Thursday, June 27, 2013

How Omaha TV covered yesterday's Supreme Court gay marriage decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA

WOWT did a nice job of pegging the Supreme Court decisions to the practical reasons gay people want to marry, ticked off by reporter Jacki Ochoa, using yesterday's rally in Memorial Park as a backdrop. Mallorie Maddox's introduction clearly and accurately explained the ruling, which was a credit to whoever wrote the copy, although she probably shouldn't have marred her introduction with editorializing ("People are reacting — and sometimes overreacting — to a major decision from the Supreme Court...") although AKSARBENT would not take issue with the opinion she expressed.
     Channel 6 never lost sight of the reason for the DOMA lawsuit by Edie Windsor — an inheritance tax bill approaching $400,000 handed her by a federal government that refused to recognize her legal marriage (in Canada) to a woman. Good work by WOWT, which generously allows embedding of its stories by bloggers, but doesn't offer them options to size the video to fit their layout. You can see the video at WOWT's website here.
     KETV's coverage, (at 5) by Natalie Glucklich was just OK (unlike her terrifically compelling piece about the abuse and vindication of a gay couple in CB who got a $147,000 ruling against a property management company that literally terrorized them, then evicted them under false pretenses) but her report was way better than her piece's truly idiotic introduction by co-anchors Adrian Whitsett and Melissa Fry: "For the first time in our nation's history, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on gay marriage."
     Huh? Prop 8 is/was about five years old and DOMA was passed in 1996. And generally, the Supreme Court doesn't strike down laws more than once. We've no idea what Whitsett and Fry were trying to say, but they should probably try harder.

     Glucklich's reportage included gay people in Memorial Park singing the national anthem a capella (wince) but had a good quote from Ann Boyle about tax injustice meted out to LGBTs (another reason we love Boyle). Glucklich checked with a constitutional law professor about the status of gay couples in Nebraska married in Iowa. He wasn't able to offer much clarity because such things are up to states, which define marriage differently. See KETV's 5 pm coverage here.
George Thompson: "We oughta do what the constitution says,
more than what personal opinion or one particular group does."
     At 6, KETV's introduction by Todd Andrews and Melissa Fry was different and made sense.
     Glucklich's report also was different and better, including cogent comments from Shelly Kiel of Citizens for Equal Protection as well as an interview with the gay owners of Council Bluffs' Dixie Quicks retaurant, who, Glucklich significantly revealed, moved their business from Omaha, NE because of the gay-friendlier climate of Iowa.
     Also interviewed at Dixie Quicks was one George Thompson, who tried to disguise his heterosexual supremacist tendencies by cloaking them in what he probably hoped would sound like a fair-minded appeal to the Constitution, evidently ignorant of the fact (he probably watches Fox) that the DOMA ruling was decided on the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
     The injudicious Mr. Thompson clearly enjoys eating at a gay-owned and operated restaurant but thinks neither the owners nor any other gay couples should be allowed to marry because evidently gay couples getting stuck with enormous inheritance tax bills that straight couples escape is just fine by Mr. Thompson.
     He should count among his blessings that Iowa's sexual orientation antibias laws cover uppity heteros like himself, as well as gays; this prevents the owners of Dixie Quicks from telling him to take his bigoted ass to dine elsewhere, not that they would ever be rude enough to do such a thing.

     KMTV's report at 10 pm took an approach similar to WOWT's: a nuts-and-bolts approach to the economic and legal benefits of marriage that were/are denied to gay couples. Just-the-facts Kim Foley did a conscientious job of illustrating those benefits by profiling yet another gay couple who left Omaha for Council Bluffs to get them, after one of the couple lost his job.
     (Earth to antigay Jean Stothert, who insisted last year that Omaha didn't need an antibias ordinance: the 21st Century is on the line, irked, and increasingly unpersuaded by your preposterous, delusional, self-serving bullshit.)
     Foley's report was preceded by a good background explanation by anchor Craig Negrelli, although he left out the reason that the Supreme Court sent the Prop 8 case back to California — the plaintiffs who challenged the reversal of Prop 8 by the appeals court did not have standing to do so, so the merit of the case wasn't addressed by the court.
     Fox42: Who really cares how they cover anything? They don't even have a Saturday newscast, the freaking cheapskates.

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