Gender Newspeak at Newsweek


Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Gender Newspeak at Newsweek

Gender Newspeak at Newsweek
khankrumthebulg
Regular Contributor
khankrumthebulg
By Carey Roberts

Now for tonight’s “Behind the News” story:

Reneging on its duty to report the news fairly and accurately, the mainstream media now resorts to fake scandals and faux-tography to keep the audience entertained and its numbers juiced up. Nowhere is that more true than at Newsweek magazine.

Remember last year when Newsweek made the claim that military interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down the toilet? But when 25,000 pages of documents failed to support the incendiary claim, Newsweek was forced to retract the account. But not before 16 persons died during ugly anti-American riots.

Then the Valerie Plame brouhaha came along. Vice president **bleep** Cheney and other administration officials were accused of outing Plame, a CIA operative, to punish Bush’s political enemies. Newsweek, CBS, and the rest of the mainstream media pounced on the story like horseflies drawn to barnyard manure.

But last month State Department bureaucrat Richard Armitage admitted that he was the source of the leak. Maybe the sham accusation wasn’t a shining moment for investigative journalism, but it sure made for a lot of good copy.

Having elbowed their way into the competitive ranks of Glamour and the National Enquirer, the editors at Newsweek could not afford to rest on their laurels.

So last week they ran the article, “Fighting over the Kids” by reporter Sarah Childress. [www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14870310/site/newsweek] Everyone knows fathers gain child custody only 15% of the time. Yet Childress makes the claim that family courts are actually biased against moms.

How did Childress reach that conclusion?

Here’s the logic: When battered wives ask for a divorce, their husbands try to wrangle joint custody of the kids. Then to win the sympathy of the divorce judge, they accuse the wife of parental alienation.

In support of this controversial claim, Childress trots out two surveys.

First she cites a study by Jay Silverman. But Silverman’s conclusions are based on interviews with a grand total of 39 self-selected Massachusetts women. And he doesn’t provide an iota of hard evidence to back up the ladies’ claims. Beginning to sound like advocacy research?

Then Cal State psychology professor Geraldine Stahly weighs in with her study. But what’s the name of the article? Was it ever printed in a respectable journal? Were the respondents cherry-picked to provide a pre-set answer? Let’s just call it junk science.

George Orwell’s classic, Nineteen Eight-Four, describes Newspeak as a lingo that does away with dodgy words like “thought” and reduces everything to polar opposites like good and ungood. This spells the eventual demise of the English language, which soon becomes known as Oldspeak.

Orwell predicts, “By 2050 – earlier, probably – all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared … Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like ‘freedom is slavery’ when the concept of freedom has been abolished?”

Here’s a good example of Newspeak a la Sarah Childress: “Although men are sometimes battered by their wives, women are the victims in the majority of abuse cases.”

Childress uses the words battering and abuse to mean the same thing, when in fact true “battering” occurs in only a tiny fraction of “abuse” cases. But the problem is not just semantic sloppiness, because Childress’ claim is downright false.

University of New Hampshire researcher Murray Straus recently released his latest findings about dating violence in American couples. When severe violence occurs, in 28% of cases it’s a female perpetrator and 15% of the time, the man is the aggressor. For the remaining 57% of cases, both the man and the woman are mixing it up. [www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2006/may/em_060519male.cfm?type=n]

Ironically, even though women are more likely to be the abuser, it’s wives who are more likely to level allegations of abuse that turn out to be false.

According to a report from the Independent Women’s Forum, 85% of requests for protection orders are made by women. [www.iwf.org/pdf/young_domviol1.pdf] And to what end? “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply,” notes Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. “In many cases, allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage.”

Now, 47 states have laws on the books that require family judges to consider such allegations or findings when they make child custody decisions. [www.mediaradar.org/docs/Perverse-Incentives.pdf] When life-altering decisions are based on false or trivial allegations, it’s the children who lose out.

But at Newsweek, nobody seems to be speaking out against Newspeak. And that’s tonight’s report. Now back to you, Katie.

09-28-2006 08:58 AM

Re: Gender Newspeak at Newsweek
Diogetrix
Regular Contributor
Diogetrix

‘Remember last year when Newsweek made the claim that military interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down the toilet? But when 25,000 pages of documents failed to support the incendiary claim, Newsweek was forced to retract the account. But not before 16 persons died during ugly anti-American riots.’

Sorry to take issue with you over tangential matters, but I am just as interested in justice and truth for prisoners of one kind as another. So, in the case of our prisoners in various torture chambers around the world I don’t think there is much reason to doubt that they have been abused in any way that has so far been alleged – no matter what Newsweek says. The fact that our government found no evidence to support the allegations of religious taunting and desecration is laughable; the fact that any political-corporate publication fails to aggressively investigate is also unconvincing. There is enough evidence and testimony to convince any skeptic if he takes the trouble to look at it.

In the Plame case, I doubt that it is accurate to describe the US media’s coverage, as ‘Newsweek, CBS, and the rest of the mainstream media pounced on the story like horseflies drawn to barnyard manure.’ If the media covered the story of a treasonous felony with the enthusiasm you suggest, there should be some action other than a civil suit brought by the victims – don’t you think? And, as for Richard Armitage’s 11th hour confession, you would do well to investigate his history in previous administrations’ covert intelligence operations and schemes, including Iran-Contra. I can’t help you much right now because there seems to be a lack of factual data about his history on the net, but it’s significant that Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame immediately included him in their civil suit – presumably so he can be put under oath for the discovery phase. Generally, there is little doubt that the administration did, in fact, disclose the identity of a covert, CIA agent and her operation (which was a twenty year old organization/network of operatives, agents, and assets who were working against weapons trafficking in the Mid East, including Iran where Valerie Plame had been personally working under unofficial cover – which means she had no US protection if discovered.)

