Apparently, ABC News can't tell the difference between opponents of gay marriage and hateful, anti-American bigots. As "World News" reporter Terry Moran highlighted the Supreme Court's decision Friday to consider the legality of same-sex marriage, video of Westboro Baptist Church picketers appeared on screen to visually represent "opponents."
Members of the small and extreme Westboro Baptist Church have disrupted the funerals of American military personal who were killed defending this country. According to Westboro Pastor Fred Phelps, U.S. soldiers are dying because of America's support for homosexuality. On June 13, 2005, the AP quoted him as saying, "Our attitude toward what's happening with the war is the Lord is punishing this evil nation for abandoning all moral imperatives that are worth a dime."
Yet, Moran announced, "For opponents of gay marriage, the very fabric of our society is at stake." During this voiceover, video showed Westboro protesters with signs reading "God hates America." (Other signs that the group is known for include "God hates fags" and "Pray for more dead soldiers.") After that footage rolled, Moran's piece immediately cut to a Family Research Council (FRC) representative.
Are the journalists at ABC News incapable of discerning the difference between a principled opposition to gay marriage and a fringe group like Westboro Baptist Church?
Providing the only opposition in the segment, Peter Sprigg, a FRC fellow, asserted, "The fundamental reason why marriage is treated as a public institution, rather than a purely private relationship, is because it serves the interest of society and serves the interest of children."
Having Sprigg immediately follow video of Westboro members undercuts the calm, reasoned argument he made.
It's also worth pointing out that the FRC suffered a hate crime in August. A pro-gay rights gunman stormed the organization's headquarters in Washington and shot a security guard.
The rest of Moran's segment featured Edie Windsor, an elderly gay woman who is at the center of opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.
Other than the nine seconds given to the FRC, the story was totally one-sided.
On Saturday, Moran followed-up on the story for "Good Morning America." He insisted that, if the Supreme Court's ruling were to come ten years from now, the decision could be lopsided for gay marriage. But, currently he said, "We're right at the hinge of history on this issue."
"Hinge of history" has become a kind of liberal code for Moran. On November 6, he offered a fawning piece on Barack Obama and extolled the president: "...on the last day of his last campaign, it is impossible not to think back to what seemed a hinge of history."
Are the journalists at ABC News incapable of discerning the difference between a principled opposition to gay marriage and a fringe group like Westboro Baptist Church? After all, Westboro members, what few there are, claim they hate the American military and the country itself. This is hardly conservative thought, no matter what ABC and Terry Moran might believe.
A version of this op-ed originally appeared on the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog.
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. You can find him on Twitter @ScottJW.