All three networks on Friday continued to highlight the controversy over Chick-fil-A, but Good Morning America's Steve Osunsami adopted the most confrontational tone, insisting that "for years," Chick-fil-A has "donated millions" to "fight against gay Americans." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Fill-in host Laura Spencer simplified the debate: "How the battle over gay marriage is now all about a chicken sandwich."
Osunsami promoted Friday's counter protest by homosexuals who are outraged over Chick-fil-A founder Dan Cathy's public support for traditional marriage. Of the proposed "kiss-in," he promised, "At Chick-fil-A restaurants today, customers will get an eyeful, along with their nuggets and waffle fries."
Later, Osunsami described the conflict this way: "For years, the highly successful business has donated millions to groups that fight against gay Americans and gay marriage."
Cathy has donated millions to "fight" against "gays"? Would members of the media describe liberals who donate to the ACLU as supporting a group that "fights against Christian Americans?"
Osunsami did highlight the "record sales" that grew out of Wednesday's "eat at Chick-fil-A" day. NBC's Nightly News on Thursday described it as a "huge success." Thursday's World News on ABC and the CBS Evening News skipped the debate.
Friday's Today and CBS This Morning both highlighted the upcoming "kiss-in." CBS's Gayle King admitted, "I've never had a Chick-fil-A sandwich." She added that the food "could" be good, at least according to "the rumor that I heard."
All three networks continued to downplay the First Amendment angle. (Mayors in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco have threatened government force to stop Chick-fil-A from moving into their cities.) Instead, journalists have kept the focus strictly on gay marriage.
A transcript of the August 3 GMA segment can be found below:
7:00 a.m. EDT
LARA SPENCER: Showdown, right now in one of America's most popular fast food restaurants. As gay activists fight back at Chick-fil-A planning their own kiss in. How the battle over gay marriage is now all about a chicken sandwich.
7:12 a.m. EDT
JOSH ELLIOTT: It will be round two today in the nationwide protests surrounding Chick-Fil-A, one of the nation's biggest fast food chains. People packed the chains, showing support for the company president's anti-gay marriage stance. Well now, gay activists are planning rallies of their own at the restaurants. And ABC’s Steve Osunsami has more from Atlanta.
STEVE OSUNAMI: At Chick-Fil-A restaurants today, customers will get an eyeful, along with their nuggets and waffle fries. Thousands of scorned gay customers who’ve been boycotting the restaurant are promising to hold a national same-sex kiss day at Chick-Fil-A’s across the country. Nearly 100,000 friends and family have been invited online.
CARLY MCGHEE: It’s a way to show Chick-Fil-A and the rest of the country that our love is just as good as heterosexual love.
OSUNAMI: For years, the highly successful business has donated millions to groups that fight against gay Americans and gay marriage. But the company heated up some deep-fried debate three weeks ago, when President Dan Cathy elaborated.
DAN CATHY: I think we're inviting God's judgment on our nation, when we shake our fist at him and say, we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.
OSUNAMI: This week, Chick-Fil-A supporters showed their force. Crowding restaurants from coast-to-coast.
UNKNOWN PERSON #1: I just happen to agree with his beliefs. Because I do believe in marriage is between a man and a woman.
OSUNAMI: In a statement, Chick-Fil-A said it was an unprecedented day with record sales.
UNKNOWN PERSON #2: The controversy, it's unfortunate.
OSUNAMI: In Augusta, Georgia, one restaurant even ran out of food.
UNKNOWN PERSON #3: We're really glad to have an opportunity to show our support for a business that is not afraid to say what they believe.
OSUNAMI: How this culture clash will affect Chick-Fil-A's bottom line remains to be seen. But it's a mighty business. The company made a profit of nearly half a billion dollars last year. Chick-fil-a executives have been trying to calm this fire down, saying that today should be just another day.