Topic: Media Research Center
On March 12, the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute published a bit of so-called research claiming that the Washington Post "Quoted supporters 10 times more often than opponents" on the subject of gay marriage in the previous seven days as gay marriage became legal in Washington, D.C. Colleen Raezler went on to sniff: "Nobody can accuse The Washington Post of being objective when it came to covering the District of Columbia’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. The Post has reported on the event with a celebratory zeal more appropriate to The Advocate or The Blade."
Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander responded to CMI in his March 21 column:
"As soon as this became law, it was basically The Washington Post standing up and saying 'Yay!' " Dan Gainor, the group's vice president, said in an interview. "It's news," he acknowledged, but the coverage was excessive and "one-sided." Conservatives see it as evidence that The Post is hopelessly liberal, he said.
The Post is not always sufficiently attuned to conservative perspectives. But with gay marriage coverage, the accusations of journalistic overkill are off base.
By any measure, the issuance of same-sex licenses was historic. And many among the District's large lesbian and gay population are directly affected. A study last October by the nonprofit Williams Institute at UCLA, whose Web site says it uses research to advance "sexual orientation law," estimated that roughly 3,500 same-sex couples live in the District. At about 14 per 1,000 households, the percentage is nearly three times the national average and ranks above all states.
Also, The Post's coverage should be viewed broadly to include the run-up to the D.C. Council's Dec. 15 final approval of same-sex marriage. That's when debate was most intense. During that period, The Post ran roughly 20 stories, many airing opponents' views.
In mid-November, the Style section featured a 2,200-word profile of Bishop Harry Jackson of Beltsville's Hope Christian Church, a national figure and local leader in the movement against same-sex marriage. Earlier, Style ran a lengthy profile of Brian Brown, executive director of the anti-gay-marriage National Organization for Marriage. The Brown and Jackson profiles drew protests from gay readers who felt their side wasn't given equal exposure.
CMI isn't about to concede that its attack on the Post was too narrow. A March 25 CMI article by Raezler made a passing mention of Alexander's column, then bashed the Post anew, claiming that "the Post itself keeps piling up evidence of its pro-gay agenda."
If Raezler is not going to admit the fact that it's attacking the Post based on a very narrow reading of its coverage -- and then continues to attack the Post in the same manner -- why mention Alexander's critique at all?