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AdLib On May - 10 - 2012

When faced with an unrelenting media that was convinced that it had cornered President Obama in a compromising position on gay marriage, President Obama responded with the cool, class and principle that he typically demonstrates and made it clear that he does indeed support marriage equality for all Americans, including those in the LGBT community.

It is poignant that the first African American president of the US has also been the first one to state that he believes all American men and women are entitled to the right to marry another who they love without exception.

However, Barack Obama was already on record as supporting gay marriage when he ran for Senator. It was only when he ran for President that he modified his public opinion to that of supporting civil unions but not gay marriage. Considering that the 2004 election was heavily swayed against John Kerry and Democrats by Karl Rove’s hammering on gay marriage as a divisive issue, one might say that it would only be prudent not to invite the same hateful campaign and potential results by openly supporting gay marriage in a 2008 Presidential campaign. Some may find that as not being courageous but others may argue that it is more pragmatic to hold back such an opinion in the short term to be able to help the LGBT community in the long term than to announce it and possibly lose the White House to an anti-gay Republican who would harm the LGBT community.

In a purely factual sense, did anything really change yesterday? Did President Obama really change his mind on gay marriage or was his explanation of evolving on it just being diplomatic? Admittedly, only Barack Obama knows what he thinks so it must be stipulated that this is all supposition.

We do know that President Obama has always supported gay rights as President, through hate crime legislation, repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and not defending The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from legal challenges. There doesn’t seem to be any specific item that benefits the LGBT community that Obama hasn’t already been supporting. So though yesterday’s statement was a change in rhetoric, it doesn’t seem to be a change in Obama’s absolute support for LGBT issues.

The instigation for all of this was an interview on a news media show, NBC’s Meet The Press. A guest on the show, Vice President Biden was asked if he supported same sex marriage and he explained that he did. This was not news, Biden has been a supporter of gay marriage for some time. Yet, his expressing an openly known view on this was apparently, just the opening the Mainstream Media was looking for.

The MSM treated that statement of well established fact as if it was a big scandal which it wasn’t. They seemed very energized about having a juicy hot button issue with which to go after Obama. Their incessant pounding on this finally bore fruit yesterday with Obama’s declaration.

Is this a case of the media creating an exploitative story for financial and/or political benefit or were they just doing their job and holding a politician’s feet to the fire? One might consider the MSM’s simultaneous lack of interest in holding Mitt Romney’s feet to the fire on claiming credit for the GM bailout, something he flatly opposed and is an enormous lie or his weaseling around on immigration, now claiming he is trying to figure out his position even though he has stated his anti-immigrant “self-deportation” mentality in front of the whole nation.  The MSM doesn’t seem to pursue this ongoing gusher of Romney lies with much fervor. However, if Barack Obama had lied or flip-flopped about supporting gay rights, the resulting firestorm could easily be envisioned.

On the down side, “news” and conflict was once again manufactured by the MSM. On the up side, the  LGBT community now has their President clearly expressing his support for marriage equality. There is good that has come out of this but that does not appear to have been the intention.

The media coverage of Obama was particularly rough at the beginning of the year, with an average of nearly 47% negative stories compared with slightly more than 15% positive stories during the first four weeks of January, Pew found. As the economy and his poll numbers improved in March, so did the favorability of his media coverage, but the president still has yet to see more positive coverage than negative in 2012.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/23/news/la-pn-obama-suffers-more-negative-press-than-gop-pew-study-shows-20120423

There is a clear and distinct pattern in the MSM of promoting negativity towards Obama as the above study reflects. This is not to say that Obama expressing support for same sex marriage is a negative thing but the reality is that it may alienate some voters in swing states. Understanding that right now the country is evenly divided on the issue of gay marriage and knowing its track record in being used against Democrats to defeat them, it seems more intuitive to view the MSM as knowing that blowing this up into a huge story could have been damaging to Obama’s campaign hopes.

