Photo: Gay rights protesters gathered outside the Victory Life Centre to make their views known. (ABC News: Claire Krohl)
By Spencer D Gear
How did the news media report on the ‘Rally to Preserve Marriage’ at the church which Margaret Court pastors in Perth, Victory Life Centre, on 24 April 2012?
This is what one of the speakers, Bill Muehlenberg, stated in his article, ‘Shouting Down the Opposition’. He stated:
The mainstream media was of course intolerant as well, refusing to offer balanced coverage. They did come out to video the protestors. Only a few dozen showed up, but the MSM focused on them and their loud shouting, and refused to have anything to do with what was happening inside the venue.
So if you check out and rely upon only the MSM today (see one example I link to below), you would not even know what occurred inside. All the focus was on the noisy militants. There will be plenty of shots on the television news tonight about the tolerance brigade seeking to drown out the meeting, but no coverage at all about what actually transpired inside.
And this is news coverage? This is professional journalism and news reporting? It is like covering a football match and only reporting on one team, with a complete blanket ban of coverage on the other team. But that is a poor analogy, since it implies two equal teams.
At the base of Bill Muehlenberg’s article, he gave the link to the ABC News (Australia) report on the rally, ‘Gay rights protesters rally outside Court’s church’. I took the Christian, Bill Muehlenberg, at his word and found these news items online to examine their coverage:
- ‘Gay rights protesters rally outside Court’s church’, Yahoo! 7 News, 25 April 2012. This is the identical story to ABCOnline.
- ‘Gay rights protesters rally outside Court’s church’, Efficient Farming, 25 April 2012. Again the exact story from ABCOnline repeated here.
- police.com.au provided a link to the ABCOnline story.
The West Australian newspaper provided a slightly different story but with the same slant – only on the protesters who were demonstrating outside the meeting, ‘Gay marriage sides clash at rally’, The West Australian, 25 April 2012.
Courtesy: The West Australian
This is the email reply I received from one of The West Australian editors:
I have consulted with the reporter who wrote the article. She informs me that the press were not invited into the church. She said she “was barred from entering the church by security staff, who would not let me past the barriers to speak to anyone, so it would have been rather difficult to report on the meeting inside. Also tried to get in contact with Margaret Court, but she did not return my calls.”
I hope this addresses your query.
I have copied below an article from ABC online, which covered the story in a similar way to our reporter.
It sure did clarify my understanding. It gave me another side to the story.
Bill Muehlenberg was complaining about the intolerant, imbalanced view in the mainstream media, giving a link to the ABC news item reporting on this event that only gave coverage of the protesters. According to this news editor from The West Australian, that is the only version that was possible. The journalist had no alternative but to tell about the 70 homosexual protesters outside Victory Life Centre because journalists were banned from entering the church and reporting on the Rally.
This causes me to conclude on this occasion that one Christian gave an uninformed, slanted version of the way things are reported in the mass media. However, I need to observe that any journalist could have interviewed a number of people entering the rally – and they didn’t. Bill Muehlenberg informed me via email that he walked past the mass media journalists and cameras without being interviewed. However, this assumes that reporters knew who Bill was and could identify him for interview.
By the way, this one editor from The West Australian was the only letter of response I received from all of the other media mentioned above. All of these received an email from me.
This is not my opinion about all mass media coverage, but an example of what happened on one occasion that was misreported by a Christian (Bill Muehlenberg).
Courtesy Salt Shakers (Christian ministry)
Copyright © 2011 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 1 March 2017.