Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Journalistic Malpractice

It's the second-most emailed article at the New York Times today, even though it's now a couple days old.

They were talking about it on National Public Radio this morning.

And on BBC.

And even on my local conservative talk radio station.

Yes indeed, Sam Roberts' NYT story, 51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse, is a big hit, the kind of story the NYT is famous for: Not only does it set tongues wagging, it sets policy.

The wags at NPR were yakking policy big-time: This new truth would lead to big changes in employment law, in marriage laws, and in societal norms. "People are having too many children anyway," said one pompous and unchallenged commentator. Good thing for him his mom didn't take her son's advice and stop one birth earlier.

There's just one thing wrong with all this: Everything.

It is, in the seething, barely constrained words of Michael Medved, "journalistic malpractice." Medved sheds a little clarity on the numbers behind the story, which the paper attributes to an NYT analysis of 2005 Census Bureau data.
  • The 51% includes girls from 15 to 18, the vast majority of whom are unmarried and living with one or two parents.

  • It includes widows -- a growing segment of the population -- who are hardly making a statement against marriage just because their spouse died.

  • And it even includes women who are married, but whose husbands are temporarily away on business. That includes the wives of our military men, who, I'm sure, are thrilled that their sacrificial service to our country in support of their husbands is being interpreted by the NYT as being a choice against marriage.
I'm just a suburb-dwelling family man with southern/midwestern roots out here in California, surrounded by people like me, who are married or want to be married and think "Mom" and "Dad" are the two most significant and fulfilling job titles in all employmentdom, so I've always been a bit dubious about allegations that there's an anti-marriage agenda.

Oh, sure, there's a pro-gay marriage agenda and there are some who decide travel and fun are more fulfilling than kids, so they go that route. But an agenda?

You betcha. Not one of the four people on the PBS show or the two on the BBC show said a word in defense of marriage. To them, it's a tedious, unhappy affair. Europe, as usual, is leading the way for them, rejecting marriage in droves (except, of course, the growing European Muslim population).

Worse, marriage is a frightfully irresponsible proposition to them, given all the environmental burdens we face. Babies are just carbon-generators, after all.

Plus, and perhaps most important, how can you go clubbing five nights a week, picking up a delightful mix of varied gay/straight partners, if you've got a spouse, or worse, kids?

This decidedly self-centered minority craved one thing more than all else -- like just about all minorities -- that is, to be the majority. By sleight of hand, the NYT graced them (at least the females among them) with majority status.

Be prepared: They're going to exploit it.

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