What if they threw a scandal and nobody came? Unfortunately for the MSM, this is what they’re having to scramble over today. In the aftermath of President Obama’s announcement, the outrage has been narrowly limited to the usual suspects, right wing evangelical homophobes and Republicans in the House…if there’s a difference. The media continues trying to fan the flames this morning with little oxygen being added, the surprise and disappointment is palpable. So, the principled MSM has pulled a Romney and is now spinning to the memes, “It will be a wash,” and “This could mainly benefit Obama with his base.” What a difference a day makes in the world of failed MSM memes.

Meanwhile, staying true to form, the House Republicans have leaped over helping the economy and Americans once again to pass today a bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using taxpayers dollars in any future fight against DOMA. Now that should create a lot more jobs and freedom!

It’s pretty much a moot point now to question whether this statement from Obama should have been positioned as “earth shattering” since the MSM’s pronouncement of it being so makes it so. But it remains a meaningful question to ask if our corporate media is meddling in our elections and democracy to benefit themselves. After all, a closer race means more avid viewing of their networks and greater ad revenue. What is also unavoidable is that the corporations which own the news networks would realize big financial gains from the tax cuts proposed by Romney and the GOP. Since all corporations have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to provide the greatest revenues possible to them, how are these corporations not obligated to support the politicians and party that will allow them to do so?

Is the corporately-owned media actually in the business of dictating what happens day to day in our democratic campaigns and possibly even the results? Are they deciding what issues will be debated and which ones won’t? Or are they just reporting what they should and what Americans are most interested in…or what will lure in the most viewers and ad revenue?

There are so many critical issues right now in this nation, the economy, health care, energy, entitlements, class warfare, women’s rights and on and on. Yet, for whatever motivation, the MSM often elevates the more emotional and superficial edges of issues than the core of issues.

If the MSM truly is creating news instead of reporting it, if the corporations that own the media can hobble the candidates they don’t support and promote the ones they do, we are living in dangerous times indeed.

There has been declining trust in the MSM as a news source, more and more people are turning to other sources, especially blogs and other internet resources. This is a positive trend and one that should be promoted. It makes sense to remain aware of what the MSM is pitching day to day so a complete boycott would leave one under-informed though reducing one’s viewing of corporate news outlets is one sure way to hit them where it hurts and weaken them.

“Free Press” used to be descriptive, now it’s a demand and one that if more realized, will empower Americans and their democracy far more.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

21 Responses so far.

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  1. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, I was disappointed — but not surprised — to hear even NPR spouting the (Repub) party line on this one. “The Obama administration was scrambling to de-fuse this Biden-created bombshell,” or something like. Apparently when their funding is threatened, they cave like so many other MSM outlets.

    But more and more I’m beginning to wonder if the clout of the MSM hasn’t begun to decline already. Who watches cable anymore? A certain segment of the population is so disengaged, they tune out news/politics almost entirely. Lots of college educated people get their information online because there really is no cable option that presents unbiased news, and the print sources they used formerly are online as well. The FUX News audience is aging by the day.

    That’s not to say that we should ignore the MSM or that they have no influence in the political arena. But I’m beginning to suspect that social media and YouTube are in the ascendancy now.

    And they’re going to be a lot harder to control.

    I think if I were in the Koch brothers’ shoes, I’d be looking hard at net neutrality issues. Somehow I think they already are.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, we’re very much on the same page. There is a slow migration away from the MSM but it still wields the greatest influence in our politics.

      I don’t think the dynamics have changed enough to reduce their clout, whatever they decide is a scandal or a problem for a candidate is mostly seen that way…though their attempt with Obama’s statement yesterday was a total fail.

      That was nice to see though I did bruise my knuckles hitting the tv when Luke Russert’s smarmy face was on it this morning, snarkily giving guests choices like, “Will this damage Obama’s hopes for re-election today or later on?”

      What a POS, poor Tim spoiled him far too much and he’s really soiling the Russert name.

      Absolutely, social media, blogs, etc. are growing in their influence because so many have been soured on the corporate BS that pours out of the MSM every day.

