What 'Media Shutout'? Gay Rights vs. Other Civil Rights Isn't a Thing

Colorlines' Brentin Mock presents his own research to challenge the claim by The Root's Keli Goff that voting-rights and affirmative action coverage suffered because of journalists' focus on marriage equality. 

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Anti-gay-marriage New York Hispanic Clergy Organization members outside the Supreme Court on March 26 (Karen Bleier/Getty)

Colorlines' Brentin Mock presents his own research to challenge the claim by The Root's Keli Goff that voting-rights and affirmative action coverage suffered because of journalists' focus on marriage equality. 

... Keli Goff, a columnist for The Root, argued that voting rights and affirmative action was suffering a "media shutout" at the expense of marriage equality. The premise itself lacks validity: March Madness also won a lot of media coverage this month, but it would be silly to argue that it came at the expense of, say, immigration reform. But the charge not coincidentally revives the manufactured debate of black versus gay rights, a divide that never existed until anti-gay organizations actively sought to create it. Still, even if you accept Goff's false premise, the argument doesn't stand up to inspection ...

Goff sought to prove her observation by doing a Google search on "Gay marriage before the Supreme Court" and then comparing the results to those she got by searching "Voting Rights before the Supreme Court" and "Affirmative action before the Supreme Court."

This is an imperfect gauge. Google searches aren't uniform. Results vary based on computer and browser settings, cookies, and proximity to events related to the keyword. It also pulls up duplicate hits and non-media webpages that happen to mention the keywords ...

None of these analyses are perfect. There's hundreds of metrics for evaluating coverage and interest. But what we can conclude is that there has definitely been no media blackout caused by DOMA. There's little productive value in drumming up contrived tensions between marriage equality advocates and people of color. Each of these cases, at root, is about 14th amendment equal protection under the law. The "media shutout" on civil rights is not a thing.

Read Brentin Mock's entire piece at Colorlines.

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