Media Matters suggests five "do's and dont's"
for the media when covering the upcoming SCOTUS decision on marriage equality.
I personally think these tips would work just as well when it comes to covering lgbt equality issues and this so-called cultural war. Attached are three of the tips:
DON'T Cite Debunked Horror Stories
In recent debates over marriage equality, anti-LGBT groups and activists have trotted out the
same tired "horror stories" about the supposedly negative consequences
of same-sex marriage on religious liberty, including that:
All these claims were thoroughly debunked years ago, but news outlets tend to
cite them without checking the facts. Journalists should avoid lending
credibility to anti-equality myths and hold commentators who push this
kind of misinformation accountable.
DO Accurately Identify Anti-LGBT Commentators
Mainstream media often fail to give
their audiences relevant information about guests they ask to comment
on marriage equality. If a guest represents an anti-LGBT hate group for
example -- like the Family Research Council or American College of Pediatricians
-- identifying the person as such is essential to providing audiences
the context they need to assess that guest's point of view. On CBS' Face
the Nation this past April, Bob Schieffer exemplified how the media
should introduce such opponents when he accurately
identified one of his guests as the president of an anti-gay hate
group. Schieffer's decision to properly identify Tony Perkins, of the
Family Research Council, infuriated
anti-LGBT conservatives, who rely on softball media interviews to
whitewash their extreme positions. Anti-LGBT groups also frequently use legal scholars and academics to advance their talking points without revealing the animus that motivates their work.
DON'T Pit Gay Rights Against Religious Beliefs
Pitting religious communities against proponents of marriage equality
is a common practice in the media, but it ignores the fact that most
religious people support legalizing same-sex marriage. Media outlets have historically had trouble separating anti-LGBT animus from sincere, mainstream religious belief, framing the debate instead as a "God vs. Gays" issue. A recent study found significant margins
of people in major religious groups -- including 84 percent of
Buddhists, 77 percent of Jews, 60 percent of Catholics, and 56 percent
of Orthodox Christians -- support same-sex marriage. Among all
religiously affiliated Americans, supporters are in the plurality, with
47 percent favoring same-sex marriage, compared to 45 percent who oppose
Aside from misrepresenting support for marriage equality among religious people, elevating the "God vs. Gays" myth reinforces the right-wing campaign for
anti-LGBT "religious freedom" laws. Coverage of the marriage equality
decision will offer media outlets an opportunity to accurately portray
the support for same-sex marriage among religious groups, and dispel
inaccurate tropes about religion and gay people.
The rest of the "do's and don't's - DO Rely On Empirical Evidence, DON'T Cite Flawed Social Science -
are equally important. Check them all out here