Ever suspect the national news media may be biased against Conservative Christian values? Below is one of many confirmations of their prejudice.
Pew: Media's Gay Marriage Support Evident
by Erin Roach
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The mainstream media's focus on support of same-sex marriage outnumbered news stories opposing it by roughly 5-to-1, according to a new Pew Research study showing the influence such coverage could have on the American public.
Nearly half of the stories studied in the two months marked by Supreme Court deliberations on the subject, mid-March through mid-May, focused on support of gay marriage and only 9 percent focused on opposition.
Pew said in its study, released June 17, 44 percent of the news stories included an even mix of support and opposition or were objective. Pew defined support or opposition by mandating that statements expressing that position had to outnumber the opposite view by at least 2-to-1.
All three of the major cable networks, Pew said, had more stories with significantly more supportive statements than opposing, including Fox News.
William Proctor, an evangelical commentator and author of "The Gospel According to The New York Times," told Baptist Press the research shows the mainstream news media continues to demonstrate a "significant bias against biblical values on social and other issues."
"But second, and even more important, through a process I've called 'culture creep,' the values espoused by the media inexorably draw the public away from traditional biblical values and toward moral and social standards that are antithetical to those affirmed by historic Christianity," Proctor, a two-time Harvard graduate, said.
Proctor pointed to polls by Angus Reid Public Opinion that found as news reports have increased in support of gay marriage, Americans' opinions have shifted dramatically as well. In 2010, he said, only 36 percent of Americans affirmed same-sex marriage; in 2011 the figure had risen to 46 percent; and now a Gallup poll shows support at 51 percent or higher.
Same-sex marriage supporters in the news coverage had a more consistent message than those arguing against it, Pew found, with supporters focusing on gay marriage as an issue of equality in nearly half of the news stories studied.
Opponents argued that same-sex marriage would hurt society and traditional marriage, but Pew said that argument only appeared in 18 percent of the stories and other arguments included the idea that homosexuality is immoral (10 percent).
"A powerful mechanism through which culture creep operates involves the identification of the wishes of certain interest groups, such as the gay community, with minority 'rights,'" Proctor said. "As the Pew report noted, 'the central argument among proponents of same-sex marriage was one of civil rights.'
"Such an argument is especially potent in our society because many Americans have a great difficulty denying anyone's claim to a special rights status, no matter how far-fetched that claim may be," Proctor said.
Amy Mitchell, acting director of Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the study shows how same-sex marriage supporters had a clear message and succeeded in getting that message across in all sectors of mainstream media.
"In addition," Mitchell said, "many of the events during the period studied, such as announcements by politicians and state legislation, reflect movement toward same-sex marriage."
One bright spot for gay marriage opponents, according to the Pew study, is that an analysis of Twitter conversation found that despite the nation's shift toward acceptance of same-sex marriage, significant opposition remains. Statements on Twitter were closely split between those who supported and those that opposed, Pew reported.
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-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 2, AD 2013.
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