MSNBC's Brewer Adopts Anti-Gay Rhetoric

Anchor Contessa Brewer's introduction of a segment about Maine's repeal of a law allowing same-sex marriage is right out of the right-wing playbook.

I have frequently noted that, in addition to the three hours a day in which MSNBC is hosted by a former Republican congressman, the cable channel's daytime news reporters often adopt conservative framing.  Here's an example, from anchor Contessa Brewer's introduction of a segment about Maine's repeal of a law allowing same-sex marriage:

Contessa Brewer: "And today you can add Maine to a long line of states, about 30 so far, where voters have chosen to define marriage traditionally: The union between one man and one woman."

"Define marriage traditionally" is straight out of the anti-gay movement's talking points.  They work the phrase (and variations of it) into everything they say about the subject.  

And it isn't accurate or neutral language.

It is telling that the construction "Define marriage traditionally" is a relatively new one.  If you go back a decade, you'll be hard-pressed to find many uses of it (or variations of it) in the media.  A Nexis search for "marriage w/5 tradition! w/5 defin!" returns only 317 hits from prior to the past 10 years.

No, the phrase is new -- cooked-up by anti-gay activists, because they know "deny gay couples the right to marry" doesn't poll as well.  So why is an MSNBC anchor adopting it?

It's not like it's accurate.  It wasn't too long ago, after all, when laws in America defined marriage as the union of one white man and one white woman, or of one black man and one black woman.  That was the "traditional" definition of marriage in America, until people saw the light.  Now they want you to believe marriage has always been defined the same way, so they can claim tradition is on their side.  It isn't true -- but MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer parrots their rhetoric

If Brewer had introduced the segment by saying that Maine voted to "discriminate against gays," you can be sure the Right would be apoplectic -- and other reporters would point to it as evidence that MSNBC is a left-wing channel.

But that isn't what happened.  What actually happened was that Brewer adopted anti-gay talking points as though they were neutral descriptions.

And Howard Kurtz, Campbell Brown, Ruth Marcus, David Zurawick and the rest of the "MSNBC-is-the-liberal-Fox" crowd won't say a word about it.

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