NPR and gay marriage

NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos reviewed all of NPR’s shows in the eight days after Joe Biden said he was “comfortable” with gay marriage and found “the coverage did indeed skew in favor of giving air time to the side that favors marriage equality.”

On its main news shows over that time, NPR aired 38 reports about the gay marriage debate. Every story included at least an acknowledgement of both sides of the issue, but a tally found 34 interviews with supporters of gay marriage versus 22 opposed and five uncommitted. The supporters, in other words, had a 3-2 edge over the opponents. Fourteen academics endorsed neither side, but provided analysis of polls and political trends.

The ombudsman says those numbers numbers “suggest to me that in the future more opposition voices have to be brought into the coverage of an issue on which Americans are divided. The same would not be true for an issue about which there is no longer much debate: abolishing slavery, for example.”

* Eight days of same-sex marriage coverage (