Get Religion notes the media bias in the Chick-fil-A story after company President Dan Cathy expressed his support for “family — the biblical definition of the family unit.”
This raises an interesting journalistic question: Is a defense of one doctrine automatically the same thing as an on-the-record attack on the opposite doctrine? In this case, is it accurate for CNN (and others) to say that Cathy made comments about gay marriage when, in fact, he did not speak words addressing that issue?
Picky, picky? Well, yes. It would have been so easy for the mainstream press to have reported Cathy’s remarks accurately and, then, to have accurately reported the comments of those who were more than happy to criticize the Chick-fil-A leader’s conservative views on marriage.
That equation is par for the journalistic course. But is it fair game to actually state, as fact, that the man said things that he didn’t say?
And, is it fair to assume that someone who believes in gender-integrated marriage is ipso facto “anti-gay”?
At the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway lists other instances where the mainstream news jumped to assumptions based on stereotypes instead of sticking to reporting facts in his post: “Media Invents Story That Chick-fil-A President Condemned Gay Marriage:”
CNN, Time and many other news organizations owe Cathy and Chick-fil-A some serious corrections and/or clarifications. It should further cause news organizations -- particularly in the wake of ABC's absurd speculation that the Aurora killings were done by a Tea Partier and many news organizations falling for Greenpeace's intentionally deceptive campaign against Shell Oil -- to reflect on why these kinds of egregrious media errors habitually reflect left-wing political narratives.
When I wrote, "The president of Chick-fil-A never actually said anything condemning gay marriage," I was referring specifically to the Baptist Press interview that formed the basis of the attack by CNN and many other news outlets. It's also been known for decades that Chick-fil-A is run by devout Christians that support traditional famly values, yet only now has there been a national furor over Cathy and his company's position on this. That controversy came only by taking his quotes out of context to suggest he was attacking supporters of gay marriage rather than defending his own beliefs. And it certainly doesn't justify supposedly mainstream news organizations calling him "homophobic" -- an astonishingly biased and juvenile way of framing what he said.
But that is precisely the story that the left spins: Everyone who supports pro-gender marriage is automatically homophobic.
This is why reasoned debates are so difficult. Name-calling and lawsuits impede consensus.