Kiss Off: Networks Spike Coverage of Chick-fil-A Kiss-in After Poor Turnout

August 7th, 2012 9:16 AM

The broadcast networks promoted gay activists’ protest of the fast food company Chick-fil-A, but when that protest fizzled, they did little to cover the failure.

ABC’s Steve Osunsami hyped the protests ahead of time, saying “nearly 100,000 friends and family have been invited online.” After the apparent lack of turnout at the kiss-in, however, the networks stopped reporting on the protest. Only ABC briefly mentioned the results of the kiss-in, after all three networks talked about the protests on the morning of Aug. 3.

Gay activists scheduled their National Same Sex Kiss-in Day that day as a protest against the pro-traditional marriage views of the firm’s founder and Chick-fil-A’s contributions to pro-family groups.

The only attention ABC gave to the kiss-in was a brief on the Aug. 4 edition of “Good Morning America.” Ron Claiborne reported: “And hundreds of people across the country turned out for the latest round in the culture war sparked by the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain. Gay rights advocates staged a kiss-in on Friday, snapping photos of themselves kissing in front of the restaurant. This came a couple of days after people packed the fast-food chain showing support for the company's president's anti-gay marriage stance.”  

After talking up the protests, the other two networks completely ignored the sparse attendance. CBS reported on Aug. 3: “At Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country, today gay rights supporters are calling for a national same-sex kiss day,” but skipped reporting the Chick-fil-A kiss-in altogether in its evening coverage and over the weekend.

However, on Aug. 6, CBS did highlight another bizarre form of protest against the  company. Anchors Jeff Glor and Gayle King bizarrely talked about and laughed at a lesbian chef’s “Chick on Chick Filet” sandwich, complete with “loving chicken breasts,” a honey mustard witness,” and “tolerant fries.”

NBC’s Natalie Morales also gave a shout-out the kiss-in on “Today” Aug. 3, declaring: “Same-sex marriage supporters plan a ‘kiss-in’ at Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the country today to protest the fast food chain owner's comments against gay marriage. This after Wednesday's demonstration to support Chick-Fil-A's stance on same-sex marriage set a one-day sales record for the company.” Morales at least acknowledged the wild success of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. But after the morning of Aug. 3, the kiss-in was not mentioned by NBC.

There are two obvious reasons for this discrepancy. The lack of coverage may be because the kiss-in was sparsely attended. Or it may be because gay activists did not exhibit the tolerance they demand from others at several of the protests. Or it may be because some Chick-fil-A outlets evenprovided water and sweet tea to protestors, free of charge.