Is the media still playing catch-up on last night’s huge gay rights victories?

Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz did a quick video (posted below) about last night’s huge gay marriage victories (and huge gay victories overall) and got into a discussion about whether the media has missed the ball, or as Howie puts it, “is still playing catch up,” on the gay marriage issue.

I do think the media hasn’t yet fully appreciated just how huge a victory last night was for the gay community in particular, and more generally, just how big a win the 2012 elections were for the left. I mean, legalizing pot, twice. A host of GOP nutjobs going down in flames, including “legitimate rape” Akin, “God intends rape-babies” Mourdock, Allen West and Joe Walsh. And not just gay marriage victories in four states, but a slew of new openly- gay and bi members of the House and Senate.

To some degree, the media was probably caught surprise last night – I know I was.  And, to some extent, they’re still focusing on the the big story of the evening, the President’s re-election.  But something else happened last night.  Far too many Republicans, and conservative ideas, lost.  And far too many – more than we expected – liberal ones won.  And the question is “why?”

The Republicans spent a hell of a lot of money to win this election, buttressed by a heck of a lot of lies, a bad economy, and a President who didn’t always seem as if his heart was truly in the race.  And they still lost.

If anything, once again, gay rights is helping the President rather than hurting him.  Reportedly, 5% of the electorate was gay last night, and 77% voted for Obama (which is high, historically).  And it was no secret that Team Obama realized earlier this year that “gay” was more of an asset to their re-elect than a liability.  But I’m talking about something else.  The fact that gay rights did so well last night, in addition to other liberal issues and candidates, and the fact that conservatives did so poorly (save in the House, which was redistricted into a win by the Republicans), feeds the perception that Obama’s win wasn’t just a fluke, wasn’t just a squeaker, and wasn’t only due to Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Christie.  Something else, something bigger, seems to have been going on.

I don’t know what it is, yet. But that’s the story I’d like to see the media explore.

Here’s Howie and Lauren:

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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31 Responses to “Is the media still playing catch-up on last night’s huge gay rights victories?”

  1. hollywoodstein says:

    Now that I’m sober, I feel better about what I wanted to say to Howard Kurtz. Thank you.

  2. hollywoodstein says:

    Sorry, I was black out drunk when I posted this post, I wanted to also add, F8CK YOU MUTHERFOCKR HOWIE KEURTZ AND THE HORS E YOU ROD EIN ON. F(CK YOIU, F*CKR. FOR YOUR BACKWARD WAYS. FU.

  3. hollywoodstein says:

    what my black out bourbon drunk posts get a dozen likes and this one I don’t write off as performance art gets nothing. I think I need to drink more…

  4. nowaRINO says:

    I keep telling people the President is really Gerald Ford.

  5. nowaRINO says:

    The media is often to swayed by the conservative industrial complex in Washington. Think Tanks and well funded lobbyists make the media think the flyover parts of the country are conservative or religious nuts. Just because you are often at a book signing or cocktail party with Tony Perkins does not mean he represents more than 20% of the whole country.

  6. Carl says:

    The ONLY time the media cares about gay rights is when they can talk at length about how “the heartland” and “average Americans” have “moral values” and how gays and liberals tried but just will never be good enough. Or if it’s time to talk about how gays cost Democrats or help Republicans. They couldn’t talk about us enough in 2004.

    An election year where being pro-gay helped? The Beltway bozos don’t know how to comprehend. We’re supposed to be a fringe group, an albatross, a freak show. Nothing else.

  7. Carl says:

    They will want to say Obama had no mandate, and he must compromise. And it’s all Sandy. That is their spin.


    yes.  Usually CNN asks it too, but not finding there, am going to ask someone, but NYT has the figure folks are quoting

  9. he wasn’t up yet, not for another two years I believe

  10. Thom says:

    Can someone please tell me if Sam Arora won or lost in Maryland?  I can’t seem to find any results for MD legislative races.

  11. gaylib says:

    Do you have a link for a source of the 5% figure of gays in the electorate? Did they ask it in exit polls? 

  12. rmthunter says:

    Simple answer:  history is a series of reactions.  We’ve now had two generations of right-wingers demonizing gays, and the public is over it.  Add in that we are a lot more visible now than we were in the 1970s, more people know they know someone gay, and they’ve figured out that we’re not demons.

    As for the press coverage:  in spite of what my ego would like, gay rights are not foremost on most people’s agendas, especially now, with the Republicans dead set on tanking the economy.  We’re just not front-page news in most places.

