CBS Trumpets 'Long Night of Celebrating' Over Prop 8 Ruling; Spotlights Same-Sex Couple's Ring Ceremony

CBS This Morning led its Thursday broadcast with overwhelmingly slanted coverage on the Supreme Court's pro-same-sex "marriage" rulings. Ben Tracy played up the "long night of celebrating in West Hollywood", after the Court paved the way for the termination of California's Proposition 8. Tracy also prominently featured a homosexual couple's informal ring ceremony, who "after being blocked by Proposition 8...will now get re-married in their home state."

The morning newscast loaded its reporting with six soundbites of the liberal plaintiffs and lawyers in the case, along with their supporters, and only included two clips from conservatives decrying the decisions. [audio available here; video below the jump]

Anchor Charlie Rose previewed's Tracy's report by trumpeting how 'the Supreme Court's rulings sends [same-sex "marriage"] supporters into the streets". Rose added moments later that "the Supreme Court's landmark decision on same-sex marriages has supporters looking ahead". Co-anchor Norah O'Donnell also gushed, "We watched history in the making yesterday with the Supreme Court decisions."

The CBS correspondent wasted little time before giving his "long night of celebrating" line, and pointed out that "it's been four years since gay marriage was banned in California, and now that those marriages are about to become legal again, many people here are planning weddings." He continued by playing four straight soundbites of the plaintiffs, lawyers, and crowds in California celebrating their victory at the Supreme Court.

David Boies and Ted Olson, Proposition 8 Plaintiff Attorneys; & Ben Tracy, CBS News Correspondent; Screen Cap From 27 June 2013 Edition of CBS This Morning | NewsBusters.orgTracy's bias became even more clear when he asked attorney Ted Olson, who argued for same-sex "marriage" at the Court, "This was a big win, but not a complete win. So what is next?" The journalist then played his sole clip from a traditional marriage supporter, National Organization for Marriage chairman John Eastman. But he followed this with his profile of the impromptu ring ceremony between two homosexual men.

O'Donnell gave a news brief on the Court's decision against DOMA after the correspondent's report, which featured two clips from each side of the debate. But this was smidgen of balance after Tracy's five-to-one soundbite slant.

CBS's Big Three competitors, ABC and NBC, also gave lopsided coverage of the Supreme Court rulings. Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts hyped the "wonderful pictures...of jubilation" of crowds celebrating the decisions. On Today, NBC correspondent Gabe Gutierrez acclaimed, "In one of the country's oldest and largest gay neighborhoods, vindication. It was the day San Francisco's Castro District had been waiting for."

The full transcript of Ben Tracy's report and Norah O'Donnell's news brief from Thursday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: We watched history in the making yesterday with the Supreme Court decisions.

CHARLIE ROSE: And lots of conversations last night about it-

O'DONNELL: Yeah-

ROSE: The Supreme Court's landmark decision on same-sex marriages has supporters looking ahead.

O'DONNELL: They want to take their fight to more states. In California, same-sex marriages could start again in just weeks.

Ben Tracy is in West Hollywood. Ben, good morning.

[CBS News Graphic: "Historic Rulings: California To Resume Same-Sex Marriages"]

BEN TRACY: Charlie and Norah, good morning. It was a long night of celebrating here in West Hollywood. You know, it's been four years since gay marriage was banned in California, and now that those marriages are about to become legal again, many people here are planning weddings.

PAUL KATAMI, PROPOSITION 8 PLAINTIFF: We are gay; we are American; and we will not be treated like second-class citizens. (crowds cheers and applauds)

TRACY (voice-over): Thousands packed the streets of West Hollywood and San Francisco. (clip of crowd singing "Chapel of Love")

KRIS PERRY, PROPOSITION 8 PLAINTIFF: Love prevailed today. (crowds cheers and applauds)

TRACY: At a rally in West Hollywood, the plaintiffs and the legal team from the Prop 8 case took a victory lap, vowing to bring marriage equality to all 50 states within five years.

TRACY (on-camera): This was a big win, but not a complete win. So what is next?

TED OLSON, PROPOSITION 8 PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY: It is a stepping stone. So, we're going to move on, and we're not going to stop until this is all the way across the country

TRACY (voice-over): With same-sex marriage now legal or pending in 13 states and the District of Columbia, opponents now plan to wage a state-by-state fight, trying to maintain the 37 states that currently do not allow same-sex marriages.

JOHN EASTMAN, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: It's important that children have an opportunity to be raised by their mother and father. We are now redefining marriage to make one of those individuals optional and – and irrelevant.

TRACY: In California, Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris want same-sex marriages to resume immediately. But there is a required 25-day period for Supreme Court decisions to be finalized. That means same-sex marriages would start again in California in late July.

L.A. couple Steve Soucy and Tom Becktold got married in New York two years ago, after being blocked by Proposition 8, and will now get re-married in their home state.

STEVE SOUCY, PLANNING CALIFORNIA WEDDING: We decided to wear our wedding rings on our right hands until – until marriage was legal in California. So, in a way – I mean, it seems like a good time to actually put these-

TOM BECKTOLD, PLANNING CALIFORNIA WEDDING: I've got to flip – flip-

SOUCY: Put these rings on our – on our proper hand.

BECKTOLD: Yeah.

TRACY (live): With same-sex marriage now resuming here in California, 30 percent of the population of the U.S. will live in a state that allows same-sex marriage. The estimates here are that 37,000 gay couples will get married. And Charlie and Norah, that's just in the next three years.

O'DONNELL: Ben Tracy, thank you. And the Court also struck down key parts of DOMA – that is, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The justices ruled that married same-sex couples are entitled to federal benefits. The 84-year-old woman who challenged the federal law, Edith Windsor, is claiming victory.

EDIE WINDSOR, DOMA PLAINTIFF (from press conference): To all of the gay people and their supporters who have cheered me on, thank you, thank you, thank you. Because of today's supreme court ruling, the federal government can longer discriminate against the marriages of gay and lesbian Americans.

O'DONNELL: Some Republicans on Capitol Hill are blasting the rulings. That include a Missouri congresswoman, who once led her own state's effort to keep marriage between a man and a woman.

REP. VICKY HARTZLER, (R), MISSOURI (from press conference): This is a dangerous precedent, which strips power away from Congress, with respect to defining national marriage policy.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center