By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com November 16 2012 8:17 PM ET
Fox News ignored the election of Rep. Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate and underreported the marriage equality wins in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, according to media watchdog organization Media Matters for America. The group compared the coverage of Fox News to CNN and MSNBC, and determined that Fox tallied signficantly fewer mentions of these events within its broadcasts.
Between November 6 and November 9, Media Matters combed through transcripts of these major news networks for terms related to same-sex marriage. The organization determined that Fox News devoted only one segment and nine mentions to the marriage equality wins, which marked the first time in history that American citizens voted in favor of same-sex marriage. When discussed by Fox newscasters, these victories were usually "bundled with other ballot initiatives," rather than given individualized attention.
Media Matters also notes that Fox News failed to report on the election of Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. By contrast, her election received in-depth coverage on the other networks.
Media coverage of LGBT issues remains a contentious item among many conservatives. Matt Philbin, managing editor of the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institude, argues in a recent article that Americans overestimate the number of the LGBT population because the mainstream media provides disproportionately high coverage. During an eight-month polling period, he counted 213 "homosexual-related" stories and deemed this number "very exorbitant" and indicative of the media's misguided search for a new civil rights movement. He states:
"They impart this sort of ’60s civil rights-type spin to issues of whether or not gays can get married, when, of course, that does nothing but cheapen the actual civil rights movement and the heroes that fought for change there. This is what they see as the issue of their day. ... Print, electronic and broadcast media have taken up the gay agenda."