I can hardly bare to read the New York Times anymore. Their reporting seems to have rapidly deteriorated of late. Perhaps due to the new editor? The Sunday Magazine is a joke. Think you are going to get a story that will tell you something about the booming video game industry? No — you are just subject to inane quotes by an idiotic CEO who thinks he knows something about cavemen, but doesn’t really. Then there is this widely discussed piece on attitudes towards gay marriage:
This article by Katharine Q. Seeyle and Janet Elder is one of the most poorly written “poll stories” I have ever read. First, it reports only one side of the story: No pro-gay statistics are given in the story, despite the presence of many of import in the poll itself. Second, the numbers are glossed over in favor of misleading phrases suggesting more than the numbers would support. Third, the quotes are selective and overwhelmingly anti-gay. Fourth, its use of language is poor, particularly in light of the reporters’ admission that words do matter when discussing lesbian and gay equality. [UPDATE: Although I discuss it throughout, as a former headline writer I guess I should give that criticism directly as well: Fifth, the headline is awful.]
But what is really stunning about the poll results, and is not discussed by either Chris Geidner (quoted above) or Calpundit who made some similar points, is that while the article does state that “the most positive feelings toward gay people were registered among respondents under 30,” it seemingly dismisses what these statistics seem to show — that there is a drastic change taking place in how American’s view gay marriage. While respondents over 65 tend to view homosexual relations between adults as something that should be illegal (60%), those under 30 are the reverse (58% believe they should be legal). The same for legalizing Gay marriage, except even more extreme. Over 65ers are 79% against, while under 30 year olds are 56% in favor! When you see statistics like this they tell you something important about how attitudes are changing — and so for the NY Times to state the following is utterly inane:
Even in an age when gay couples are routinely portrayed on television and constitute a prosperous demographic that advertisers have been overtly appealing to, the Times/CBS News poll found the country still sharply divided over homosexuality.
The country is “still sharply divided”? These numbers tell a story of a country that is changing its views!
Fortunately, there are still a few good reporters allowed to work at the NY Times, and we do have some important stories getting published, such as the series on workplace deaths (Sunday’s is here) by David Barstow. Makes you wonder how long he’ll be around…