Crikey! Top Aussie journalists insert obvious errors into serious spousal abuse story

Crikey! Top Aussie journalists insert obvious errors into serious spousal abuse story

I've never been to Australia, but I've had a large enough circle of antipodean friends to know that "Crikey!" is an exasperation often used in conversation. What does the term mean? Click here.

It fits, in some respects, to the remarkable story the Australian Broadcasting Corp., known as "ABC," has put together -- on its website and on air -- about the links between spousal abuse and religion, specifically, in this case, Christianity.

Let me assert, up front and in the strongest possible terms, that anyone who abuses a spouse or domestic partner or boyfriend/girlfriend -- anyone -- deserves to be fully investigated and if circumstances warrant, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no excuse, whatsoever, for any violence in the home. For reporting on faith-based connections to domestic violence, ABC deserves to be praised.

Praise isn't all the web version of story deserves, however. It also merits some scrutiny, especially when paired with a video interview with reporter Julia Baird (see clip above).

The web story, with the click-attracting headline "'Submit to your husbands': Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God," begins with a suitably dramatic (and long) retelling of a harrowing incident:

The culprits were obvious: it was the menopause or the devil.
Who else could be blamed, Peter screamed at his wife in nightly tirades, for her alleged insubordination, for her stupidity, her lack of sexual pliability, her refusal to join him on the 'Tornado' ride at a Queensland waterpark, her annoying friendship with a woman he called "Ratface"? For her sheer, complete failure as a woman?

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What a shocker: Republicans have sex more often than Democrats (religion ghost alert)

What a shocker: Republicans have sex more often than Democrats (religion ghost alert)

It doesn't take a graduate degree in family-life studies or anything like that to be able to spot the religion ghost in this week's think piece.

In fact, author Nicholas H. Wolfinger of the Institute for Family Studies finally points it out, over half way through this short piece on the institute's website. The headline: "Sex in Red and Blue America."

Frankly, I thought the headline on this one would attract some press coverage, especially since it (a) is about sex, (b) is framed in terms of politics and (c) it's a perfect topic for those trendy lifestyles and features sections that seem to run ANYTHING that pushes buttons about (a) and (b).

So I have kept this think piece stashed away for a few weeks, figuring that I would eventually see mainstream news coverage of some of the hot-button material in it.

Guess what? I haven't seen anything. Have you? Ready for some of the steamy details? Here is a solid slice of core info:

... Republicans have more sex than Democrats and cheat less on their spouses. Political independents have sex even more often than Republicans but cheat at the same rate Democrats do. Republican sexual frequency is entirely explained by the fact that they’re more likely to be married than are Democrats. On the other hand, there’s no obvious explanation for the partisan difference in adultery.

Really now? Can anyone thing of some rather obvious statistical differences between people in red-state, flyover country and the power elites who are at the heart of the modern Democratic party?

At the center of the study is lots of data -- 25 years worth -- from the omnibus General Social Survey. The question isn't perfect, but it's blunt: “About how often did you have sex during the last 12 months?” Yes, that has lots of loopholes. Just ask Bill Clinton.

So why are the Republicans and red-zip-code people having sex more often than the folks whose lives get made into steamy novels, movies and pop songs?

Hint: It's time to start looking for religion-news ghosts.

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Reuters skips a key detail in Israel's wedding wars -- divorce

Everybody loves a wedding, or so culture would have us believe. However, according to a report from the Reuters news agency, not every Israeli likes the wedding options available in that country:

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Marriage vs. marriage (or, What is marriage?)

Yesterday morning there was quite a bit of activity in and near the Supreme Court of the United States. You may have heard about that.

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At last! Actual journalism on the same-sex marriage beat

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. I was an early skeptic of the war, back when that was a somewhat lonely place to be. Journalists who engaged in more cheerleading than skepticism toward that war have been spending the week issuing mea culpas for their failure to consider unintended consequences. In fact, so many people have been writing their “I was wrong” pieces that the contrarian in me wonders whether I should change my mind and now support the war.

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This wedding cake tastes a bit too sugary

To promote the institution of marriage, a California megachurch staged a series of mass weddings and vow renewals over the weekend.

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What, precisely, makes Stephenie Meyer so important? (updated)

My goal is to find that classic Washington Post piece — on A1 or the Style front — about the whole Beltway-women cult that surrounded the “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer. The key to this feature was that it focused on how guilty these feminists and hard-charging professionals felt about their desire to read these books. They were hiding them from friends and family. Women could not believe that they were falling for these novels.

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