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Networks Cautious But Quick With Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Decisions

This morning at 10 AM, the Supreme Court released its final rulings of the term, including two landmark decisions on same-sex marriage.

The first ruling was related to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), with the court overturning the law, declaring it unconstitutional.

NBC News correspondent Pete Williams, was, as with the last big case, both “first and right.” He was the first correspondent to report the decision, and did so accurately. CBS’ Jan Crawford was actually first (and right) on the Affirmative Action ruling Monday. Williams reported the DOMA news on NBC and MSNBC at 10:02 AM. ABC News’ Terry Moran immediately followed, also reporting at 10:02 AM. CBS News’ Jan Crawford followed at 10:04 AM. CBS, incidentally, did not begin its special report until 10:04. Update: Bloomberg TV put up a chyron with the DOMA ruling at 10:01 AM, and reported the news at 10:02 AM.

Fox News reported the ruling at 10:04 AM, after somewhat oddly covering the Aaron Hernandez arrest from 10 AM to 10:04 AM. CNN reported that a decision had been made at 10 AM, but reported the meat of the DOMA ruling at 10:08 AM.

Hernandez was arrested in Massachusetts around 8:45 AM.

With regards to California’s Proposition 8 ruling, the court decided that it did not have standing to take the case, and as a result gay marriages are once again legal in the state. NBC and ABC reported the news at 10:26 AM, CBS and Fox News followed at 10:27 AM. CNN reported the ruling at 10:37 AM.

All told, the networks were quick but cautious, making sure to read through the rulings and get it right. CNN, which took the brunt of the public flogging last year during the Healthcare decision, was taking it slow, but making sure they were right.

All of the networks were wall-to-wall with their coverage, skipping commercial breaks. The exception was Fox News, which took all of its scheduled breaks.

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