My conclusion about your viewpoint is that you are unaware of the factual data available. That you are referencing Newsweek makes me think that you are getting your info from mainstream sources, and/or from right wing critics of mainstream sources. There is a wealth of information available, but you won’t see it unless you try. But here is where my comments have relevancy to the general topic of this board:

I have elsewhere expressed my belief that feminism in the US is being used by the right wing to alienate men from women, and to drive unsophisticated males away from liberalism by identifying feminism with liberalism. One of the strategies of feminists is to capture the liberal information and education outlets, and make themselves the only spokesmen (sic) for the left. Anyone can see that the old guard of liberalism, the stereotypical college prof with a tweed or corduroy coat, leather elbow patches, and a goatee has been replaced by the affected and self assured male feminist and his lesbian overseers. The fact that we now seem to have a choice between these **bleep** little dandies on the left, or the tough talking phonies (like Rush and O’Reilly) on the right should be clear to anyone, and should sound a warning that the real values and beliefs of liberalism are nowhere represented in the mainstream media – unless the other false-liberal viewpoint is integrated along with it.

I’ve seen this strategy in operation so many times; I wish I had a reliable method for opening people’s eyes to it. Right now, all I have is examples which I hope others can identify with. For example, when we are told that we have to fight them over there so we won’t have to fight them here. Is that a false choice? When your intuition tells you that you are being presented with a false choice do you instinctively look for a third or other choices that are being hidden or made to appear untenable? When we were told that we would be drafted to fight in Vietnam, or would be cowards, was that a false choice? When you are told that if you don’t support the feminist agenda you must be a pig who wants to abuse women? When you are told that if you support abortion rights that you are an atheist? Or, that when you support a man’s right to be included in the abortion debate that you are anti-women? Or that supporting liberation movements means that you are a Communist? On and on. False choices.

I am anguished continually at having to access alternative sources of information that are wrapped in the popular notions of liberalism, but there is little choice in the mass media, and little choice in the small media. My personal strategy for sorting out the convoluted mess of ideological packages is to accept the fact that messages from any source are likely to be tainted with bias and come with unwarranted baggage.

To feel that you are giving credence to the feminists and fake-liberals by agreeing with them on some issue (that torturing and illegally detaining ‘enemies’ for example) is to play into the hands of both the right wing extremists, AND to be manipulated by the phony leftists. It can’t be helped, but the choice in moral and ethical matters should not be made on the basis of which ‘side’ you empower or seem to be agreeing with. It ain’t easy, and that’s why so few people are able to rise above group identity and view each issue on its merits.

I work for consistency of my personal values and the developed beliefs that arise from them. I don’t worry so much that my beliefs are consistent with the position of some group or identifiable movement. To do that leads inevitably to acceptance of beliefs and positions that are inconsistent with your values and personal experience.

Here is part of a letter that Harold Lasky wrote to FDR, and which was given to us, students in a college class in 1967.

‘… Civilization means, above all, an unwillingness to inflict unnecessary pain. Within the ambit of that definition, those of us who heedlessly accept the commands of authority cannot yet claim to be civilized men.

‘… Our business, if we desire to live a life, not utterly devoid of meaning and significance, is to accept nothing which contradicts our basic experience merely because it comes to us from tradition or convention or authority. It may well be that we shall be wrong; but our self-expression is thwarted at the root unless the certainties we are asked to accept coincide with the certainties we experience. That is why the condition of freedom in any state is always a widespread and consistent skepticism of the canons upon which power insists.’

The instructor was fired after his first semester, and spent the next forty years teaching Afro-Cuban drumming. The student who initiated the process that culminated in his firing was a 19-year-old bimbo who thought he was forcing his politics down the students’ throats. She was a very meaty entre who always wore short skirts like cheerleaders wear, and whose boy friend was a police science major.

Message Edited by Diogetrix on 09-28-200607:25 PM

09-28-2006 07:13 PM

Re: Gender Newspeak at Newsweek
MartianBachelor
Regular Contributor
MartianBachelor
Diogetrix, I thought I’d read all your posts so far, but I couldn’t recall you ever having said this:

“I have elsewhere expressed my belief that feminism in the US is being used by the right wing to alienate men from women, and to drive unsophisticated males away from liberalism by identifying feminism with liberalism.”

It came as quite a surprise. Where’d you say that? And, more importantly, can you elucidate some?

Just recently I was trying to make the case to someone that it was time for liberals to totally jettison the hard-core feminists and go for the much larger male vote, which is right now being pretty much entirely ignored. (A truly radical change of direction, or just plain crazy, depending on how you want to look at it…) So your little angle on things there could be an extremely important piece of the puzzle if I understood it better. TIA.

P.S. – Did you (or anyone else) see the Kevin Baker piece in the Oct. Harper’s on “The fake quest for the ‘authentic’ Democrat”?

______________________________________________
“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

09-28-2006 10:48 PM

Re: Gender Newspeak at Newsweek
khankrumthebulg
Regular Contributor
khankrumthebulg
I do agree that Conservatives pay lip service to Men’s Rights and that they are funding the Feminist run media. It is a campaign of deceit and misdirection. Who pays Oprah’s bills? Her advertizers that’s who. We are being scamed by both the Left and the Right. Zen Priest has the same take on this. I do not disagree with that assessment.

The Cat Herders control the media flow of information. Men are there for Window dressing nothing more.

09-29-2006 06:53 AM

Re: Gender Newspeak at Newsweek
MartianBachelor
Regular Contributor
MartianBachelor
“I do agree that Conservatives pay lip service to Men’s Rights…”

I don’t even see that much coming from them.
Lip service would be a big step up IMO.

______________________________________________
“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

09-29-2006 07:51 AM

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