Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Yellow Journalism Strikes Again"



Yellow Journalism Strikes Again

By: J. Hunter



In the wake of the conclusion to the George Zimmerman case, the media insists on stirring racial animus with another story of “injustice.”[i] This story, also set in Florida and also involving the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground Law,” is more than a year old but has recently resurfaced in order to draw parallels to the Zimmerman case and to infer a legal double standard that discriminates against blacks.

The headline by CBS News reads “Florida Mom Gets 20 Years for Firing Warning Shots.” Marissa Alexander, the story says, claimed to have been defending herself against her allegedly abusive husband. Alexander was charged with attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years after she rejected a plea deal for a 3 year prison sentence.

The story refers to Alexander by her first name when quoting her 11 year old daughter who said that she “really [felt] hurt” by the verdict. It notes that Alexander had never been in trouble with the law before, and that she fired the warning shot “to escape a brutal beating.” Her attorney says that “she was clearly defending herself and should not have to spend the next two decades behind bars.” The story ends by stating that her case has drawn support from domestic abuse advocates who compare her situation to that of George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is free. Alexander is behind bars. Has an injustice occurred? One would think so after reading this story and most of the 1190 comments it has inspired on the CBS News website.

The truth, however, paints a very different picture of what happened and implicates the media’s far more sinister plot to boost ratings at any cost.

The facts of the case are public and available for any journalist to uncover.[ii] Marissa Alexander had not been living in the family home for 2 months before she suddenly came home and spent the night. The next morning, her husband came home with his two sons and made breakfast for the family without incident. After eating, Alexander gave her phone to her husband to show him pictures of their still hospitalized newborn baby and went to the bathroom. While looking through the phone, the husband found suspicious texts between Alexander and her ex-husband which prompted her current husband to question the paternity of the baby. He told the children to get dressed because they were leaving. Alexander went to her car, retrieved a firearm, reentered the house and aimed it at her husband and two sons. They raised their hands, begged her not to shoot, but she did anyway—not vertically into the ceiling, but horizontally toward her husband’s head (narrowly missing his head, according to court records). The husband and children ran away and dialed 911. Alexander did not call the police and was arrested.

Alexander posted bond and was instructed not to contact her husband. She did anyway, in order to talk him into changing the story in order for her not to be prosecuted. She visited him at his home—not the family home—and attacked him causing injury to his face. Again, he called 911. She did not. She was thereafter arrested anew on new charges.

Upon reading the court record of the facts of this case, it hardly sounds like Alexander was in fear for her life and safety. She did, after all, go to her husband’s house multiple times. She also did not escape when she claimed that he was going to attack her, even though he appears to have been leaving rather than engaging her. Finally, and most importantly, most people think of a warning shot as one that is fired into the air, not at someone.

This Florida “mom” is a pawn in the media’s attempt to stir racial discord by comparing a distorted version of her case to the Zimmerman case and implying that the state’s Stand Your Ground Law is not equally applied to blacks as it is to non-blacks. This, like the media coverage in the Duke Lacrosse case and the initial coverage of the Zimmerman case, is just another example of shameful modern day yellow journalism.  
 
Article Sources:

[i] http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-firing-warning-shots/
[ii] http://www.scribd.com/doc/89763383/States-Motion-in-Opposition-of-Defendants-Motion-for-Immunity

Photo Sources:  "Marissa Alexander Rally" from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-rD0fbd88zwQ/T96OsHmx0xI/AAAAAAAAAF8/QtPc1D-AGR8/s640/MarissaRally2012.JPG; "Warning Shot" from http://robliano.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rob-liano-warning-shot.jpg

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Political Science"



"Political Science"

By: J. Hunter

Conservatives are criticized for being “anti-science,” a charge that grew stronger last month when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement affirming that children living with same-sex parents “receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders.[1] This claim purports to be evidenced by science, which, if true, would contribute to the left’s argument that conservatives reject rationality whole cloth. Of course, though, AAP’s findings are unscientific and continue a liberal tradition of using science as a propaganda tool to further political ambitions.

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, criticizes AAP’s statement saying that it is “clearly driven more by political correctness than by the actual state of research on [the] issue.[2]An overwhelming body of social science research has shown conclusively that children raised by their own biological mother and father, committed to one another in a lifelong marriage, are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than children in any other family structure,” according to Sprigg. Perhaps it is this “overwhelming body of research” that has informed American courts for years and inspired them to favor biological parents over foster and adopted parents.

