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Fox’s foolish reporting of non-news

Timothy Kincaid

December 26th, 2009

fox newsI am not among those who dismiss Fox News as nothing but partisan propaganda. In today’s news practice of activism masquerading as information, I find that they provide a balance to other news sources and between them all I get a better sense of what is true.

But sometimes the editorial slant of the entire network becomes laughable. Take, for example, this story, entitled “Gay Marriage Opponents Push to Let Voters Decide“.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Opponents of Iowa’s gay marriage law are promising to push hard during the 2010 legislative session for a vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex unions.

In equally exciting (and likely) news, opponents of the sun rising in the East are promising to push hard to reverse the Earth’s rotation. Ugh.

What this breathless press-release pretending to be a news story fails to mention is that there is just about zero likelihood that their pressing – hard or otherwise – will result in a constitutional amendment any time soon.

Democrats hold a majority in both houses by sizable margins: 56-44 in the House and 32-18 in the Senate. While there are no doubt some in the Democratic delegation that would never affirmatively vote for equality – and might even vote in opposition if given the chance – no such votes will arise. Both House Speaker Pat Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal have stated that they will not be entertaining such a debate.

Republicans will rally and protest and campaign on this issue. But unless they have other vastly more compelling arguments, this is unlikely to shift power in the legislature. A poll in September found that the state is about evenly divided on the idea of a constitutional amendment, but that 63% say that other issues are more important to them. A huge 92% say that same-sex marriage hasn’t impacted their life at all.

Even supposing that the 2010 election could be argued to be a referendum of the people calling for discrimination, a constitutional amendment requires that two back to back legislatures vote affirmatively before presenting the issue to the voters (oh, wise Iowa). The soonest that voters could face a proposition to change their constitution would be November 2014.

I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that after five years of marriage equality, Iowans would be immune to warnings of impending doom – which is really all the anti-gay side has to offer.

Comments

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Lynn David
December 26th, 2009 | LINK

If Iowa is anything like Indiana, a number of those Democrats would vote for an amendment to define marriage heterosexually if it came before the entire legislative body (house or senate) and likely enough to pass it. Luckily, here in Indiana the bill that would enable the vote on the amendment (by the people) never made it out of a democratically controlled committee. Likely, that too will be the case in Iowa.

Sol Invictus
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Iowa is sending a message. Perhaps the Democrats should listen to the voters who elected them to serve their constituency.

If a vote of the citizens of Iowa is demanded on same sex marriage, then allow the citizens to vote on the issue.

If the polls are correct then it would be the first electorate victory for same sex marriage.

If California had voted NO on proposition 8, the arguement would be “The will of the people must be respected”. Same if same sex marriage had prevailed in Maine.

All gay advocates would be demanding the will of the people be upheld if the vote had went their way.

Iowa should have the same choice. Arguing against a vote of the citizens is talking out both sides of your mouth at the same time. Trying to stop the citizens from voting if they desire to do so is pure ideological fascism.

Désirée
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry Sol, you are very very wrong. No one is talking about respecting the will of the people. This is an issue that shouldn’t be up for a vote at all. One group of people voting on the rights of another group is never right. That is tyranny. Preventing a vote is the proper thing to do, regardless of which side might win.

Burr
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

If same sex marriage won at the polls, the reaction would have been “Well, that was a relief, but it NEVER should have gone to the polls in the first place.” And we wouldn’t be crowing about how it was the will of the people but how ridiculous it is to put people’s freedoms to a simple majority rules vote.

Let’s vote on YOUR marriage, YOUR freedom of speech, YOUR right to a fair trial.

If you won’t let us vote on those things, then YOU are the one that is the pure ideological fascist.

Priya Lynn
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy said “I find that they provide a balance to other news sources and between them all I get a better sense of what is true.”.

Oh dear…I just remember Fox news having a debate on atheists and they invited three religious people to discuss it and no atheists – that’s “fair” and “balanced” fox style.

Priya Lynn
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

That should have said “a debate on atheism”, not atheists.

Ben in Oakland
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

“I don’t think it is unreasonable to believe that after five years of marriage equality, Iowans would be immune to warnings of impending doom – which is really all the anti-gay side has to offer.”

