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Marriage and Agenda Journalism at the NY Times

John on January 20, 2007 at 9:24 am

There’s a story in the NY Times claiming that — for the first time ever — more women are single than married in the US. Not surprisingly, it turns out to be an extremely dishonest piece of agenda journalism. Michael Medved tears the heart out of the flashy headline apocalypto-style:

It’s all based on a fundamentally dishonest decision that Roberts never acknowledges in the entire course of his lengthy article. It turns out that in his analysis he chose to count some 10,154,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 as “women.” It should come as no surprise that this vast group of teenagers (yes, teenagers, most of whom live at home) are officially classified as “single.” In fact, 97% of the 15 to 19 year olds identify themselves as “never married.” The Census Bureau, by the way, doesn’t call these youngsters “women” – it labels them “females” (a far more appropriate designation).

Yet even the ridiculous inclusion of his ten million unmarried teenagers couldn’t give Sam Roberts the story he wanted to report – that most American “women” are now unmarried. As a matter of fact, the Census Bureau shows that among all females above 15 the majority (51%!) are still classified as “married.”

So the New York Times required yet another sneaky distortion to shave off that last 2% from the married majority, though this bit of statistical sleight-of-hand Sam Roberts had the decency to acknowledge. “In a relatively small number of cases, the living arrangement is temporary, because the husbands are working out of town, are in the military, or are institutionalized,” he writes. In other words, in his brave new majority of “women” without spouses, he includes all those thousands upon thousands of wives and mothers who are waiting and praying at home for the return of their husbands from Iraq or Afghanistan. By arbitrarily removing this 2% of all females (2,400,000 individuals) who are classified as “married/spouse absent” from the ranks of the married, and then designating as “unmarried” his millions of middle school and high school girls who are living with their parents, together with some 9 million elderly widows who have devoted much of their lives to marriage and husbands (42% of all women over 65 are widows), Roberts can finally arrive at his desired but meaningless conclusion that “most women” now “are living without a husbands.” Eureka!

A junior reporter at a local newspaper would be embarrassed to have put his or her name to something this transparently false. Why is it that the NY Times would countenance this kind of obvious junk journalism (aka journa-lacrum: simulated journalism)? It can only be that the editors agreed with the conclusions and the slant of the piece.

Turns out this is reporter Sam Roberts 2nd trip to this particular trough:

He did the same thing with a similarly misleading and propagandistic article on October 15, 2006, which appeared under the headline: “It’s Official: To Be Married Means to Be Outnumbered.”

That claim was also extremely misleading. Only a fool would trust the NY Times’ reporting on any social issue at this point. I won’t paste in the ending of Medved’s argument, but it’s well worth reading.

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Category: Marriage & Family, MSM & Bias |

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