Echoing Sprigg’s claims, the American College of Pediatricians (ACP) issued a statement rejecting AAP’s conclusion. “The American College of Pediatricians reaffirms that the intact, functional family consisting of a married (female) mother and (male) father provides the best opportunity for children…The College, therefore, disputes the AAP claim that supporting same-sex unions promotes the ‘well-being of children.’

ACP even criticizes the scientific research that undergirds the AAP statement. President Dr. Den Trumbull says, “No one concerned with the well-being of children can reasonably ignore the evidence for maintaining the current standard, nor can they or we ignore the equally strong evidence that harm to children can result if the current standards are rejected.
 

Equally strong evidence that harm may come to children raised in same sex households?

An ACP report on Homosexual Parenting claims that domestic violence in same sex households is two to three times more common than in households with married heterosexual couples. Same-sex partnerships are “significantly more prone to dissolution” than traditional marriages, “with the average same-sex relationship lasting only two to three years.” Furthermore, the tendency for homosexuals to experience mental illness, engage in substance abuse, exhibit suicidal tendencies, and live shortened life spans than heterosexuals is not a function of societal disdain of  the homosexual lifestyle, but exists, too, “at inordinately high levels among homosexuals in cultures where the practice is more widely accepted.[3]

Clearly, despite the AAP’s claims, the science is not settled on same-sex parentage. But, is it clear that same-sex marriage would be devastating to child welfare?

Dr. Jason Richwine, of the Heritage Foundation, writes that “the main challenge to research on the children of parents in same-sex relationships has been simply finding enough of them to analyze in the first place.[4] The ACP seconds that notion: “Data on the long-term outcomes of children placed in same-sex households is sparse and gives reason for concern.

Given what is available, though, the data contradicts AAP’s basis for endorsement. “Studies that appear to indicate neutral to favorable child outcomes from same-sex parenting have critical design flaws,” says the ACP. In 2005, the American Psychological Association (APA) stated that no study has found children reared by homosexual parents “to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.[5] Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at University of Texas, challenged that sweeping claim when he released a study in June of 2012 that used a large nationally representative dataset. Regnerus’ study found that “children from same-sex households experienced more negative adult outcomes compared with children from intact biological families.[6] Regnerus’ study was met with “remarkably hostile and unscientific backlash.[7]

The AAP, and those who attacked Regnerus’ work on grounds other than his methodology, have done a disservice to the name of science and to its place in American discourse. For the political left to try to use science as a tool to bludgeon its opponents can be expected—politics is blood-sport, after all. Those of us outside of the political realm are political animals nonetheless, scientists included. But it is wrong for scientists to bend research to support a political agenda as appears to be occurring on the issue of same-sex parentage.

Furthermore, the slander that conservatives are, by definition, against science is an onerous and pernicious lie. Conservatives in many cases fight the use of science as a propaganda tool, and unfortunately their skepticism of some realms of the scientific community is warranted. The nation suffers when politics so pervades science that political factions become the watchdogs determining scientific validity. Liberals and conservatives can peaceably disagree about political philosophy, but they should not live in separate planes of reality.

Article Sources:

[1] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/03/18/peds.2013-0376.full.pdf+html
[2] http://cnsnews.com/news/article/american-academy-pediatrics-announces-support-same-sex-marriage
[3] http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/homosexual-parenting-is-it-time-for-change
[4] http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/22/academy-of-pediatrics-endorses-same-sex-marriage-but-science-not-so-sure/
[5] http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/parenting-full.pdf
[6] http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0049089X12000610/1-s2.0-S0049089X12000610-main.pdf?_tid=bb3b5d98-9b16-11e2-9396-00000aab0f27&acdnat=1364853450_3600ea01431414200c84828a9e7d70c2
[7] http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/the-regnerus-study-social-science-on-new-family-structures-met-with-intolerance

Photo Sources: "Same sex fathers 1" from http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/blogs/dnews-files-2013-03-gay-parents-660.jpg; "Same sex fathers 2" from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meyer769/myblog/gay-parents-3.jpg; "Mark Regnerus" from http://chronicle.com/blogs/percolator/files/2012/07/6985657.jpg