In one of those findings that makes right-wing heads explode, the Pew Research Center has found that the mainstream media are much more likely to report favorably on marriage equality than they are to report on it in a negative light. The study of news media found that stories were supportive of marriage equality 47% of the time, compared with just 9% of the time when they were against it. (Stories were neutral or mixed 44% of the time.)
Of course, the results aren’t evenly distributed. MSNBC was much more likely to be favorable (64% of stories) compared to Fox News (29% of stories). The Wall Street Journal, another Murdoch-owned outlet, was neutral or mixed in its coverage a full 70% of the time. Most of the 1,080 stories the survey looked at were reported around the time of the Supreme Court hearings on marriage equality last March.
Conservatives look at the results as confirmation of the liberal bias of the media. Of course, the bigger issue is that the media is just reflecting public opinion, which has turned dramatically in favor of marriage equality.
The study also looked at Twitter, that stew of vox populi, strong opinion and totally crazy rants. Surprisingly, tweets were less likely to be favorable than news stories. Of the 2.4 million tweets the study reviewed, only 31% were supportive, while 28% were negative. Most of the negative tweets came in the two weeks following the Supreme Court hearing. The message there: brace yourself for a 140-character backlash if the Supreme Court rules in any way that favors marriage equality.