Do you ever read those oftentimes annoying little tickers that crawl under the TV newscasts? Even the tickers can carry a liberal bias. Take ABC's "Good Morning America" on Feb. 27, in the show's first two minutes. Notice where ABC placed (and didn't place) the quote marks and the word "so-called" as these sentences crossed the screen, in order:
-- "Days before Super Tuesday, Democratic presidential rivals John Kerry and John Edwards spar over trade, agree on opposing gay marriages in debate."
-- "House passes 'Laci and Conner's bill,' makes harming an 'unborn child' a federal crime."
-- "Justice Department subpoenas regarding the so-called partial birth abortion ban demand medical records for all surgical abortions performed at six Planned Parenthood affiliates in the last year, ABC News has learned."
-- "Rosie O'Donnell weds longtime girlfriend in San Francisco after criticizing President Bush over his stance on gay marriage."
What school of thought teaches that "unborn child" is a nebulous, hard-to-define concept, but "gay marriage" is not? "Gay marriage" in quotes ought to be required, since a majority of Americans resent that terminology as an assault on the dictionary. Even Kerry and Edwards know that, which is why both have clearly signaled they don't think it's politically wise to have the M-word applied to gays just yet but want gay couples to have every government privilege that married couples have.
The "news" media, by contrast, find no need to recognize the sensitivities of the American voter. They see their job as bullying and dragging the public to the left, persuading them that marrying Peter and Paul will soon be seen as a "once-radical" idea, while never implying it's radical right now, in thought and in deed.
Even liberals are admitting that neutrality's taking a holiday. New Republic Senior Editor Jonathan Chait, who claims most media-bias arguments are "overblown," admitted the media's "cultural predilections" are showing like shirtails, and "coverage of the gay marriage amendment offers a perfect example."
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, the liberal newspaper in the nation's capital, has discovered how the media have treated San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom like a hero. Newsom's defy-the-government tactics may resemble Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who defied federal orders to move a Ten Commandments monument out of a government building. But only Moore was compared to segregationist Gov. George Wallace. Too few news stories acknowledged that Newsom was defying not some antique state law, but a 58 percent majority of California voters who supported a 2000 ballot initiative to protect the definition of marriage.
Perhaps the most blatant pro-gay bias comes in the absolutely undisturbed celebration of Rosie O'Donnell, that pitiful figure who no longer has a career outside of gay activism. The media not only grant her the right to "marry," they've granted her the right to sound like a complete nitwit on television without rebuttal.
In what seems like the seventeenth "exclusive interview" with ABC, O'Donnell proclaimed on "Good Morning America" that "I think the actions of the president, which are, you know, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president, in my opinion."
This was a taped interview, where Diane Sawyer didn't so much ask questions on camera as helpfully set up Rosie's pronunciamentos. So it's additionally sad that ABC "News" didn't take the time to scan what President Bush actually said in the White House on Feb. 24 that was so "vile and hateful."
Bush never said -- gasp! -- that homosexuality was an unacceptable lifestyle choice or a path that separates a person from God. He didn't even call gay-agenda pushers "liberals." The harshest thing he said was that "Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society."
Bush's speechwriters brought out rhetorical Hi-Liters to underscore their almost exhibitionistic civility: "Our government should respect every person, and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger."
None of this matters to our media, the so-called watchdogs of public civility. To them, Bush has knuckled under to "ultraconservatives" (MSNBC's Keith Olbermann) and is preparing to run a "very hard-right campaign" (NBC's David Gregory). Conservatives "browbeat" Bush, reported CBS's John Roberts.
But how deep and wide is this so-called "hard right"? It must include the solid majority of Americans that oppose "gay marriage." CBS's own polls show Rosie O'Donnell loses on redefining marriage, 62 to 30 percent. Among Republicans, it's 80 to 14. Among Democrats (!), it's 53-39 against.
The media have spurned and insulted the majority on this issue. They are firmly planted with the political minority in the exotic -- dare we say it? -- fairyland of Rosie O'Donnell.