Media Coverage of 'Anti-Gay' Arizona Bill Slammed as 'Deceitful,' 'Distorted'
Soon after Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed S.B. 1062 -- a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would have given business people the right to cite religious beliefs when refusing service to homosexuals -- gays and liberals began cheering and celebrating the decision, which received extensive coverage in the three network morning shows.
However, many people who disagreed with the veto vented their frustration online by calling the network news coverage of the issue “a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation” since the word “gay” was not mentioned in the legislation, among other reasons.
“Thanks to widespread journalistic deceit, leftist lies and carefully loaded phrasing, the 'debate' was consumed by dishonesty, ignorance and misrepresentations of proposed changes to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” the staff at the Twitchy.com website stated. “'Jim Crow' and 'anti-gay' were the phrases of the week on many news programs” in “deceitful” and “distorted” ways.
@Cameron_Gray agreed, stating: “Regardless how you felt about S.B. 1062, we should have never known how the media felt about it.” However, “we knew exactly” what the Associated Press and MSNBC thought about the bill.
“Indeed,” the website staff stated. “According to many headlines, anti-gay Gov. Jan Brewer was considering anti-gay legislation by anti-gay politicians plotting nefarious anti-gay anti-gayness.”
Intentionally deceitful headlines like these would be an embarrassment if their authors had any shame. pic.twitter.com/qhtmqkd72e— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) February 27, 2014
“Fortunately,” stated @BenHardee, “considering their employer, 'shame' isn't a prerequisite for a job.”
One link drew readers to an article by Rich Lowry in which the National Review editor hammered the media:
For the New York Times editorial board, the bill was “A License to Discriminate.” It constituted “the legalizing of anti-gay prejudice,” according to a piece in U.S. News & World Report. It was, Salon scoffed, “cartoonishly bigoted.”
Writing in The Week, Elizabeth Stoker said the logic of the bill “threatens to twist Christianity into a vile, exclusionary isolating thing.” But it was beyond the power of Arizona lawmakers to redefine Christianity.
“There you have it,” Lowry added. “If a few lines were changed in Arizona’s religious freedom law, the state would practically become Bosnia-Herzegovina circa 1992. Rarely had so much hinged on a couple of dozen words of an otherwise wholly innocuous statute.”
A post by @nbcnightlynews declared: “Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Vetoes Controversial Anti-Gay Legislation.”
@forewit summed up the situation succinctly: “Headlines make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Talking Points Memo Livewire actually brought some news to the discussion when it quoted Sen. John McCain as praising Brewer's veto of the “anti-gay bill.” The Arizona Republican found a silver lining in the dark cloud when he stated: "I hope that we can now move on from this controversy.”
@McCormackJohn fired some heavy ammunition when he stated: “Law profs at top schools (Harvard, Stanford, etc.): AZ religious freedom bill has been 'egregiously misrepresented.'”
"SB 1062 does not say businesses can discriminate for religious reasons,” @AndrewCQuinn noted. “It says business people can assert a claim” regarding such a situation.
The Twitchy staff also stated they had hoped for “a fair, informed debate. But instead, thousands of column inches were devoted to demonizing Americans concerned about religious freedom as “anti-gay” bigots. A mob composed of ignorant parrots and willfully deceitful tools skewed the debate, aided by media malfeasance.”
Whatever flaws might have existed in the bill, they noted, all most Americans heard was “it’s bad because shut up, homophobe.”
Everything about how media handled discussion of AZ RFRA bill scares me beyond words. It's absolutely scandalous. Deeply oppressive.— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 27, 2014
Hemmingway then posted that “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts rarely deal with gay anything. "What percentage of 'news' stories right now are using phrase 'anti-gay?'”
@palmacelahomel angrily asked: "How many of these MORONS even read SB 1062? Instead, media perception becomes reality.”
In addition, @Headlines4You called the media coverage “a disgrace” and said it constituted an “amazing malfeasance on the part of the presstitutes in the media.”
As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell gloated over the governor's veto on Thursday, while on Wednesday, ESPN's Tony Kornheiser compared the Arizona bill to the despicable acts carried out by the Nazis.
Finally, if the governor thought her veto would earn her more support from homosexuals, she's greatly mistaken.
While most of the messages discussing Brewer contain extremely vulgar language, a post by @sallykohn summarized her feelings well:
Just because Jan Brewer did a good thing and vetoed SB 1062 doesn't mean she's not still a vicious anti-gay, anti-immigrant extremist.
At least the governor has the backing of former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who surprisingly tweeted his support of her veto.