Nets Continue Push Against 'Very Controversial' Arizona Bill That Could 'Legalize Discrimination'

All three network morning shows on Tuesday continued the push against an Arizona bill [SB 1062] that aims to protect the religious freedom of business owners who oppose gay marriage. According to CBS This Morning co-host Charlie Rose, "Hundreds protested at the state capitol last night. They say the bill legalizes discrimination."

Today's Savannah Guthrie hyped, "Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Journalist Natalie Morales muttered, "Really big decision, very controversial." None of the networks featured voices in support of the legislation. 

NBC's graphic derided the "controversial anti-gay bill." Kelly O'Donnell reminded, "Both Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, took to social media tweeting, "I hope Governor Brewer will veto SB 1062." 

The best that O'Donnell could do is to explain that Republicans said "their intention was to provide religious freedom protection to businesses by permitting them to refuse service to gays..." 

ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning both only offered news briefs. Despite the, GMA news reader Josh Elliott still managed to highlight that "three Republican lawmakers who voted for the bill are urging the governor to veto it." 

Although the networks found the Arizona bill "controversial," they showed no interest in a comment by Eric Holder. According to the New York Times

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Monday injected the Obama administration into the emotional and politicized debate over the future of state same-sex marriage bans, declaring in an interview that state attorneys general are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory.

ABC, NBC and CBS did not report on this development. 

On Saturday, World News host David Muir promoted the "growing outrage" over the legislation. 

A transcript of the February 25 Today segment is below: 


7:00AM tease

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Mounting pressure. From John McCain to Apple, even concern from Super Bowl organizers, a growing chorus calling on Arizona's governor to veto a bill that would let businesses turn away gay customers. Is her decision near? 

7:06AM

GUTHRIE: Now we've got the other headlines of the morning, including a controversial bill in Arizona. Big decision for the governor there. 

NATALIE MORALES: Really big decision, very controversial. The business community is joining Arizona lawmakers this morning in their opposition to this bill. Now, it would allow business owners, based on their religious beliefs, to deny service to gays and lesbians. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell's in Washington with the very latest on this. Kelly, good morning. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Controversial Anti-Gay Bill; Business Join Lawmakers in Opposition]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Natalie. So a wave of protest and pressure is building today on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, from the Republican establishment and the business community, to veto this bill that is widely criticized as anti-gay. Both Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, took to social media tweeting, "I hope Governor Brewer will veto SB 1062." 

Also urging a veto, business leaders from American Airlines, Apple, and Arizona's Super Bowl host committee for next year's big game. Now, that group said the measure would, quote, "Deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential." Now, this bill was originally passed by Republican state lawmakers who said that their intention was to provide religious freedom protection to businesses by permitting them to refuse service to gays, for example, if they believe that that would violate their own religious freedoms. 

Now, Governor Brewer was here in D.C., she's returning home, and says she will hear from citizens before making her decision. The deadline is this weekend if she plans to block this new law. Natalie. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org