This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. I was an early skeptic of the war, back when that was a somewhat lonely place to be. Journalists who engaged in more cheerleading than skepticism toward that war have been spending the week issuing mea culpas for their failure to consider unintended consequences. In fact, so many people have been writing their “I was wrong” pieces that the contrarian in me wonders whether I should change my mind and now support the war.
Anyway, some of their regrets overstate how bad their coverage was — many media outlets provided at least some balance and gave skeptics a chance to say their piece.
But if we’re going to talk about journalistic failures, the pre-Iraq War coverage was Woodward and Bernstein compared to how journalists have handled the debates about whether to change marriage law to include same-sex couples.
There has been extremely little coverage of opponents and no skepticism present in the coverage. There has been very little that amounts to meaningful coverage beyond cheerleading. There has been no exploration of short- or long-term consequences — particularly those that might be unintended — to changing marriage law. And opponents have been derided with utter contempt on the very pages and programs that claim they’re devoted to news and not opinion.
Perhaps in 10 years we’ll see some mea culpas.
But here are two stories (admittedly, yes, out of the eleventy billion that have been published on this matter) that cover skeptics and their arguments. Who knew such a thing was even possible?
The first comes from the New York Times and it does what should have been done years ago and repeatedly since then — mentions the people and arguments in support of retaining marriage as a heterosexual institution. Yes, there are lots of qualifiers in the piece but it manages to mention some of the actual arguments — imagine that! — of traditional marriage supporters by looking at a group of young scholars working on the topic. For example: