Mistreating marriage

Media increasingly disparage traditional foundation of our society

If aliens from another galaxy are monitoring our news and entertainment media, then they probably think gay marriage is the norm and that man-woman relationships are a horrid idea.

“How are there so many of these creatures?” they must be asking themselves.

A Pew Research Center study has found that recent news media coverage “was tilted massively against those who favor traditional marriage.”

“Titled massively against” doesn’t begin to describe the entertainment media’s treatment of traditional marriage. More on that in a minute.

“Detractors of gay marriage couldn’t buy their way into (news) coverage,” The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes.

“Almost half (47 percent) of the nearly 500 stories studied from March 18 (a week prior to the Supreme Court hearings), through May 12, primarily focused on support for (gay marriage),” the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism study says, “while 9 percent largely focused on opposition and 44 percent had a roughly equal mix of both viewpoints or were neutral.”

Even on liberal-loathed Fox News, 63 percent of the coverage was mixed, 29 percent supportive and 8 percent opposing, Pew said.

Nor has the coverage
accurately reflected public sentiment; Pew writes that the bias in the coverage “goes beyond the level seen in public opinion surveys.”

“The study lends credence to conservative charges that the nation’s news media have championed the issue of same-sex marriage at the expense of objectivity,” The New York Times had to admit.

Now, contrast that with depictions of traditional marriage in the entertainment media.

You know just from your own observations that marriages, and men in particular, have not fared well in movies and TV shows in recent decades.

“Married couples don’t come off particularly well in popular culture,” gender and pop culture blogger Johannah Cousins writes in an article titled “Lazy Husbands and Shrewish Wives: Media Portrayals of Marriage.”

“Movies, TV shows and advertising are littered with confused, incompetent and often even uncaring fathers and husbands. … Modern couples certainly do face a lot of problems … . But a mass media which is dominated by the Jon and Kate Gosselin version of marriage, where both partners become vicious and unlikable, or the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James version, where we’re left wondering if a woman really can have huge career success and a healthy relationship at the same time, is not helping.”

Nope. Like bad news drags down a president’s poll numbers, the media’s casting constant aspersions on marriage – heterosexual marriage, that is – can’t help its image.

“The marriage rate is at its lowest point in more than a century,” USA Today noted recently.

Certainly the economy has taken its toll. But so has the steady stream of negativity about marriage in our media.

It’s an awfully strange way to treat the foundation of society.

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