      I do hope the trend continues and reaches a tipping point, where the MSM is taken for granted as propaganda and for truth, you hit the internet.

      That’s the way it was in the USSR and even Russia today. For people who use “communist” as an insult so much, it’s rather interesting to see the same Orwellian thinking coming from the Right and GOP.

      Yep, the Kochs are indeed behind attempts to kill net neutrality, they see it as an enemy because so many have used social networking and the web to expose and weaken them.

      We need to be prepared to fight them and the corporations teamed up with them. If we lose the internet, it’s going to be very difficult to get out from under their domination.

  2. foodchain says:

    My problem is this: We can complain all we want but until we speak out in a way that helps balance the MSM, it won’t matter. It is about money. When Karl Rove announced that he can create the news, the MSM caught that ball; they got it. The Dems don’t address free news in any meaningful way; their sentences are pedantic, have no punch line, have no clear message. DUH! You can’t blame the enemy when you come to battle unarmed!!!!!

    The 2010 election pointed out that personal issues do make a difference. A lot of single or idealistic issue groups were disappointed in Obama 2010 and they showed it. It is our friends who helped cripple this president after 2010. As wisely said by Pogo: I have met the enemy and its us (http://www.igopogo.com/we_have_met.htm).

    I don’t disagree with any premise you’ve presented. I do have my own issue with our ability to take, talk down a group of simplistic liars. Where is our Edward R Morrow? Where is our South Park? Where is our ability to create news/money out of GOP( lies? When has there ever been such fertile ground?

    • AdLib says:

      Hey Foodchain, I really appreciate your perspective on this.

      My thought is that the MSM is already corrupt and can’t be uncorrupted. Our energy is better spent in building up alternatives to it as opposed to the Sisyphian labor of trying to stop corporate entities from serving their CEOs and Boards.

      We’ll bever change Fox News into a truly fair and balanced outfit, CNN has gone so far off the deep end they partner with the Tea Party on debates and MSNBC has conservative crap in shows and commercials marbled through their programming day.

      You can’t unmix an ugly bucket of paint back into its original colors. It’s ruined. That’s what happened to our MSM once corporations bought it out.

      So, I think the best path is to support blogs and podcasts and independent entities who are out there trying to seek and share truths and expose the liars and frauds in the MSM.

      If we can keep getting people to tune out the MSM and become more active in seeking truths, we will have that victory over those corrupt outlets.

  3. funksands says:

    What’s remarkable is that is that the statement was found to be so remarkable. The FOXNews guy had it right: “The President steps into the 21st century”. Next story.

    • AdLib says:

      Funk, that was my first response, “How is this surprising? Obama has always fully supported the LGBT community so this is no surprise to me.”

      What’s changed my mind since then is seeing how many people have been really affected by it.

      So, the announcement of a position many of us already thought Obama held may not in itself be ground shaking but the profound way it has impacted people is what makes it remarkable.

      That said, it’s the silver lining of a dark cloud hung over Obama’s head by a cynical and agenda driven corporate media.

    • foodchain says:

      Funk, it was very cool to see

      • funksands says:

        FC, It absolutely was! My wife and I talked about it all night! I thought about this morning and thought that it was interesting that such a calm, rational statement about what should be a no-brainer should cause such an uproar.

  4. Nirek says:

    Good points Adlib. The media seems to give the GOP way more passes but come on strong when the President says something. They never ask any hard questions of Romney , they just sit back and let him lie.

    As to the gay marriage topic, it took some evolution even for me. I understand how it could take a while for people to come around to the (right ) correct side. Equal rights for all. Even for our gay friends, women, and minorities.

    • AdLib says:

      Nirek, no question that the corporations that own the major media outlets have much more to gain from Obama losing his lead over Romney AND the Republicans implementing their tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.

      Why would corporations work to reduce potential profits? So they go through this BS dance of trying to present themselves as “just trying to give all sides of the arguments” in order to promote outrageous and blatant propaganda against Obama and the Dems and whip up “scandals” however they can.

