Posts tagged ‘statistics’

Gay Marriage: It’s in the Numbers

John Giangrasso Intro to Journalism

Prof. King 7/26/08

Gay Marriage: It’s in the Numbers

The statistics are alarming and speak for themselves. Half of all marriages end in divorce, 1.5 million women a year are assaulted by their current or former boyfriends, one in three children are born outside marriage, 9.68 million female single parent homes, three children a day die from child abuse and neglect and each year an estimated one million cases of suspected child abuse and neglect are substantiated. Seldom has the political manipulation of an issue been so great but as soon as the statistics behind family breakdown are raised in public, the ideological debate about the ideal family form ensues.

The three different views being debated in the churches on this issue are exploring new rites of church “blessings” for gay and lesbian couples commited to lifelong relationships, others want sacramental inclusion and most Christians still believe that the sacrament and theology of the church on marriage shouldn’t be altered. Both sides of the argument have succeeded in overstating the issue. Conservatives relating homosexual marriage to the end of Western Civilization is unfounded and some liberals say that resolving the issues of gay unions is morally equivalent to the issues of racism, apartheid, and the Holocaust. They blew it out of proportion.

So the question I want to know is whether the history of family dynamics and the statistics associated with them suggest that possibly the nuclear family is an unrealistic and unwarranted ideal form of union? Furthermore, what impact if any gay marriage can and will in the future have on the nuclear family dynamics which are already in bad shape? According to an editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune called Statistical Census Findings: Traditional Married Couples are Better Off by any Available Standard, “The latest census data show that the traditional family — a married couple and their children — constitute just a little less than one-fourth of all households. On the other hand, such families constituted just a little more than one-fourth of all families a decade ago. Any reports of the demise of the traditional family are greatly exaggerated.”

So what are the most common causes for marriages failing? A survey of experienced divorce lawyers who have been elected by their peers to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers broke it down for us. Poor communication, financial problems, a lack of commitment to the marriage, a dramatic change in priorities and infidelity topped the list. The other causes seen a lot but not as often were failed expectations or unmet needs, addictions and substance abuse, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and a lack of conflict resolution skills. The only thing I couldn’t seem to find on the list was the high amount of divorces due to the relentless pressure felt by families in the form of gay marriages or civil unions breaking them down externally.

In his editorial, “No New Gays” Bill Maher says, “nobody seems to find it abominable about Britney Spears tounging Madonna…or anything else on the third shelf of my “library”. No, in America when a man puts something in another man it had better be a bullet.” Although it’s hysterical it does point out the fact that gay and lesbian acts are already right out in the open in our culture in the form of movies, TV shows and even professional athletes. When Conservatives talk about the moral degeneration brought on by homosexual values and how much of an impact they are having they fail to bring up one thing. In recent years the personal computer and the internet have become a phenomenon that spread faster than anyone could have imagined. It has transformed many industries for good, in some cases making people rich beyond their wildest dreams but for the mass populace a replacement. Yet what is the most visited website on the internet: porn. So much for the moral degeneration, we’re already there.

I talked to Pattie Daly of Rockville Centre whose brother is a homosexual. I asked her what she felt about her own brother being involved in a gay marriage and she said, “I would be completely relieved. He would no longer be in my hair.” I had to laugh but then she said, “he would have someone, company he desperately needs. Some people are gay by their innate nature and they shouldn’t be scrutinized to have a family life because of who they are.” I asked her what her initial reaction was when she first found out her brother was gay and she said, “I wasn’t surprised. I don’t care that he’s gay I care that he’s cheap. I don’t care what his sexual preference.” Her son Dan was there and he said, “That two gay men should not be allowed to be parents because then the child will be ridicule and find it won’t relate as well to the majority who are heterosexual couples.” Even between a mother and son we see that this issue touches as at our core and most people will voice their opinions openly on this topic.

The states themselves will ultimately resolve the legal and civil issues through legislative proceedings. One thing is for sure. Politicians and anyone with a vested interest in seeing us divided as a nation will polarize this issue to further tear us apart as a community and highlight what makes us different to keep us from rising up against all the other social intolerances that are over looked by this silly issue.

