USA Today Covers ‘Lonely Battle’ of Equality Opponents

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

USA Today quotes Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone linking “fatherlessness” to “incredibly high murder rates.”

They are moms and dads, authors and activists, a former police officer and a former single mother. They’re black and white and Hispanic. One’s a Roman Catholic archbishop, another an evangelical minister. Many have large families–including gay members.

Who is this rainbow coalition, described in the lead of USA Today‘s March 22 front-pager? They are, it turns out, opponents of same sex marriage, and the piece is part of what looks like a wavelet of media efforts to “put a human face” on that opposition. Theirs, readers are told, is “a lonely battle”: “Outspent and lately out-hustled by highly organized gay rights organizations, opponents have struggled to get their story out.”

That’s a curious premise, given that “their story” is the law of the land, and that’s why we’re talking about it in the first place. But the premise is never challenged, because the paper’s Richard Wolf doesn’t talk to anyone who would challenge it.

Instead, we get a Catholic bishop’s unrebutted claim that “fatherlessness” causes “youth violence, poverty, drugs, crime, gangs, school dropout and incredibly high murder rates,” and we’re asked to credit one woman’s claim that she “cares deeply about the well-being” of her gay friends and family, without actually hearing from any of them about how they feel about her calling their orientation a “vice” and worrying that government acceptance will “boost their numbers.”

Indeed, there are zero gay people included in the article, perhaps because they’d mess up the idea that those opposing their rights are following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, as one source suggests. 

About Janine Jackson

Program Director and Co-producer of CounterSpin
Janine Jackson is FAIR's program director and and producer/co-host of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. She contributes frequently to FAIR's magazine, Extra! and co-edited The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s (Westview Press). She has appeared on ABC's Nightline and CNN Headline News, among other outlets, and has testified to the Senate Communications Subcommittee on budget reauthorization for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her articles have appeared in various publications, including In These Times and the UAW’s Solidarity, and in books including Civil Rights Since 1787 (New York University Press) and Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (New World Library). Jackson is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and has an M.A. in sociology from the New School for Social Research.