It is called Moderate Media Bias, and unfortunately, it is all too common in the media. For those who do not know what Moderate Media Bias is, it is the attempt to appear unbiased and moderate by bringing in to speak people from both sides of an argument even if one side of that argument is based on misinformation, lies, deception or even just erroneous beliefs. This is what NPR did in a recent story about an Ohio couple who sued to allow both men to be buried in the same family plot.
NPR brought in the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg to discuss the case of Jim Obergefell and John Arthur. The two men were married in Maryland, but live in Ohio. If it were not for the fact that Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act remains in effect, this couple would not have to sue to make sure that Obergefell could be buried with Arthur when he finally passes on. Arthur is likely to predecease his husband given that he has terminal ALS.
A court ordered that the couple’s marriage be recognized by the state of Ohio despite a ban on same-sex marriage in that state. The state has appealed the decision and both the FRC and the National Organization for Marriage are trying to stop this from being recognized.
Unfortunately, NPR decided, in order to seem unbiased, to invite Sprigg and NOM chairman John Eastman into this debate. They say in the interview:
SPRIGG: It may be a sort of bait and switch. I think the courts will have to twist themselves into knots, taking the argument that the federal government has to recognize the policy choices of the state and then turning that into precedent for saying that states are not permitted to make their own policy choices to begin with. I don’t see the logic in that. [...]
EASTMAN: The Supreme Court said that the states are supposed to be the primary place where marriage policy is set, and this judge has just replaced Ohio’s policy with his own.
Now, ThinkProgress states “It’s unclear why NPR felt it necessary to include Sprigg and Eastman in the story” except that it is clear why NPR felt they needed to include both men in this debate. They are trying to appear unbiased. Unfortunately, in trying to appear unbiased they have brought in two men whose biases are not only clear, but extreme.
NPR could mention or counter that Section 2 of DOMA is unconstitutional under both the Loving precedent and the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, but they do no such thing. They brought into the debate two men who have no care about the fact that a man is on his death bed, and they do not care about the Constitution. They perpetuate lies and deceptions in order to maintain their income stream and political influence.
NPR really should consider the fact that there are people who could weigh in on the other side of the debate without being anti-gay. There are legal experts who could have made a comment about this issue without being downright bigoted.
Instead, they made it clear that they are more concerned about appearing unbiased than being truthful.
In good news, the judge in the case has extended the temporary restraining order blocking Ohio from ignoring the two men’s marriage for another two weeks.