      Thanks for your honesty and insights about your evolution on approving of gay marriage. It’s very appreciated and hopefully helps temper those who might otherwise be a bit hard on those who haven’t quite made it there yet.

      People do change and when you look at attitudes and polls today, we are a long way from where we were just eight years ago.

    • choicelady says:

      The problem is the image of white tulle and tuxedoes. I’m not being snotty -- we just have imprints of “correct” ideas about marriage.

      Even those who are FINE with civil marriages at the County Hall, have some trouble getting past those at the altar, whatever that may be.

      Well -- this IS a civil issue. Weddings -- as differentiated from marriage -- are rites of passage in whatever denomination or faith your hail from. This issue is CIVIL. The rest -- up to whatever faith group/organization/denomination you belong to. And if you’re dumb enough to belong where you’re not wholly embraced, well… As a civil marriage issue, it cannot be denied any longer, and I think most of us -- really, MOST of us, are OK with that.

      Thank you for being honest because that is honorable. It is not an easy journey when your whole society has “Bride Magazine” imprints of wedding and thus marriages. Those of us who value love and commitment over anything else, are compassionate when it comes to long time partners who deserve, as any other minority, the rights of our civil society.

      Thanks, Nirek. You said it well.

      • AdLib says:

        Marriage was originally created as a way to have legal contracts to transfer ownership of property and daughters. It didn’t begin as what it is today.

        And the old but inescapable argument goes, with a divorce rate of over 50%, how is marriage sacred to begin with? It’s not, it’s an agreement that can be broken and is in most cases.

        Like anything, marriage is sacred to those who treat it that way and the idiocy of saying that another’s marriage affects your ability to keep your own sacred, just escapes me.

      • foodchain says:

        Choice; you say a lot. Would that you could be the one on the big megaphone. This has been a better week than some

  5. choicelady says:

    The one really pukey part of this for me was the discussion -- and I have no idea if it was Obama or the reporter -- saying he’d checked his Christian teachings BUT decided to do it anyway.

    WTF???? Christian teachings, my ass -- look at his former church, United Church of Christ that openly supports marriage equality, and then Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and yes, even Methodists (never mind that they got hijacked last week by their Southern Hemisphere conservatives) who are congregation by congregation, region by region, all in support. Add in some Qakers, Unitarians, Unity Church, and non-denominational or splinter groups such as the Independent Catholic Church, and you have quite a sizeable support.

    Pew Research on Religion shows mainline Protestants support marriage equality by a significant margin.

    There no longer is ANY “Christian” opposition, there is opposition from SOME denominations within Christianity, and they are all traditionalist to extreme fundamentalists. And they base it on OLD Testament verses while not paying a shred of attention to edicts pertaining to their own actions. (Cotton polyester is a mixed fiber the wearing of which is verboten, so they’re screwed.)

    If Obama said that -- and he once did say he had been born again which, as a member of UCC, he would NEVER say and which therefore creeped me out -- then he needs a good, sound study of contemporary theology because more and more Christians -- not the faux ones of Dominionist stripe -- know that if Jesus didn’t say it, it probably needs revision.

    Christians don’t object to marriage equality. Some Christians or faux Christians do. But more and more we are all coming to resemble Biden -- a good Catholic -- placing humanity and love and compassion for others’ lives over dogma. And that is how it should be!

    Sign outside county hall the day marriage equality was, briefly, legal in CA:

    The gay agenda:

    Be treated as an equal.
    Spend more time with my family.
    Buy milk.

    Now -- what’s not to support about THAT?

    • AdLib says:

      CL -- Jon Stewart made the point humorously tonight, dissing one of the RR talking asses (more accurate than calling them “talking heads”) for saying it was anti-Christian by saying that Jesus never said anything against homosexuality.

      So if you’re a Christian and you follow the teachings of Christ, there is no basis for opposing equality for people, straight and gay.

      Just shows, religious or not, if you want to hate, you’ll always find some dishonest way to justify it but I find it especially disgusting to lie about Christianity to justify one’s hate of others.

