Thursday, November 6, 2008

Department of Propaganda

As the election drew near, and now, after its close, there has been a proliferation of political news. Often getting my news from the Yahoo! homepage, there's something I've noticed. Some of the stories are traditional Associated Press news, with its mild left-leaning bias (calling pro-lifers "abortion opponents" etc.), but many of the stories are flat-out commentary. Now, Yahoo! may have never claimed that its featured stories were news stories, but I feel much better when opinion pieces are clearly relegated to opinion pages, and not mixed in with the traditional news. I also might be less disturbed if I had read a single column from the conservative perspective during this period.

Take, for example, these quotes from a featured story by John Cloud on Yahoo:

"And then there was California. Gay strategists working for marriage equality in this election cycle had focused most of their attention on that state. Losing there dims hopes that shimmered brightly just a few weeks ago - hopes that in an Obama America, straight people would be willing to let gay people have the basic right to equality in their personal relationships. It appears not."

"In Florida, where the law requires constitutional amendments to win by 60%, a marriage amendment passed with disturbing ease, 62.1% to 37.9%."
Apparently it is "disturbing" that people would vote to deny homosexuals a "basic right to equality." The problem here is that equality presumes that things are equal. But there is little equivalence between recognizing same-sex marriage, and recognizing traditional marriage. One is based on fairy tale romanticism, the other is based on both tradition and on practical concerns.

In fact, I don't even believe that I have a "basic right" to have my marriage recognized. And that's really the key. The government doesn't recognize my marriage because it's my right, the government recognizes my marriage because pretty much every American thinks my marriage is valid (more or less). So then, that's the major problem with recognizing same-sex marriage. Most people don't really view the unions as valid, so if the government recognizes them, then the government imposes this view on the people, which is akin to establishment of religion.

See the difference there? The government imposes nothing (or very little) when it recognizes traditional marriage, because most Americans already recognize such marriages, but the government imposes a great deal when it legally recognizes marriages that are not recognized by most Americans.

If the government stopped recognizing marriage as an institution altogether I might be upset, and I might want to change it, but I don't think I could argue that it was my "basic right."

But you won't find that argument in the mainstream media. Yahoo! isn't going to slide that kind of opinion piece in with the regular news, so they shouldn't be throwing in the liberal propaganda they do run. Of course we can't expect much from these companies. Google and Apple did contribute money to fight Prop 8.

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