Another Persistent Error in Reporting on Chick-fil-a

I suppose when you read a lot of news reports about one story, you begin to notice details. I know I have in the whole Chick-fil-a imbroglio. There is one particular error in reporting that I keep seeing over and over. I have seen it in The New York Times, The Associated Press, and countless others. The error goes something like this:

Dan Cathy recently expressed support for traditional marriage in an interview with the Baptist Press. His controversial remarks were not received well by those who support gay marriage. In a later interview, Cathy said that Americans are “inviting God’s judgment” in their attempts to redefine marriage.

This report is based on a chronological error. Dan Cathy did in fact express support for the biblical definition of the family in the Baptist Press interview. That interview touched off this latest controversy. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t said another word about it since that interview. The quote about “God’s judgment” comes from an interview that Cathy gave a month earlier with a local radio host in Atlanta—an interview that almost no one paid attention to at the time. Gay marriage wasn’t mentioned in either interview, and the remark about “God’s judgment” was more of an aside.

Why is this significant? Report after report makes it sound like Dan Cathy expressed his support for traditional marriage and then later doubled-down on that support with a reference to “God’s judgment.” It gives the impression that Cathy was spoiling for a fight on this issue. It makes it look as if after beginning the controversy, he amped it up a notch. But that is not at all what has happened. Cathy has been silent since the backlash began. If anything, the company has tried to deescalate the controversy, but this particular error obscures that fact.

Why are major media outlets propagating this inaccuracy? The error is probably accidental. Perhaps it continues to go unnoticed because it feeds into a narrative that reporters want to believe. The only problem is that it isn’t true.

7 Responses to Another Persistent Error in Reporting on Chick-fil-a

  1. A. B. Caneday July 31, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Denny, I’ve noticed these persistent errors too. Thanks for highlighting them and being persistent to point them out.

    Truth and truthfulness seem utterly lost to MSM journalists.

  2. Ryan July 31, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    For those that think Ross Douthat was wrong in his column to basically say the fight is on for culture, I would ask you this. Why can we get not a drop of media ink for a woman dying during an abortion at Planned Parenthood? Why does the media simply gloss right over Planned Parenthood supporting genercide? Why does the media provide not even an ounce of effort to cover a press conference of respected black pastors denouncing Obama and gay marriage, but we can get a national media firestorm over something that was never even said with the Chick-fil-a story?

    The jig is up everyone. The media is happy to serve the interests of a certain sexual ethic and political point of view. Period.

    • Paul Abella August 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      Ryan – by the way, where is your last name?!!??

      re: the planned parenthood death – it’s not a national story. It shouldn’t be one. It’s one person that died during a medical procedure. That happens all the time. YOU’RE looking for it to be a national story because you’re showing at least the same amount of bias that you contend others have.

      Here in the Chicago suburbs, where it happened, it was definitely news, was in both major papers and the suburban rags as well. Don’t worry, we know about it. And since my mom lives 2 blocks away from the clinic where it happened – trust me, I saw the marchers and the picket carriers doing absolutely no good and taking police resources away from the rest of the town that could have definitely used those 3 or 4 extra squad cars.

  3. Bob Lewis July 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    So much dust in the air these day (Acts 22:23) via MSM while entities within government advance their agenda at home and abroad.

  4. Nathan Cesal July 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    For me the incorrect chronology doesn’t add that much. I draw the same conclusion given the set of statements Cathy has made and the organizations Chick-fil-A has supported –they are a conservative organization that wants to force everyone in the country to adhere to their beliefs. They’ll hire you as long as you make them money –they’ll sell you something as long as your money is green, but won’t support a family unless it fits what they deem as appropriate. So, it boils down to taking what they can from gay people, but not giving back.

    How can we call God’s judgment on us for allowing gay marriage, but not for allowing people to worship false gods? We actually celebrate and fight to protect every American’s right to break the first and greatest commandment. Should you be shocked when people actually want to use that freedom and choose a family model that doesn’t fit the standard of your form of Christianity? What’s the point of having the freedom if one doesn’t get to use it?

  5. Bob Allen August 1, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    It appears that he was using that kind of language in certain settings until it blew up into controversy. Speaking to a group meeting at a church in Cary, N.C., June 21, he threw this line in during a 60-minute lecture that otherwise focused on Christian values in the workplace.

    “It’s very clear in Romans chapter 1, if we look at society today, we see all the twisted up kind of stuff that’s going on. Washington trying to redefine the definition of marriage and all the other kinds of things that we go—if you go upstream from that, in Romans chapter 1, you will see that because we have not acknowledged God and because we have not thanked God, that we have been left victim to the foolishness of our own thoughts, and as result, we are suffering the consequences of a society and culture who has not acknowledged God or not thanked God—he’s left us to a deprived mind. It’s tragic and we live in a culture of that today.””

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  1. Thoughts on Chick-Fil-A | Crux Christi Salus Mea - August 3, 2012

    […] record sales yesterday, in my opinion, has little to do with gay marriage.  If you take note of what Dan Cathy actually said, instead of relying on skewed media reports, you would notice that his words were remarkably […]

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