‘Journalist’: Objective Reporting Doesn’t Apply to ‘Fundamentalist Wackjobs’

Objectivity doesn’t matter when you have an agenda to push. So admits reporter Jessica Bennett in an article for the Washington Post

When Bennett interned for the Seattle Daily in 2003, she excitedly wrote about Canada’s legalization of gay marriage. “I was 19,” she recalled, “and picked a fight with my editor after being asked to call a fundamentalist wackjob for ‘an anti-marriage quote’ – you know, to show we were objective.” Sadly, she was unable to exclude that, er, bigoted, homophobic, hateful viewpoint. 

Later, after winning a coveted GLAAD media award, Bennett again argued over objectivity with her Newsweek editor. “When asked to insert an anti-marriage quote – this time for an article I was writing about a new generation of gay activists,” she declared, “I argued again. This time I won.” 

This was a victory indeed for the young woman who had been “touting equal rights in the best way [she] could as a journalist since the beginning of [her] career.” 

So, last week, Bennett was understandably blown away to see her article “Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?” referenced in Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges. In that document, Roberts drew a parallel between gay and lesbian couples’ right to marry and the recognition of polyamorous relationships. “There may well be relevant differences that compel different legal analysis. But if there are, petitioners have not pointed to any,” he stated. 

“This was not an article about the LGBT community at all,” Bennett whined. “Rather, it was about a group … from whom gay rights activists have long attempted to distance themselves specifically to avoid the kind of association Roberts drew.” The polyamorists she interviewed weren’t looking to redefine marriage at all, Bennett said. “They were looking to break the shackles of the institution altogether.” Better and better! 

And yet, in a U.S. News article published the same day as Bennett’s, the voices of the polyamorous began to rise. One polyamorist man was excited to see Roberts’s reference to his lifestyle of living as a threesome. “Did you see we were mentioned by Roberts?” he enthused to guests coming over for a party. 

The Chief Justice’s dissent might be “prophetic,” according to Robyn Trask, the executive director of a polyamory support organization. “I don’t think its going to be as far in the future as people think.” Diana Adams, a New York attorney focusing on non-traditional family law agreed. “I do think the dissent by Roberts provides a legal foothold for people seeking polyamorous marriage rights,” she said. 

Uh-oh. Look what our equal rights journalist helped to get rolling.