Study shows increasing support for gay marriage among media outlets, including Fox News

Major news outlets – even Fox News – are showing increased support for gay marriage, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The results show that stories considered supportive of same-sex marriage outshone stories opposing it by roughly 5-to-1.

The study examined stories about marriage equality and classified them as supportive or opposing if a story included statements on one position that outnumbered the other position by at least 2-to-1. Stories that did not meet that ratio were defined as neutral.

MSNBC’s stories were 64 percent pro-equality, 30 percent neutral and 6 percent opposed. Similarly, CNN produced 39 percent pro-equality, 57 percent neutral and 4 percent opposed. Fox News, known for its conservative bent, was surprisingly more “fair and balanced” than other networks, with 29 percent pro, 63 percent neutral, and 8 percent opposed.

Print journalism, however, had higher levels of neutral reporting. Seventy percent of the Wall Street Journal’s coverage was neutral; 67 percent of USA Today’s coverage was neutral.

Online media organizations were somewhat more blatant about their positions: 62 percent of the Huffington Post’s content was for legalization of same-sex marriage. That number is similar to LGBT outlets’ (including Metro Weekly) percentage of 64.

The study is released as the National Center For Transgender Equality argues that Fox News’s coverage of the transgender community includes derogatory and harmful misinformation.

The organization cites several instances of Fox’s coverage, including Fox & Friend’s Brian Kilmeade joking that Chaz Bono’s knee is the only part of his body that hasn’t been operated on, as well as host Bill O’Reilly asking a guest if allowing a 5-year-old child to live as the opposite sex could be considered child abuse. The group also criticized a Fox News radio report for quoting a man with some very unenlightened thoughts on the transgender community.

“Fox hosts and contributors push damaging myths about transgender Americans that do real harm to real people,” Jeff Krehely, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, wrote in a statement to Equality Matters. “Millions of people watch Fox News. When it gives a platform to transphobic bigotry, it legitimizes these damaging views. Transgender Americans deserve dignity and respect in our country’s media, not trivialization, mockery, and attacks.”

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