Opinion

Liberal slant dominates gay-marriage coverage, study shows

News coverage of gay marriage is overwhelmingly biased in favor of the liberal position and out of sync with American public opinion, a study being released today shows.

Did someone have to do a study to show that? Not really, but with two Supreme Court rulings in the matter due as early as today, the numbers are worth noting.

gaymarriageThe Pew Research Center study – with the misleading headline “News Coverage Conveys Strong Momentum for Same-Sex Marriage” – covered March and April of this year, when news coverage focused on oral arguments before the court. Reports were graded as biased in support or against gay marriage if statements favoring one position outnumbered their opponents by 2-1 or more.

All told, according to the study, news coverage decisions that are made by a tiny percentage of the American public favor gay marriage over its opposition by a 5-1 margin.

Among cable outlets, MSNBC was the most biased, with 64 percent of its coverage considered to be tilted in favor of gay marriage (which seems ludicrously low). Fox News coverage was considered 63 percent mixed or neutral, with 30 percent supportive of gay marriage and 8 percent opposed. At CNN, 57 percent of the coverage was deemed even, with 40 percent supportive and 4 percent opposed.

Among newspapers, the Wall Street Journal coverage was graded as neutral 70 percent of the time; USA Today’s at 67 percent neutral.

The level of support for gay marriage among some news outlets as rated by the study is much higher than in the general public. According to Pew, polls show about 51 percent of the public is OK with gay marriage, while 42 percent oppose it. Twitter content reflected that, with about 31 percent of its comments supporting gay marriage, 28 percent opposing it, and 42 percent neutral or evenly mixed.

Rush Limbaugh summarized it best, according to the Pew report.

“Do you realize how stupid this is?” he said in the report.  “The problem is that nine exalted lawyers are determining something that has been a tradition since the beginning of times … the Left is forcing their agenda on us, pure and simple.”

Pure and simple

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