Things You Hear on NPR: Overturning Marriage Laws Something to Celebrate, but Voting Reforms ‘Controversial’

June 11, 2018

Here’s how NPR began its story today on the upholding of Ohio’s latest voting reform:

An ideologically split U.S. Supreme Court Monday upheld Ohio’s controversial “use-it-or-lose-it” voting law by a 5-to-4 margin.

Here are the corresponding openings of NPR’s top two stories (according to their own measures) about Obergefell, the 2015 Supreme Court decision that forced states to redefine marriage:


States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

When it’s illustrated with a picture like this above the fold, there’s no doubt how we’re meant to view this development:

NPR on Obergefell.jpg

(The other)

For an analysis of both the majority opinion and the dissents for the historic Supreme Court case, David Greene talks to NPR’s Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson.


And I have NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson in the studio with me as well. And, Carrie, you were just listening to Professor Primus talk about the dissenting opinion. You know, John Roberts says there might be something for people to celebrate, but there was also some extreme language in some of those dissents.


I’m not sure I can improve on Paul Mirengoff at Power Line:

The fact that, until very recently, marriage has universally been deemed to require an opposite sex component doesn’t mean that this component must be required forevermore. But a decent appreciation of democracy, human history, and the fallibility of the individual means that nine glorified lawyers shouldn’t be the ones who make the change. Nor should they be in a position where they might make it.

But regardless, at the very least these (homosexuality and voting reform in general) are both issues that split the country, and that split the court, five to four.  If anything, you would think that the one that more clearly upends deeper, more long-settled norms (marriage has been around a lot longer, and is a lot more important, than the right to vote) would be the one more readily described as “controversial”—but on the contrary, NPR tells us only the decision that favors conservative values is controversial.

It’s clear which side NPR is on.  It adds insult to injury when they hide behind weasel words and try to make out that they’re objective journalists reporting just the facts.

Update (June 11th, 2018):  A picture is worth a thousand words.  For an even clearer contrast, here’s the above-the-fold photo that NPR selected to illustrate today’s story about the voting-reform court case:

NPR on voting reform.jpg

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