Confusion has already begun about what to do if Referendum 71 makes it to the ballot. KREM 2 (Spokane) is reporting that “If the referendum passes it would take away the domestic partnership registry established two years ago and more than a hundred rights given to same sex couples,” which is not only factually incorrect (only the rights covered by the expansion bill of 2009 are in danger of being overturned), it is also exceptionally poor phrasing and may well lead to people unintentionally voting for the opposite of what they intend.
This kind of confusion (even on the part of the media) is what I feared might happen. As if our Washington State referendum process is not confusing enough, when you add to that the lies that Referendum 71 petition signature gatherers have been telling, and the poor phrasing some people (including many bloggers) have used when promoting our own Decline to Sign [the petition for] Referendum 71 campaign, you have a formula for disaster. We need to start getting the word out now that if Ref 71 makes it to the ballot we need to vote YES to keep the DP expansion (the “Everything but Marriage” Bill), even before we know whether the referendum makes it to the ballot, or we are going to run short on time.
Experience shows that correcting wrong ideas and misinformation takes longer and more effort than giving people correct information in the first place.
Those of us whose rights are on the line don’t have the luxury of taking a “wait and see” approach to whether or not Referendum 71 makes it to the ballot.
I called them at 3:30 this afternoon, to tell them that not only did they have a typo (”mairied” instead of “married”), but the closing paragraph , “If the referendum passes it would take away the domestic partnership registry established two years ago and more than a hundred rights given to same sex couples,” is not only misleading (if Ref 71 makes it to the ballot, we will need to vote YES to keep the recent DP expansion), it is factually incorrect; Referendum 71 would not take away the domestic partnership registry or take away any of the DP rights we have prior to the “Everything but Marriage” bill being enacted into law.
They updated the original post at 04:47 PM PDT [on Monday, July 27, 2009] and corrected the typo in the word “marriage” but did NOT correct the facts.
Is it too much to ask that a news program actually fact-check things before they post them to their web site?
This piece of irresponsible reporting is particularly annoying in that the facts were reported correctly at the Spokane Spokesman Review and in the story that KREM’s sister station, KING 5, Seattle posted on their website.
Is it just lazy reporting or is there something else going on here? Given that they also either locked or deleted the comments section for the post–where readers also had corrected the facts–one has to wonder.
[Cross-posted from Susan's Soapbox. Edited and consolidated from original form]