Well, that and pure, old-fashioned gays are gonna get your cihldren homophobia.

Bruno
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

What scares me is that if this does come up for a vote, say as late as 2013, the voters would STILL take away marriage equality rights. Iowa is full of evangelical wingnuts who’ll dutifully flock to the polls in force to smack down gays and lesbians. It would make prop 8 look like a relatively small slap in comparison.

Timothy (TRiG)
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

I remember seeing that debate on YouTube, Priya. It was quite amusing in a “I can’t believe anything this dumb and blatantly partisan was actually broadcast by a serious news channel” way.

TRiG.

Priya Lynn
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Trig, I thought it was really outrageous. Whenever someone says Fox is a balanced news organization I think about this and just shake my head.

John
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Priya,

I suppose you could always find of way of having something precariously teatering on it’s Right side and call that balanced.

Priya Lynn
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

Right John, LOL.

Robert in San Diego
December 27th, 2009 | LINK

1. I’m sorry Sol but I too must disagree with you. Equal fundamental rights is not something that the vast majority who hate you should vote on.

2. “Even supposing that the 2010 election could be argued to be a referendum of the people calling for discrimination, a constitutional amendment requires that two back to back legislatures vote affirmatively before presenting the issue to the voters (oh, wise Iowa).”….
Wow and to think that states use to look up to California. For a state to pass a constitutional amendment with only 52% of the vote (majority) yet we can’t pass a budget or anything else without 2/3 of the legislator. My science is my state stupid.

Dan
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

@ Tim Kincaid:

“Both House Speaker Pat Murphy and Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal have stated that they will not be entertaining such a debate.”

- I believe they said that with respect to the 2009 legislative session. As far as I know, they haven’t promised to bottle this up in 2010. You may recall that even in MA, there was a vote on a constitutional amendment. So I think this is more of a story than you are allowing. Also, Iowans will vote this year (as they do every 10 years) on whether to require a constitutional convention. While a convention need not deal with marriage and while it would be up to the delegates to decide that, I would bet that the right wing will use the convention vote as a vehicle to promote their campaign.

@ Sol:

Thanks for opposing fascism! I expect to see you up in Albany, NY demanding that marriage equality be sent to a popular vote. Don’t let a few senators take the issue away from the people! That’s what Mussolini did!

andrew
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

Tim, I can appreciate wanting to have somewhere to hear in news media what is actually being said in conservative circles, but I’d like to point a few things out:
1) conservatives dominate the airwaves — i’m not sure how much more “balance” our culture can handle.
2) while liberals like msnbc cast information in a light they favor, they still dabble in fact. fox news often doesn’t find this altogether necessary.
3) we should be chastising our news media to get out of the business of conflating fact and editorials in the first place. that’s not to say that we should accept a vapid, irresponsible “all sides deserve equal merit” argument (where every issue – like ‘should gays be killed’ (umm… thanks, BBC!) – deserve time devoted to pro and con arguments), but rather that we have far too much of the fox news ilk, and far too little of the old fashioned journalism that a free society needs. now *that* is something to advocate !

Bearchewtoy75
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

So, the next time NOM’s Maggie Srivistav, or whatever her married name is that she refuses to use, whines about not letting Iowa vote about marriage, we can tell her that in order for that to happen, I Iowa has to remove most of the democrats, they have to vote on it twice, and THEN the people can vote on it!

Yeah…. I’m thinking not gonna happen.

Bearchewtoy75
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

Sol Invictus,

Did you not read the article?

No one is saying that the people of Iowa do not have the right to vote on their constitution. However, in that state, it is not as simple as just putting it up to a popular vote.

Richard Rush
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

Bearchewtow75 wrote, “So, the next time NOM’s Maggie Srivistav [sic], or whatever her married name is that she refuses to use, whines about not letting Iowa vote about marriage . . .”

Isn’t Maggie redefining traditional marriage by not using her husband’s surname, Srivastav? Shouldn’t people have the right to vote on that practice?

Cole
December 28th, 2009 | LINK

Contact Iowa congressmen NOW and encourage them block any vote of gay couples’ marriages. Keep sending email, letters, faxes, and phone calls.

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