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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Idiocy from Powerline

For some reason Powerline shows up as a news source when searching for news. Powerline is an opinion blog, not a news source. They aren't reporters.

I was searching google news for the roll call vote on the Federal Bachmann amendment and this piece of noise by the Best Meltdown Award Winner came up in my search.

June 07, 2006
More Agenda Journalism from the Associated Press

Here is how Associated Press reporter Laurie Kellman reported on today's Senate vote on the marriage amendment, in an article titled "Gay marriage ban fails by wide margin in Senate":

The Senate rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by a wide margin Wednesday, delivering a stinging defeat to President Bush and other Republicans who had hoped the issue would rally GOP voters for the November elections.

Rather than linking to the AP article, Hindrocket links a Star Tribune article on the topic by Brady Averill in the Washington Bureau.

If you read carefully, of course, you'll find that more Senators voted for the amendment than against it. Failure to achieve the super-majority needed to overcome a filibuster is not what is normally referred to as a "stinging defeat."

It is a stinging defeat when they were expecting a gain in the number of votes for the Amendment, since several new avowed supporters of the amendment (David Vitters in Louisiana, Dave Thune in South Dakota) were elected since the last vote on the issue.

Compare that characterization to the AP's coverage of Democratic Congressional candidate Francine Busby's defeat yesterday in California's 50th District. Busby, unlike advocates of the marriage amendment, received a minority of the votes cast. That must have been a really stinging defeat for Busby and the Democrats, right?

Wrong! Busby's defeat was a "stiff Democratic challenge," and Busby made a "close showing!" Not only that, but the winner, Republican Brian Bilbray, "won't have much time to savor his victory," since Busby will run against him in the fall.

One more thing: the AP says, of the vote on the marriage amendment, that the Republicans "had hoped the issue would rally GOP voters for the November elections," as though that hope were now dashed. But why? The idea, obviously, was to force Senators to take a position so that voters, who overwhelmingly oppose gay marriage, can vote against those who went the other way. The issue may rally social conservatives even more by virtue of the amendment's failing to overcome the liberals' filibuster than if it had passed.

In short, this is another example of a common phenomenon: journalists' reports on the events of the day often tell us more about the journalists' attitudes than about the real significance of the events.
Posted by John at 07:36 PM

Hindrocket does a good job parroting RNC talking points.

Coleman's statement quoted in Brady Averill's article was just nonsense:

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., voted to end the filibuster, saying the Senate should have a chance to vote on the merits of the amendment.

He argued that marriage is between one man and one woman, and that court judgments can't substitute judgments made in legislatures.

"Today we had the opportunity to protect states from activist judges who take it upon themselves to legislate from the bench, and unfortunately the process was not allowed to move forward," Coleman said. "This amendment would have put this issue back in the hands of the voters of each state."

Actually, since this amendment bans gay marriage at the federal level, it does not allow state voters to have a say in the matter. Is Norm Coleman saying gay couples should not have access to the courts? The amendment goes beyond banning gay marriages to also ban "legal equivalent", which invites court challenges and ultimately this makes it more likely the courts will decide this issue.