CNN Boosts 'One Gay Man's Fight for Same-Sex Marriage'

News networks should remain objective, especially when approaching a hot-button issue of the present day, but CNN is clearly supporting the cause of same-sex marriage as evidenced by Sunday night's slander and its heavily slanted coverage of President Obama's "historic" gay marriage announcement last week -- and now its newest story that aired Tuesday afternoon.

When a man pushing for same-sex marriage made a viral video of himself and his deceased partner, CNN went above and beyond journalistic standards to boost his "very, very powerful message." Anchor Suzanne Malveaux showed over two minutes of the video and followed that up with a soft interview while more clips of the video played in the background.

Malveaux plugged for the video. "Two million people who have watched so far and a lot of people have learned from your relationship, you and Tom," she told her guest Shane Bitney Crone. Crone made the video to tell the story of him and his partner Tom who had died last year.

Shane was clear that his message was to, in part, "inspire" his audience to "view gay marriage differently." The fact that the report came on the heels of President Obama's announcement in favor of gay marriage last week – where CNN hosted an overwhelming majority of pro-gay guests – might say a lot about CNN's cheerleading for same-sex marriage.

Explaining to Malveaux why he made the video, Crone told her "And I just really had to ask myself, you know, well, Shane, you can dwell on this, you can feel sorry for yourself, or maybe you can make the most of this tragic situation and you can do your part to maybe inspire people to protect themselves so this won't happen to them, or maybe inspire people to view gay people differently, view gay marriage differently. And almost, like humanize the issue."

And Malveaux made sure to tee up Crone to shill for the legalization of same-sex marriage. "Would it have been different, do you think, if you had been married to your partner, to Tom? You would have had those kinds of rights that you were denied, is that right?" she asked him about the rights to plan his partner's funeral.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on May 15 on Newsroom at 12:43 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

SUZANNE MALVEAUX: A very personal and poignant video of one gay man's fight for same-sex marriage. It is going viral. More than 2 million people have watched this video on YouTube alone. Shane Bitney Crone posted it just a few days ago on the first anniversary of his partner's death. We would like to play a little bit for you.

(Video Clip)

(Music Playing)

ON SCREEN TEXT: What if tragedy struck the one you loved? Would you be prepared?

I'm Shane. And this is my story.

This is me. I grew up in a small town in Montana.

This is Tom. He grew up in a small town in Indiana.

Tom and I have been committed to one another for almost six years.

We started a business, bought a home, and traveled the world together.

This is JB. We adopted him together.

Five years ago, we decided to come out to our families.

My family was happy I'd found the love of my life.

My nieces love Uncle Tom.

Unfortunately though, Tom's family wasn't as supportive.

His parents were outraged.

When Tom returned to Indiana to visit his parents for Christmas, his father threatened him with a gun and physically attacked him. His mother told him homosexuality is a sin, and blamed me for making him gay.

(End Video Clip)

(...)

MALVEAUX: Shane, what – why did you make this video? What did you want people to understand?

SHANE BITNEY CRONE, made video about his gay partner: Well, originally putting the video together was therapeutic for me. And I was dreading the anniversary of his passing. And I just really had to ask myself, you know, well, Shane, you can dwell on this, you can feel sorry for yourself, or maybe you can make the most of this tragic situation and you can do your part to maybe inspire people to protect themselves so this won't happen to them, or maybe inspire people to view gay people differently, view gay marriage differently. And almost, like humanize the issue.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

CRONE: And that was my goal.

MALVEAUX: Would it have been different, do you think, if you had been married to your partner, to Tom? You would have had those kinds of rights that you were denied, is that right?

CRONE: Right. Exactly. Had we been able to marry, I would have been able to plan his funeral. I would be able to go to the hospital and get the medical records to find out, you know, what happened exactly. You know, so there's so many things that I could have done or would be able to do had we been able to marry.

(...)

MALVEAUX: What kind of response have you gotten from people? Have they been mostly supportive? Have people learned from your story? Have you gotten criticism?

CRONE: The response has been unimaginable. I never anticipated that this video would resonate with people from literally all over the world. And I've received hundreds and hundreds of e-mails and tweets from people thanking me for sharing this story. And it's actually shocking how many people out there have gone through very similar experiences. And it's – you know, it's still shocking to read some of these e-mails. And it's also comforting at the same time that I have the support and the love from people all over. And it's – you know, not just support and love for me, but support and love for Tom, because really this is our story. And Tom's touching lives even though he's no longer here. And that's a pretty incredible thing.

MALVEAUX: That's a very, very powerful message. And have you given up on Tom's parents? Have you reached out to the family? Has there been any reconciliation? Do you believe there is still hope?

CRONE: You know, I don't think that I will talk to his parents. And I hope at some point that I'll still be able to maybe communicate with his niece and nephew. You know, I only hope. But, you know, you never know what's going to happen. I've forgiven them for everything that's happened and I had to really just tell myself that I need to just kind of move on with my life. And, you know, so there's really, at this point, no need to talk to his parents.

MALVEAUX: All right. Well, Shane, we really appreciate your story. I know a lot of people have been paying attention. Two million people who have watched so far and a lot of people have learned from your relationship, you and Tom.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014