Dog bites man. OneNewsNow distorts sexual orientation research.
In a great example of why I hope Janet Porter’s prayer to take over the media is never realized, OneNewsNow distorts the import of Elan Karten’s doctoral dissertation research reported recently in Journal of Men’s Studies.
Here is the OneNewsNow title:
‘Orientation’ change efforts effective.
Here is a statement from Karten and Wade (p. 86):
The purpose of the study was not to replicate findings from prior research or establish the efficacy of this treatment.
Now the way NARTH discusses the study, one might think replication of prior change research was the intent, but it was not a study that was designed to “establish the efficacy” of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE). Rather, the authors surveyed 117 men who were trying to change and asked them what seemed to be working in their quest. It was not an outcome study and there were no follow up interviews with any of the subjects.
OneNewsNow says this:
Researchers at Fordham University have released a study showing that homosexual men can change their “orientation” by developing healthy, non-sexual relationships with other men.
As noted by the article, the study did not demonstrate change via any mechanism nor was the stated intent of the study to establish this finding. The study was not designed in such a way that change could be verified. Karten recruited participants from Journey Into Manhood participants and from therapists who conducted change therapy. The subjects were only required to have some same-sex attraction, meaning that we do not know how many, if any, exclusively homosexual men were in the study. There was only one measurement of sexual attraction via the survey with no follow up measures. Thus, change was not really measured, in that there was no pre-treatment or post-treatment assessments. Participants were asked to rate how helpful various interventions had been and various characteristics relating to masculinity. Nothing causative can be inferred from any of the reported correlations.
There are several problems with the study which make any interpretations of findings speculative but I will return to that in a future post. For now, it is clear that the Karten article contradicts the reporting of OneNewsNow.
This is not the first time OneNewsNow has skewed facts regarding sexual orientation research. For instance, when the APA sexual orientation task force reported findings in August, 2009, OneNewsNow reported uncritically the incorrect view that the APA recommended that evangelical gays should change churches to join affirming groups. In my blog at US News and World Report, I pointed out that OneNewsNow refused a request to correct the record. In fact, when I called to point it out, the reporter hung up on me.
So when Janet Porter prays that Christians take over the media and that CBS should be the Christian Broadcasting System, I cringe. OneNewsNow is owned by the American Family Association, one of the sponsoring organizations for the May Day 2010 taking place this Saturday. In the program for that event, this prayer is offered for the media:
-Repent for how the media has turned its backs on God and the truth.
-Repent for how they have become activists for evil.
-Invite God back into the media to guide and direct reporting in a truthful way.
As noted in this video and the above prayer, Mrs. Porter proposes that truth will be served if Christians reclaim media. Well, I am all for truthful reporting. However, this OneNewsNow report demonstrates how beliefs about the truth can lead to inaccurate and biased reporting. To me, doing media Christianly at least involves getting all the facts and reporting them accurately, whatever the story might be.