      I mean, is their image of Jesus some redneck who hates gays, blacks and women? More like The Gospel according to douches.

  6. Great article AdLib.

    I kind of evolved on what Obama’s evolution means to me (sorry for the pun). Similar to what Andrew Sullivan said before he came out to explicitly to support same sex marriage I was fine with Obama’s position because like you eloquently pointed out he did not just talk the talk but was the first president to really walk the walk on LGBT issues. But I have to admit Obama specifically coming out and supporting same sex marriage did mean more to me than I thought it would. Way more.

    I’m not letting the media off the hook at all either. They were all over Obama on this issue but always give Romney a pass on his tough issues.

    Why aren’t they badgering Romney on the immigration issue or how he will pay for HUGE defense increases and tax cuts while promising to cut the federal budget?

    Of course you answer that question deftly in your post as well.

    I almost puked when I opened my BBS news page this morning.

    Obama’s support for gay marriage splits US

    FFS how is giving equal rights to all splitting America. The GOP is the one dividing people. In effect the GOP is saying that if you are attracted to your same sex that you deserve 2nd class citizenship. The issue divides just like the slavery issue did but there is a right and wrong side here and there is no moral equivalent. President Obama bravely took the right side, the side that unites people and does not divide people into classes.

    • AdLib says:

      KQ, as the days have gone by, I do feel as you do, that this is something bigger and more profound than it seemed originally.

      However, the MSM “gotcha” that precipitated all of this was total BS and remains that way.

      All the hysteria they tried and failed to whip up makes me dislike them more than ever before.

      This selective badgering is so obvious. They don’t chase down Romney on any of his BS and lies yet for days they hounded Obama, like they had the scent of blood.

      And instead, Obama hits it out of the park, the Repubs are too shamed to attack gays openly so they attack Obama for pandering…even though he’s supported gay issue fully as someone who believes in equality. The GOP/Fox News’ attacks are quite lame and failures and the public remains where they are for the most part though I think Obama is seen even more as someone who cares about people.

      As for the ongoing attempts of the MSM to howl about how the nation is now split because of this…er…such people call themselves “journalists”? The nation was one harmonious chorus before this and Congress was a united and perfectly functioning body until this happened? Really?

      It is truly moronic to make such a declaration and blame Obama’s statement for anything, it’s the opposite, Progressives and Right Wingers are of course divided on Gay rights, helping the poor, women’s rights, etc. so of course those opposing the Dems and Progressives are opposed to their stands on issues.

      The ignorance displayed in pursuit of trying to whip up conflict is truly astonishing.

    • choicelady says:

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, …snore. Splits America? Borrrr-ing. No -- it has split America as an issue, but most of us are pretty OK with it, so that’s not going to change, and Obama’s statement is not going to change anything either.

      ‘Night. Back to sleep.

      • I rarely disagree with you CL but I think a US president coming out for same sex marriage will affect things in the future. I know policy has not changed but people’s attitudes do someone depend on what their leaders think to some degree. I think especially in the African American church community Obama coming out for same sex marriage could change attitudes allot. Nothing’s going to happen tomorrow, a month from now or maybe not even a year from now that was not going to happen anyway. But 10 years from now with things trending the way they are Obama explicitly coming out for same sex marriage should accelerate progress.

        I also think it splits on an issue but eventually America is going to come together on gay rights and wonder what the hell we were thinking back then. Then again I always look at the long game on these issues. Of course that does not mean their will be a minority of haters out there because they will never go away.

        • choicelady says:

          Oh, KQ -- I’m not disagreeing with YOU but with the religious right. I agree it’s huge what he did, but HE did not divide us. The religious RIGHT did. So that’s the “snore.” We already ARE divided, yeah, yeah, yeah and he has not been the cause.

          That obviously was NOT made clear by me!

          • Understood and in total agreement again. It certainly is the people on the absolutely wrong side of an issue like this that does divide us. We were born a divided nation and will continue to be for some time so the only thing people can do is be on the proper side.


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