Media bias on same sex marriage: by the numbers

The Pew Research Center has published a study confirming what any sentient viewer of major media already knows: a full bore propaganda campaign has been underway to build public support for the redefinition of marriage. Paul Hitlin, Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz write:

In a period marked by Supreme Court deliberations on the subject, the news media coverage provided a strong sense of momentum towards legalizing same-sex marriage, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. Stories with more statements supporting same-sex marriage outweighed those with more statements opposing it by a margin of roughly 5-to-1.

In the coverage studied, the central argument among proponents of same-sex marriage was one of civil rights. Arguments against were more varied, but most often voiced the idea that same-sex marriage would hurt society and the institution of traditional marriage.

Almost half (47%) of the nearly 500 stories studied from March 18 (a week prior to the Supreme Court hearings), through May 12, primarily focused on support for the measure, while 9% largely focused on opposition and 44% had a roughly equal mix of both viewpoints or were neutral. In order for a story to be classified as supporting or opposing same sex marriage, statements expressing that position had to outnumber the opposite view by at least 2-to-1. Stories that did not meet that threshold were defined as neutral or mixed.

Many of the events themselves during the period studied, such as announcements by politicians and state legislation, reflected movement towards same-sex marriage. 

The following graphic reflects the basic pattern found:

All of this means that if the Supreme Court finds that redefining marriage is not required by the Constitution, the media outcry will be substantial. We can expect the decision to be presented on the last day of the Court's term, so that the justices can get out of Dodge, no matter which way the decision will go.

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