Press watch | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Press watch

Posted By on Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 8:10 AM

I note today that the Associated Press, but not the Democrat-Gazette, mentioned that former President Bill Clinton urged people at Obama rallies in Pine Bluff and Jonesboro yesterday to vote AGAINST INITIATED ACT 1.

The proposal would ban private adoption and foster parenting by "cohabiting" unmarried couples. The act makes no reference to sexual orientation. It covers all sorts of couples. The AP, for reasons I don't comprehend, continues to follow the preferred formulation of the Family Council in emphasizing the act would ban adoption and foster parenting by gay couples. Straight couples, significantly, would be affected as well. The AP approach plays into the Family Council's homophobic theme by giving the impression only gay people would be affected.

The AP account this morning was beyond incomplete, however. It was wrong. It said Clinton spoke against "an Arkansas ballot proposal that would ban gays from being foster parents or adopting children." Even gay-hater Jerry Cox of the Family Council would concede the initiative does no such thing. Gay people would still be able to adopt and be foster parents. They would not be able to do so only if, at the time they applied to adopt or foster, they were "cohabiting." (Think of the sex policing the state is going to have to do to get into the question of what constitutes cohabitating, gay or straight variety.)

Simple, accurate, value-free suggestion for AP: describe the act by its ballot title. That is what voters see.

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