  13. FunMe says:

    We are definitely NOT “center right”.

  14. FunMe says:

    The “media” said it was a tight race. LOL

  15. FunMe says:

    The media is behind the changing times. At least they are beginning to acknowledge the importance of the Latino vote and how that was a factor on why Romney lost. (A lot of them reported on this last night). Hey even Texas could become blue!

    Minorities (women, latinos, gays, etc.) will be an importance force in all future elections as we become the majority. They better get with the program or they are done! Finished!

  16. FunMe says:

    Why would they be playing “catch up” if they are liberal? ;-)

  17. hollywoodstein says:

    For those of us debating the lesser of two evils thing, yes the two parties are often the face of the same horrible machine.  However, in the narrow space between these two poles of evil there is still a continuum of evil that needs to be addressed. 
    Anti gay bigotry is among America’s original sins, including slavery, genocide, and environmental depravity.  I suppose the economic incentive was the tribal imperative to breed more so the other tribe doesn’t take our stuff, which became reified in religion.  Nowadays Christians desperately need to insist it is a choice so they can say it is a sin because that is what their dusty book written by patriarchal goat herders says, otherwise they would have to countenance the fact that their invisible sky god man bear pig made us this way.
    Culturally, in many ways Hollyweird has led the way, including Archie Bunker, The Jeffersons, Will and Grace, Ellen, Glee, etcetcetera.   And there are the brave souls who outed themselves  so we could see truth.  And the old bigots who have had the courtesy to fade away.  And the new generation with their gay friends who are quick to say, That is not ok.  And each and every one of us who is willing to call out and shame the anti-gay m*therf*ckers whether it is in a locker room, a country club golf game, or an otherwise polite, business or cocktail conversation.
    LGBT issues are the biggest prize between the two poles in the current politics of the possible.  They are one of the signature issues of our time.  We are living through a tipping point. 
    But don’t happy dance too much.  Sure Obama is a black man and unemployment is over 8%, but his re-election margin in a few important states still was onion skin thin.  Mitt Romney would be President today if he was not such a horrible, horrible, horrible candidate. Mourdock and Akin were defeated, but despite their monstrosity they had to ruin their own chances.  And so on. 
    The demographics are trending on our side, the ground is shifting, but the fact the election was even close means there are still years of education and persuasion and mocking and shaming to be done.  Let’s keep up the good work. 

    Despite what well paid knuckleheads like Larry Sabato have been well paid for years to repeat constantly, America IS NOT a center right nation.  There are more of us than there are of them.  Our sides undervotes.  We need to fix that.  We need to emphasize access to registration, online registration, early voting options, weekend voting options, voting options, verifiable voting options, and if we do we’ll win.
    It’s the other side that needs to surpress and cheat to win. Because their ideas are rejected by the majority of Americans. Their efforts are a crime and a scandal and should be treated as such.
    And do not, do not, do not let Howie Kurtz off so easily.  He is one of the worst Beltway bandits.  Like O’Reilly, he smells the shift in the wind, and wants to play both sides now.  You respect their gay hating opinion, fuck you HowieKurtz.  Sorry, I don’t care what this enabler is saying, fire his sorry ass and put in a real human being.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Normally in these elections, there’s one race or one theme that dominates the media. Most cycles, it’s been how minority GOP ideas are taking over the electorate. In 2010, it was all about the Tea Baggers. In 2008, it was the first African-American president. 2006, the Dem resurgence — but nothing at all about what they planned to accomplish. 2004, referendum on the war, Kerry’s ‘swiftboating.’

    This time, there’s was so much going on, so many implications, there just isn’t one coherent or singular narrative other than “progressives and liberals won for a change” — which is something the current media has no clue how to digest. They’re pre-loaded to talk about “unexpected gains by conservatives and Tea Party candidates” — when the opposite happened.

    And I think they thought it would work without question due to all the billionaires’ money. Hell, I thought that’s how it was going to go. Yet another horribly disappointing election cycle. Make no mistake: I do not like or trust or support Obama because he’s given every past indication of running as a progressive but governing as a center-right neo-liberal. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Obama and the Dems were on the path to losing until they embraced progressive Democratic ideals.

    But people turned out to vote. So many crazy Tea Baggers were defeated, including every single one of the GOP “women rape easy” coalition. So many of the people I’ve wanted to see in Congress won their races — Baldwin, Grayson, Sanders, and Warren, just to name a few. So many progressive initiatives won, including for the first time ever, marriage equality measures. Union-busting laws went down. The anti-democratic Michigan emergency manager law, repealed. MJ being legalized for recreational (?!) use in two states.

