Slate is usually a reliable publication. Yet today the venerable online outlet has chosen to take what's obviously conservative-skewed spin and present it as fair and balanced science. All for the odd purposes of making kids who were born of artificial insemination seem "Not Really All Right":
The Kids Are All Right, due out in July, is being praised for its honest portrayal of a lesbian couple, played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. But what seems most revelatory about the movie is its portrayal of their two teenage children who track down their sperm donor biological father and insist on forging a connection with him. Finally, we have an exploration of how children born from such procedures feel, because in fact it turns out that their feelings about their origins are a lot more complicated than people think. The Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right [Slate]
So why do we see bias from the get-go? Well, because we have eyes the duo that wrote the piece and the correlated study, Karen Clark and Elizabeth Marquardt, are both involved with/employed by the Institute of American Values, the supposedly "nonpartisan" think tank that was founded by pro-Prop 8 "expert witness" David Blakenhorn. It's the same outfit that features prominent involvement from folks like Robert George and Maggie Gallagher (The National Org. For Marriage's founder and chairman, respectively), and that receives funding from major conservative donors (Scaife Foundation, most prominently). This institute is "nonpartisan" as a technicality, maybe. But its totally in bed with uber-conservative interests.
Oh, and it's not just the duo behind the article who come in with a demonstrable agenda. The twosome also teamed with University of Texas at Austin professor Norval Glenn, another Institute For American Values-tied marriage and family "traditionalist" who has major links to all the usual players (e.g. Gallagher cited Mr. Glenn's work both at a DOMA hearing and in a report on the supposed harms that marriage equality brought to Mass.). Here's something that Mr. Glenn once wrote about marriage equality:
The bottom line is that the legal scholars who value family diversity over marriage are promoting the freedom of adults to indulge their momentary desires to the detriment of the well-being and eventual development of children and thus to the future of the society. Whatever the outcome of the same-sex marriage debate, the family diversity advocates must not prevail. Norval Glenn: In defense of marriage [Dallas News]
Just do a cursory Google search: Glenn's name will pop up on scores of sites that are myopically focused on keeping gay people from saying the words "I do." Never on sites that support the same.
Then you can search a little further and read some of what Marquardt herself has written on marriage. Her whole focus is on children, with an obviously (if stealthily) preconceived script that essentially says any form of family other than man/woman will harm children. That's of course he exact argument around which the anti-marriage equality team ALWAYS builds their case, be it in court or in a campaign.
Oh, and if those points were not enough clues of conservatism: Check out Maggie Gallagher's latest tweet:
Never in the history of the world has Maggie Gallagher praised a piece that doesn't decidedly befit her agenda.
So what's the deal, Slate? Nowhere in the piece are any of these ties even mentioned. Nowhere are the addressed parental concerns -- which are of course not off-limits, in and of themselves -- presented as a starter to a more complex debate on family relations. The editors haven't embedded the study into the article (as we have easily done below) so that readers can easily check out the data for themselves. Heck, the piece is not even marked with an "opinion" label. They just put out the general idea that "Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right," leaving it to others to research the research.
Not all right, indeed.
*MORE: Gallagher used the same exact study for her most recent syndicated column.
**Below you will find the study in question. For the life of me I cannot see how they reached most (any?) of the heavey-handed outcomes they did based on the data they received! And i'd say that even if I didn't know the researchers' connections.
Oh, and as some commenters have already opined: Do they not stop and consider that any negligible differences they find might have to do with the exact kind of stigma that they're fostering with this study and article? Think about how you would feel if you woke up and read that you and your family are "not really all right."
Harumph! Data begins on page 82:
comments powered by Disqus