I have not written much about the Marriage Equality bill, despite having written and podcasted a lot about marriage. My views on the topic are like many other people’s conflicted. I do not like to see people discriminated against. I hate “hate speech” (and much “Christian” commentary on this issue seems sadly willing to flit in this direction). But there seems to me something about the nature of marriage which is lost if it is redefined as merely a social and sexual relationship.
However, if anything was likely to tip the balance of my thinking away from the current bill it was this:
This (from the front page of the NZ Herald online this morning) is as far from unbiased reporting as you can get!
Take first the most prominent feature, the photo. It features two unidentified, but good-looking young women, of the sort used to sell cars, booze and other commercial products that need something more than reason to push people (especially, but not only, men) into buying.
The women being used here to sell “gay marriage” are unidentified because, apart from representing the Herald’s preferred image of “gay marriage”, they seem to have nothing to do with the story.
Now take the second most prominent feature, the headline: “Gay marriage: Shock poll”. The word “shock” is chosen to suggest that something dangerous or otherwise undesirable has happened, and that it was a surprise. In what way is it a “shock” that there is an indication that people may be changing their minds on this issue? It’s been discussed quite a bit, featured in print and TV quite a bit… why is movement in public perception a “shock”? Quite simply because the movement is in the opposite direction to the one the media (almost without exception in my experience) has been suggesting we go. The early coverage, when the bill was announced, featured a “conversation” between another good-looking (though probably away from TV lights and makeup not so young TV presenter and my colleague Laurie Guy. Well-known personality versus unknown scholar, experienced TV presenter versus rank amateur… somebody wants to influence us! I wonder in which direction?
I don’t take kindly to people in power telling me what to do and think!
That’s why my schooling was such a mess, but that’s another story… this “debate” has been stacked by the media from the start. They have pushed a clear and consistent message: “Gay marriage is good”. Now they are “shocked” to find people might be thinking differently. So shocked that the only explanation can be: “scaremongering by religious groups”.
Come on NZ media moguls! I don’t know what I think about “marriage equality” but I do know what I think about people with power using that power to push their agenda. And the stink of dying journalistic ethics is dreadful!