    As I’ve commented elsewhere, now that the election is over and so many Dems did well, right now is the time to tell them, “You like this? You like winning? You love the fact so many people stood in lines for hours just to cast a ballot for you because you promised you’d stand for them and for what the people want? Keep your promises, and it’ll happen again. And again. Step away from your progressive promises — equivocate on women’s rights or gay rights or union rights, fail to raise taxes on the rich, start an unwarranted war, cut Medicare or Social Security — do those things and your voters, your political base, will NOT turn out for you two years from now. It’s as simple as that. Think not? Just remember the lessons of 2010.”

  19. caphillprof says:

    John, you seem to be pulling your punches on your election coverage as if you fear reasonable speculation as to this electoral change would somehow foreclose your continued participation as a sometime media pundit. 

    I’m sure you recognize the demographic changes occuring in the nation and the failure of the Republican Party to make any peace with the 21st century be it female, gay, Hispanic, African American, Asian or anything other than angry white men.

  20. karmanot says:

     Absolutely! Respect the right of bigots to their hateful opinions? Hell no, Kick them in the teeth, give them a weedgie and take their lunch money.

  21. karmanot says:

     But I’m afraid that “Will and Grace” are so past that they are considered kitsch with their manic stereotypes and urban snobbishness by the current generation. Much the way “Boys in the Band” seemed hilarious to those of my generation.

  22. ronbo says:

    Just right of the Nixon Administration, Obama is no Liberal.  Ask the people who will likely work until they are 70 if they think Obama is a Liberal.  Let’s celebrate victories that are real.  Obama is a trojan-horse Republican who is going to push the “grand bargin” the 1% has asked of him.

  23. Indigo says:

    The “media,” as you call it, propagandize only accepted topics. Equal rights for the gay community is not exactly on their horizon although you can be very sure that the acceptability of “Will and Grace” reruns along with Aunt Tom & the Piss-Elegants sit-coms will soon soften those blinders. Coming to a channel on your tuner soon, acceptable sissy stereotypes.

  24. hollywoodstein says:

    Sorry, late to the party, but I wanted to give a shout out to team Obama.  Given the considerable forces arrayed against them they threaded the needle on a very close run thing. Well played.

  25. hollywoodstein says:

    Thank god, she’s got all that hate money, might as well spend it.

  26. Don’t hold your breath too long, but it is a good question. The conventional media could at least note their “surprise” and go from there, but then it is, almost by definition, hopelessly conventional and affected by a herd instinct — yet another kingdom of fear. At some point one of these show biz kids has to overcome the endemic anxiety and make the first “move” or comment. But utter one  unrehearsed/unaffected comment and even fleeting ridicule from fellow conformist “commentators” may cause a sudden (if transitory) plunge in the offenders’s Q Score and if ratings follow the downward path, it’s back to Palookaville.

  27. HereinDC says:

    Speaking of gay..

    I just watched Hannirty…

    Ann Coulter got a facelift

    She got her nose fixed and Botox and some other stuff done

  28. mirror says:

    A lot of what I’m seeing from the MSM is that they are working overtime to down play Obama’s victory.  The rest they are going to ignore until society totally passes them by.  They believe the rich people and believe in them.

  29. mf_roe says:

    A large part of Americans are moral cowards, they would rather give lip service to a comfortable lie than speak a thorny truth. Homosexuality is a biological variable governed by factors out of the control of  anyone, it cannot be punished as it isn’t a crime, it must be accepted as the result of life’s constant variability.  But the spineless are fearful of opposing the bigots and give the haters more influence than their numbers justify.  A huge influence in this is the fear of questioning religious beliefs, thankfully, more and more Americans are beginning to reject the self-serving self-proclaimed charlatans that comprise far too much of the faith community in this country.

  30. Brandon says:

    Why does Kurtz “respect the opinion” of a lot of people opposed to same sex marriage? Does he “respect the opinion” of those who would deny African Americans or Jews equal rights? He’s behind the times here and contributes to allowing anti-equality people solace.

  31. jomicur says:

    They’re used to treating us as a marginal/fringe part of America (when they’re not actually covering us as a freak show.  And old habits die hard.  It’s one more indication just how conservative the purportedly “liberal” media really are.

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