CNN's 'Balanced' Coverage of Obama's Support for Gay Marriage: 5 Guests In Favor, 1 Opposed
It didn't take long after President Obama voiced his support for same-sex marriage for CNN to gauge the enthusiasm of those in favor of the move. After the news broke at 3 p.m Wednesday, the first three guests CNN interviewed were all openly-gay and supported Obama's decision. It took well over two hours for a guest to appear who opposed the decision.
And in the three hours of coverage following Obama's "historic" announcement, five of CNN's guests expressed their support for his decision. Only one, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, opposed it. And the three openly-gay guests were pampered with soft questions, like "What was your first reaction" and "Did you start to cry?"
In contrast, when Perkins appeared on The Situation Room at 5:35 p.m., anchor Wolf Blitzer challenged his position on homosexuality. "What's wrong with giving gay Americans the same rights as heterosexual Americans?" Blitzer demanded of Perkins. He asked Perkins if he thought people were born gay, and lectured him on the topic.
Blitzer was much, much more sympathetic to lesbian Democratic activist Hilary Rosen. "A lot of my gay friends were moved by what the President had to say," he told her. "So when you heard the President utter those few words, did you get rather emotional? Did you start to cry?" he asked. "Because I've been getting a lot of messages from friends out there saying they actually started to cry, they were that moved."
After the initial news broke of Obama's statement at 3 p.m., the first guest to appear – aside from CNN analysts and reporters – was Michael Cole-Schwartz of the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign. Then at 3:37 p.m. openly-gay columnist LZ Granderson came on the air. He compared the situation gay couples have faced to the struggles of the civil rights movement.
Then during The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer hosted Hilary Rosen and later on a supposedly-balanced panel of Democratic strategist Paul Begala and GOP strategist Alex Castellanos. Only, Castellanos expressed his admiration and support for Obama's decision.
"Well on this particular issue, I actually don't disagree with the President. I'm on the President's side on this one, and have been for quite a long time," he revealed. "I have to say I admire him [Obama] for standing up for something that he believes in today," he declared.
Blitzer declared it "a historic day. A lot of us will remember what the President of the United States did on this day." Democratic strategist Paul Begala followed by pointing to the camera and saying "Thank you, Mr. President."