Broadcast TV Morning Shows Offered 64 Words on Maine Gay Vote
Maine's successful referendum to repeal a newly-imposed "same-sex marriage" law would have been a huge national story if the gay left had won. But since they narrowly lost, the broadcast network morning shows on Wednesday barely acknowledged it. In fact, NBC avoided the news for its entire four hours of Today. The Early Show on CBS offered 20 words from Jeff Glor early in the show: "In Maine, a loss for supporters of gay marriage yesterday. Voters voted down a law that had legalized same-sex marriage."
ABC's Good Morning America led the pack with two quick mentions. In the first hour, Diane Sawyer told George Stephanopoulos: "In Maine, you probably heard about this, voters were voting on gay marriage. They decided against gay marriage, 53 to 47 percent." That's 22 words. In the 8 am hour, this squib from news anchor Chris Cuomo: "And we do have the results of one widely watched ballot initiative. Voters in Maine repealed a law that allowed same-sex marriages." That's also 22 words.
At least the networks didn't offering the typical labeling imbalance, where "conservatives" defeated "gay rights activists." In his 8 am newscast, Cuomo noted "conservative Republican" Bob McDonnell won, and Bill Owens "defeated his conservative opponent in upstate New York."
Maine is the 31st state to vote against "same-sex marriage," although the margins of victory have shrunk over the last few years. A left-wing victory there surely would have been a striking new development. But the avoidance of electoral results that cause liberals to gnash their teeth (or make liberalism less than the inevitable wave of the future) give the networks a very politically selective image.
- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.