July 20, 2011

UnFunny Former Comedian Distorts Study for "Gotcha" Moment in Senate

The only thing you can count on for certain is death, taxes, and for Think Progress to distort anything it can get its hands on, as evidenced once again in this story, where they claim Senator Stewart Smalley "destroyed" Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery in testimony, by proving that Minnery dishonestly used a Health and Human Services study.

The thing, is, as James Joyner points out, is that Smalley--er, Al Franken--is the one who was playing fast and loose with reality.

... from the period 2001-2003 and the first few months of 2004, every single "nuclear family" studied consisted of opposite sex couples. For the remainder of the survey, married same-sex couples in Massachusetts with children qualified as "nuclear families." Massachusetts has 6.5 million people; the other 49 states and the District of Columbia contribute an additional 301 million people. And, I'm led to believe, many people in Massachusetts still chose to marry people of the opposite sex.

In short, the number of same-sex couples qualifying as "nuclear families" in the study in question amount to a rounding error. And Al Franken, who's a pretty smart fellow, damned well knows that.

What's particularly infuriating is that he's using the power of his office and of the subpoena to humiliate a citizen for his own amusement and, presumably, those of his supporters.

The community-based reality howl over this and pat themselves on the back as if they've accomplished something here, when all they've done is further reinforce the stereotype that they're arrogant, petty and untrustworthy.

I'm not sure that is something I'd be bragging about if I was them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 20, 2011 05:16 PM

The only stereotype to be reinforced was that the right wing will tell any and every lie.

The study in question did not exclude same-sex parents, nor did it compare the outcomes between, same-sex and opposite-sex adoptive families.

That didn't stop Tom Minnery from misrepresenting the study's results, nor did it stop you from supporting his effort. Why am I not surprised that "the truth" is nowhere on your radar screen?

Posted by: Remember It at July 21, 2011 12:42 AM

p.s.: The author of the study was contacted by the "Politico" site, and confirmed Franken's version:

"Sen. Franken is right," the lead author of the study told POLITICO. The survey did not exclude same-sex couples, said Debra L. Blackwell, Ph.D., nor did it exclude them from the "nuclear family" category provided their family met the study’s definition.

The study’s definition of nuclear family is: "one or more children living with two parents who are married to one another and are each biological or adoptive parents of all the children in the family."

That means the study does not provide evidence that straight couples’ children necessarily fare better than same-sex couples’ kids, as Minnery claimed.


But hey, what does the author of the study know, anyway?

Posted by: Remember It at July 21, 2011 12:47 AM

As Joyner states, the number of gay families in that HHS study was statistically "a rounding error." It was insignificant, regardless of how the study's author defined the family.

Objectively, looking at the data, Franken is playing word games to make a distinction without a difference so that he can attack someone he doesn't like.

It's childish behavior. Period.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 21, 2011 07:10 AM

Playing word games to attack someone you don't like? Yup, that's the American right wing!

Posted by: Remember It at July 21, 2011 08:41 AM

The honorable Dr. James Joyner has thankfully retracted his previous position. He is a thinking man that deserves much respect for his honorable and impeccable journalistic integrity. I applaud his humble change of thought after careful consideration of the contextualization of facts presented.

Posted by: Proud American at July 23, 2011 07:05 AM