Ignoring other ballot initiative votes, Brokaw uses CA's Prop. 8 vote to claim, "[W]e probably remain a center-right country"

››› ››› LILY YAN

Commenting on the passage of a ballot initiative amending the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, Tom Brokaw said, "[W]e probably remain a center-right country." Brokaw did not note that several other ballot initiatives around the country suggest a rejection of a conservative social agenda.

Commenting on the vote in California to pass Proposition 8, a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, NBC's Tom Brokaw said, "[W]e probably remain a center-right country." Brokaw did not note that several other ballot initiatives around the country suggest a rejection of a conservative social agenda.

On the November 5 edition of CBS' The Late Show, host David Letterman asked, "Now, some interesting things happened. In California, they reversed the gay marriage circumstance, and that's -- that's going to be just a legal bedlam, I would guess?" Brokaw responded, "It is, and that's a tough issue to get past around the country. I think eight states now have banned gay marriages." Echoing an October 18 article by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, Brokaw continued, "Look, we probably remain a center-right country -- conservative in our social values. But what they said with this election is that we're willing to take a chance on somebody else who promised that he could bring us together and find the middle ground. People hold these values, cultural values and social values, dear to them."

But in asserting that "we probably remain a center-right country" in response to Letterman's comments about the Proposition 8 vote, Brokaw ignored initiative votes in other states that counter the notion that America is a "center-right country," including:

  • California's vote against Proposition 4, which called for a "waiting period and parental notification before termination of minor's pregnancy."
  • Colorado's vote against Amendment 48, which would have amended the state constitution to define "the terms 'person' or 'persons' [to] include any human being from the moment of fertilization."
  • South Dakota's vote against Initiative 11, defined as "[a]n Initiative to prohibit abortions except in cases where the mother's life or health is at a substantial and irreversible risk, and in cases of reported rape and incest."

Colorado's Amendment 46, which called to end affirmative action in the state, reportedly had "no" votes leading as of 1:17 a.m. MT November 7, but the result was not yet finalized. The Rocky Mountain News reported on November 6 that "voters turned down" Amendment 46, while the Denver Post reported on November 7 that the amendment "appeared to be going down Thursday ... with 50.6 percent against to 49.4 percent in favor [with 96 percent of precincts reporting]. Although there were still 55,000 ballots to be counted in Boulder County, the amendment had been failing there 60 percent to 40 percent."

From the November 5 edition of CBS' The Late Show with David Letterman:

LETTERMAN: Now, some interesting things happened. In California, they reversed the --

BROKAW: Gay marriage, right.

LETTERMAN: -- gay marriage circumstance, and that's -- that's going to be just a legal bedlam, I would guess?

BROKAW: It is, and that's a tough issue to get passed around the country. I think eight states now have banned gay marriages. Look, we probably remain a center-right country -- conservative in our social values. But what they said with this election is that we're willing to take a chance on somebody else who promised that he could bring us together and find the middle ground. People hold these values, cultural values and social values, dear to them. They're terrified about the economy.

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Tom Brokaw
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2008 Elections
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