Categorized | media coverage

Location of Protests a Key Part of Narrative

Posted on 26 November 2008 by admin

Mollie at GetReligion.org has posted about media coverage of Prop 8 and questions if the media has been effective in covering the complaints being made by the protesters at the Mormon temples and the response from Mormons and the Mormon church. She states:

When organizing a protest, the location is a key part of the narrative you’re trying to push. Reporters should include the reason why the location was picked. And when the target of a protest, you should have the right to defend yourselves.

The entire post and discussion is quite interesting.  If you do visit, please respect the civil discussion they are trying to have focusing only on the media coverage, not on the actual issue of Prop 8.  You can find the post here.  The comment I posted in response is below.

Mollie, thanks for your very interesting post. I do feel that it has taken a while for the media coverage to even start talking about the location narrative with the protesting being directed at Mormons. It’s interesting to look back at your last post about the “home invasion” ad to see how even the message here has evolved since just a few weeks ago.

By the way, I took the picture that you posted here. That’s my sign, with my friend holding it. This was taken *before* the election, when I was protesting in front of the Mormon temple daily to try to make people aware of the massive church influence in this initiative. Since I did not know how the Black community was going to vote at that time, I hope this rules out questions as to why I didn’t choose the backdrop of their churches for my protest (not that I have different feelings now, however).

The “home invasion” ad you previously discussed, likewise, was put out the day before the election (by an individual gay group, not affiliated with the official campaign). The message as to “why mormons” did not come through very well in the media, however, as the story about Mormon involvement had barely started to percolate.

I took my sign to the big rally in West Hollywood for the gay community the day after the election. I talked to a number of local reporters and asked if they were going to cover the Mormon angle. One said that I should have the leaders talk about it on stage, and while I had nothing to do with it, the main speaker basically declared war on Mormons for bankrolling the campaign. Even so, I found only one channel that made a mention of the Mormon angle.

The tide started to turn the next day at the Mormon temple protest, when the gay community took to the streets of west Los Angeles.

The Mormon church and members have done a remarkably good job of staying on questionably honest messages of puzzlement, that they “are unfairly singled out and were just one part of a large, broad based coalition” and “the church did not donate money” for the campaign. As someone on the opposing side, I found this to be infuriatingly effective as the Mormons were never really pinned down for a direct response to our accusations.

Regardless, the story of Mormon backing is slowly coming to the surface, with developments such as the California investigation underway. Despite talking among themselves (on message boards and such) with pride about how much money and manpower they provided before the campaign, the Mormons post election continue to circulate “fact sheets” as talking points that try to refute their influence.

On a side note, the site where Mormon donors are listed, MormonsFor8.com (mentioned in the “home invasion” post), is officially neutral on Prop 8. Before the election, Mormons were pointing to the tally of financial support from it with pride. Not anymore. The FAQ from the site says, “This is an information website. We suppose that whether it is “Pro-8” or “Anti-8” or neutral toward Proposition 8 depends on how the information is used.”

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