FOX "News" talks about the mainstream media (believing themselves outside of it). Sarah Palin talks about the lamestream media (believing herself to be clever). But when it comes to politics, what they're really talking about is the beltway media. And the beltway media likes story lines. Narratives. Conflict. And the horse race. But they often miss the real story going on. Sometimes it's probably inadvertent, when a story steamrolls its way through cable news and the rest of the press. Other times, it's probably on purpose; playing up the aspects of a story that sell, and ignoring the rest.
For a while now, social issues like homosexuality and abortion rights have been downplayed when at all possible by the political press and by politicians. For instance, we were told that the Tea Party movement was only concerned with freedom and liberty and low taxes. They weren't a socially conservative group. Which has turned out to be bull pucky. The Republicans sold themselves as jobs, jobs, jobs in 2010, and captured the House of Representatives and many Governor's Mansions. And far from focusing on jobs (on which they've done next to nothing), they've concentrated on abortion, gays, and curtailing voting rights.
So, it is important to point this out as loudly and often as possible: the Republican agenda is an extreme, socially conservative mass of wackos.