects what is happening in the real world. So in that sense, of course, it's a victory.” 

Braun used the segment to proclaim her support for same-sex marriage, “With the divorce rate as high as it is, you should have that right. No matter what sex you are, who you love, what color you are, you know, how many extra toes and feet you have. Equal rights for all people.” Neither she nor Roberts explained what the divorce rate had to do with same-sex marriage.

If CNN were really reporting on the “controversy” surrounding the wedding, it would have given more time to those who do in fact think it controversial.  As for this segment let's call it what it was: advertising for “All My Children.” 

Colleen Raezler is a research assistant at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.