Friday, July 21, 2006

Reality check on homosexual marriage vote

An article in the Herald-Times proudly proclaims that the House of Representatives "rejected" a Constitutional Amendment to ban homosexual marriage.

Time for a reality check. The vote was 236-187, with 236 members voting for the amendment. 55.8% of those voting supported the amendment. That does not sound like a "rejection" to me.

Here's what really happened. The amendment failed to get the necessary 2/3 majority to pass the House, falling short of the 282 votes needed to pass. The coverage of the vote should have reflected this reality by stating that the amendment "failed to pass" or "fell short of the supermajority needed to pass". While this language is more clumsy than stating that the House "rejected" the amendment, it is much closer to the truth. After all, accurately reporting the news is supposed to be the objective of the news media, correct?

I have been very tough on the Herald-Times over the years. In fairness to the folks at 1900 South Walnut, the article was from the Associated Press wire, not something written by a reporter at the H-T. Nonetheless, the H-T is responsible for what it chooses to print, and chose to print a story with a misleading headline and introductory paragraph. The Herald-Times showed poor judgment in choosing to run this specific article, and compounded that with the headline they chose for the article.