July 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

How We Get Our Political Fix

We all prefer to get our news in our own unique way; however, for centuries newspapers and more recently television shows have been the only options, until now. Consumers are demanding to get only the news that interests them, in a format most convenient to them, and in doing so have found niches among television and the internet.

In just the last twenty years people have gone from relying on nightly news programs and newspapers, to having a nearly infinite source of news. The percentage of the American population that uses more traditional sources has sharply decreased in the last 15 years. According to a recent survey by The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press, the percentages of people who regularly watch local TV news, or regularly read a newspaper have decreased from 77% to 54% and 58% to 40% respectively between 1993 and 2006. During this time the percentage of people that read online news regularly has increased from less than 2% to 31%.

What makes this study especially eye-opening are the statistics between 2000 and 2006. The percentages of people regularly using each type of media have remained nearly stagnant. This includes local TV news, cable TV news, nightly network news, network morning news, radio, newspapers, the internet, etc. The masses have found their favorite sources of news and are sticking to them.

18-year-old Samantha DeVictoria explained that she reads Newsday, a New York City newspaper every morning. She goes on to say that she prefers the newspaper to television news because “I hate the commercials. You can ignore them in a newspaper.” A complaint that has pushed millions away from receiving their news from audio or video, where commercial interruptions have become more frequent.

Recently, there has been a great deal of news regarding whether those between 18 and 29 years of age are obtaining their news solely from satirical shows such as “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart, and “Real Time” with Bill Maher. The Pew Research Center’s study asked this very question, and it turned out that only 11% of those ages 18 to 29 regularly watch “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Ozzy Gezer, a 25-year-old student says that these shows are usually on “too late at night,” and that he prefers to watch a news network such as CNN to get his news before he goes to sleep.

Part of what pushes a person to one source of news instead of another is the important factor of time. Gezer explained that sometimes he does not have time in the morning to read a newspaper, so he goes to CNN.com where he can quickly grasp what is happening in the world. “I wish I had time to read the paper during the week, but it’s not always possible” said David Rubinton, a middle-aged attorney. He then said, “Sometimes I listen to the radio while commuting, or I surf the internet on my phone while I eat lunch.” Reading a newspaper is a more active, but time-consuming way to get ones news, and thus, is not always feasible.

“TV is more for when I’m lazy” said Mr. Gezer. “It doesn’t make you think”. Television news programs, to many, has become a form of entertainment instead of a source of news. Which begs the question, who is really more informed?

Many say that the Internet is the best source of news. One can get up-to-the-minute news from anywhere in the world, and from a variety of sources. Niches has formed in a recent “Web 2.0” movement, in which new technologies are allowing people to be more involved in how they get their news.

A technology called RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”) allows you to aggregate news from nearly any modern website into a single, easy to use service, such as Google Reader, that notifies the user instantly when new stories arrive. Gezer’s comment on the technology is a familiar one to anybody trying to promote the benefits of RSS, “Sounds good, but I’ve never heard of it”. The very nature of RSS prevents content providers, such as The New York Times, The Associated Press, or CNN from collecting the ad revenue that would be obtained from the user visiting the website itself. This has impeded the adoption of RSS, as it simply does not make sense for The New York Times to advertise the feature; although nearly every news website does offer RSS.

Other websites, such as Digg.com and Newsvine.com are trying to provide a social aspect to news gathering. Users at these sites are responsible for which stories reach the front page through a voting system. Also, you can follow specific users’ voting if their taste in news complements your own.

Mr. Gezer brought up an interesting point during our discussion about social news gathering, “People go into a bubble”. In other words, if you aren’t interested in world news, you could just not follow it at all when using the Internet. When watching a TV show, listening to the radio, or even reading a newspaper, it is a guarantee that you will come across nearly every type of news. This is not true of those who use RSS, Digg.com, or even CNN.com. One can easily enter “into a bubble” and never again be informed about the genocide in Darfur, or global warming, or even the new celebrity sex video. Regardless of whether or not it benefits society, technology has allowed for the ultimate form of “news personalization”.

– Brian Rubinton

July 26, 2008 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment


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