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Editor's note: Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and is Newsweek's Washington bureau chief. He is also a contributor to the website Daily Download.
(CNN) - As same-sex marriage has become accepted in a way that would have been unthinkable a decade ago, the media have - perhaps unwittingly - played a crucial role.
It's not that most journalists lean left on such social issues as gay rights, though that's hard to dispute. It's that the power of pictures can neutralize political propaganda.
Once same-sex marriage was legalized in such early states as Iowa and Massachusetts, the photos and footage of happy couples celebrating made clear that no one was really threatened by such unions. The visuals put a human face on the debate.
Even as stories quoted people who remained staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage, the pictures conveyed that the sky was not falling - and by the time New York, Maryland and Washington legalized same-sex unions, it was, well, less newsworthy.
But that's hardly true everywhere, as a stunning backlash in Mississippi makes clear.
Want to read more about what happened in Mississippi? Find out here.