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Anti-Polygamy Bias in Media is Exposed by Three Tactics

Date: Mar 30, 2007
Word Count: 750 words
Cross-Reference: Media, anti-polygamy, bias

Any media’s use of these three tactics exposes their intentional anti-polygamy bias – it could even be called, propaganda.

Anti-polygamy bias is overwhelmingly evident throughout the media. Many outlets exclusively “report” about polygamy only when a negative angle is involved. Simultaneously, they prohibit any nationally established pro-polygamy perspective. 
Moreover, such anti-polygamy bias is even that much more exposed by the use of three commonly used tactics. 
The first commonly used anti-polygamy tactic is that of threading together anecdotal examples of crimes or force against women wherein some application of polygamy may have also occurred.  
Many media “gleefully” report the crimes and trials of Warren Jeffs or other Mormon polygamists from his rogue sect on the border of Utah and Arizona, the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” - aka, FLDS. Such media will also “indignantly” report about specific Muslim polygamists where sharia, burqas, and polygamy occur in both international or immigrant Islamic communities. And they will “excitedly” report about African tribal polygamists from specific cultures where women are sometimes treated cruelly and as property. 
In all such reports, anecdotal examples of forced, arranged, and underaged marriages, of female circumcision, or of unlimited control of women are exploited to imply that those issues represent all polygamy. 
But those anecdotes are not about polygamy – they are merely examples of crimes or cruel force against women. Most normal consenting-adult pro-polygamists around the entire country utterly oppose such things, just as much as anyone else.  
Clearly, polygamy cannot be defined by any of those examples of criminal actions or cruelties – just as monogamy cannot be defined by examples of monogamous criminals or wife-beaters. 
Yet, anti-polygamists intentionally thread together anecdotal examples of crimes or force against women in order to deliberately malign all forms of polygamy. When this occurs, that media outlet is clearly using this standard tactic of anti-polygamy bias. 
The second commonly used anti-polygamy tactic is that of not using appropriate adjectives to specify the form of polygamy – particularly, when reporting crimes or abuse. 
It is a fact that most Americans operate by either a Judeo-Christian or secular paradigm. Accordingly, just about anything from the Mormon, Muslim, or African tribal paradigms are usually dismissed summarily. It is also a fact that media reports which have connected polygamy to crimes or force against women have also overwhelmingly emerged from those three specific forms. This second fact further compounds Americans’ instant dismissal of polygamy when presented from those three forms. 
Hence, these two facts transform the intentional non-use of adjectives into a subtle but powerful anti-polygamy tactic. Instead of specifically identifying “Mormon polygamists,” “Muslim polygamists,” or “African tribal polygamists,” this tactic mis-identifies them vaguely as simply, “the polygamists.”  
But around the country, other forms - such as Christian polygamy and secular polygamy - exist too. Moreover, their mainstream and national consenting-adult polygamy activism was growing long before anti-polygamists began recently exploiting the rarely-internet-using Mormon, Muslim, or African tribal polygamists. 
Hiding all this, anti-polygamists intentionally remove the adjectives. When this occurs in any negative report, that media outlet is clearly using this standard tactic of anti-polygamy bias. 
The third commonly used anti-polygamy tactic is that of intentionally excluding the established national polygamy rights movement of consenting-adults from any mention in the report whatsoever. 
Although a commonly used tactic, not all media have employed it. Indeed, the organization is unmatched in its media recognition for national polygamy rights. Its founder, Mark Henkel, has made historic accomplishments. He first opened the way by credibly proving the scriptural morality of polygamy – as no one but an evangelical Christian could achieve. Henkel established the “love-not-force” model of acceptable polygamy in practice - for any form of polygamy around the country. And he originated the sound-bite, “’Polygamy rights’ is the next civil rights battle” - the win-win solution of limited government to finally end the marriage debate. 
For pro-polygamists of all forms, Henkel has become the established voice for the national movement for polygamy rights of consenting-adults. But because the organization’s arguments are so successfully persuasive, many other media deliberately seek to ignore him. 
Hence, such anti-polygamists intentionally exclude the national movement from their reports. When this occurs, that media outlet is clearly using this standard tactic of anti-polygamy bias. 
These three tactics have been repeatedly used for years. 
Ironically, many of the same media outlets using them will actually purport themselves as supposed protectors of free speech and reporters of facts. But their use of these anti-polygamy tactics demonstrates that such media are neither. 
Therefore, upon review of any media report about polygamy, any use of these three tactics exposes the media outlet’s intentional anti-polygamy bias.


Bibliographic URLs: 
[Reviewed for publication - Review Board.] 

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