LGBTQ issues have been covered significantly less in mainstream media outlets since the election of Donald Trump, according to a new report from RealClearPolitics.
The Chicago-based polling data aggregator — crunching numbers from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive, which can comb through transcriptions — analyzed the frequency that CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News used the words "gay" and "gays" on the air from July 2009 to the present.
It found that these terms "essentially vanished after Trump was elected and have remained largely absent from coverage for the past three years."
To ensure that a switch in preferred terms for the LGBTQ community was not to blame, RealClearPolitics added “lesbian,” “lesbians,” “transgender,” “LGBT,” “LGBTQ” and “queer” to its search query. "While there has been a bit more coverage when including this larger basket of terms, mentions have still been minuscule since Trump’s election," the news source summarized.
The discrepancy is notable because Google searches for these terms have "surged" over the same time period, RealClearPolitics noted.
What could account for this disconnect between public interest and the mainstream media? "The most likely explanation is that the daily deluge of headlines from a very mediagenic presidency has bombarded outlets with so many newsworthy stories that historically important topics like LGBTQ issues have been displaced from the news cycle," RealClearPolitics concluded.
The news is doubly troubling, as the Trump administration has launched at least 124 attacks against the LGBTQ community, as counted by the media organization GLAAD. Notable examples include the transgender military ban and the recent memo to the Supreme Court recommending that a person's sexual orientation be a firable offense.
LGBTQ issues have also been largely absent from the Democratic presidential debates. In order to recenter this conversation, The Advocate, GLAAD, One Iowa, and The Gazette will be hosting a historic LGBTQ forum for the candidates Friday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which will also be streamed on YouTube.
“This is exactly why the #LGBTQforum for 2020 presidential candidates is vital," said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD's CEO and president. "This Friday in Iowa LGBTQ voters will hear directly from candidates about the issues that impact our lives.”