Tags: Pew | same-sex | marriage | media

Pew: Widespread Media Bias in Favor of Gay Marriage

Image: Pew: Widespread Media Bias in Favor of Gay Marriage Same-sex marriage supporters and opponents argue their points in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2013.

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 11:05 AM

By Melanie Batley

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News outlets are far more likely to present a supportive view of same-sex marriage than opposition to it, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

The study released Monday found roughly five times as many stories were weighted in support of same-sex marriage than were against.

"The findings show how same-sex marriage supporters have had a clear message and succeeded in getting that message across all sectors of mainstream media," the Pew researchers said.

Almost half — 47 percent of the nearly 500 stories studied from March 18 through May 12, a period marked by Supreme Court deliberations on two high-profile same-sex cases — focused primarily on support for the measure.

Just 9 percent of stories focused on opposition to gay marriage and 44 percent had a roughly equal mix of both viewpoints.

Urgent: Should Gay Marriage Be Legal? Vote Here in Urgent National Poll.

"This news media focus on support held true whether the stories were reported in news articles or opinion pieces, and was also the case across nearly all media sectors studied," said the report's authors. "All three of the major cable networks, for instance, had more stories with significantly more supportive statements than opposing, including Fox News."

The level of support conveyed in the news media goes much further than the level seen in public opinion surveys.

For example, according to a recent NBC/ WSJ poll, 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage but only 47 percent believe the federal definition of marriage should include same-sex marriage, and 48 percent say they still believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Another recent poll by the Pew Research Center confirmed those findings

The new report also noted that Twitter postings on the subject were nearly evenly split between support and opposition for the measure, "aligning more closely with public opinion than with the news media."

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