Wednesday, January 07, 2009

L. Walker's Selective Reporting

I suppose that if you can't deal with all the facts, then just print the ones you like.

Here's L. Walker of the JS, commenting on the Elmbrook sex-ed situation.

A newly reported study last week from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that teens who took the virginity pledge were just as likely to engage in premarital sex as those who didn't take the pledge.

More disconcerting, they were less likely to use condoms or other precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

The findings reaffirm earlier studies that found that abstinence-only education just isn't effective, no matter how much parents hope or say it is.

Since it follows that teens will indeed engage in sex, even when they say they won't, they need to be armed with accurate and complete information about the risks and other prevention methods.

Better too much information than not enough.

Unhhhhh, yah.

Then there's Bob Rector's take:

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow on domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation, questions the new study from Johns Hopkins University.

“It was really quite extraordinary that you find in this survey that kids who took this very brief exposure to virginity pledges have dramatically better life outcomes compared to kids from the same socio-economic background,” Rector told CNS News.

He said it included “dramatically lower rates of teen births, abortion rates down, teen sex down, out of wedlock births down, number of sexual partners down a third to a half compared to kids from a similar socio-economic backgrounds."

And note the adjective used in this sentence:

Other studies back up Rector's views and put the JHU study at odds with the bulk of the research on abstinence education

Another take on the same study:

The real headline from this study is this: "Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge."

The first to notice something lost in the translation was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health. Today she serves as health editor for U.S. News & World Report. And in her dispatch on this study, Dr. Healy pointed out that "virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general -- a fact that many media reports have missed cold." (--McGurn)

Ms. Walker could take a short course in "Google," but that assumes that she actually has an interest in the children whose futures are at stake.

And she could have discovered what McGurn did--after all, it's in the Wall Street Journal. Maybe she'd have learned something.


Scott said...

Yes, Google is a wonderful thing. When I search for virginity pledges" I get a page of results which include the following: about seven mainstream news stories about studies showing that they don't work, one wikipedia entry also referencing several studies indicating that they do not work, and one--one--link in support of the idea that it works. Which link is it? Why the one to the Heritage Foundation, of course.

The very idea that you're accusing the other side of "selective reporting" is burying the needle on my irony-o-meter.

Ken & Carol said...

I don't follow your logic Scott. Or is your comment an example of deep irony? If so, then I'm not sure I follow that either.

Dad29 said...

SEVEN MSM stories? And, pray tell, Scott, were they all referring to the selfsame Johns Hopkins study?

So to you, the presence of stories indicates the validity of the proposition, eh?

Wow. That's deep research, indeed.

Amy said... mainstream news stories about studies showing that they don't work, one wikipedia entry...

Yes, all FINE examples of unbiased, factual, non-agenda driven reporting...