Wednesday, December 01, 2010

SUCCESS! Chris Matthews addresses distortion of Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council

Chris Matthews: On Monday night's edition of 'Hardball', we had a debate of course between the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok and the Family Resarch Council's Tony Perkins. The Southern Poverty Law Center labelled the Family Research Councel a hate group over its position on homosexuality. Well, during the debate Monday night, Perkins made this claim about what he says is the risk posed by homosexuality to children.

FRC's Tony Perkins: If you look at the American College of Pediatricians' research, they say the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a risk to children. So, I, uh, Mark is wrong. He needs to go back and do his own research, because this evidence is out there.
(end clip)

Matthews: Well, we need to note right now that the group Perkins sourced, the American College of Pediatricians, is not the same as the American Academy of Pediatrics, but a group of about 100 conservative-minded doctors that formed in 2002, in response to the Academy's support of gay parental rights. We like to straighten these things out.

Thank you everybody for your emails and correspondences to Matthews. While I would have liked for Matthews to have gone further in addressing what Perkins said, I think he made it quite clear that the group Perkins cited has a serious bias.

And just in case you need more evidence of this, check out these two past posts on the ACP:

The American College of Pediatricians and the Laundering of Junk Science

Phony Medical Group Attempting to Peddle Anti-Gay Propaganda to Schools 

Big hat tip to my online buddies at Pam's House Blend and Americablog.

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1 comment:

Patrick Hogan said...

Though I applaud Matthews for actually coming back with this and highlighting that the group is not a professional organization, it would have been nice had he come back to call out Perkins's...creativity...with statistics.

The 1980's study Perkins cited -- which, among other reasons to take his claims with a grain of salt, was never constructed to investigate the purported correlation between sexual orientation and child molestation, nor was it constructed to be representative even of the single state in which it was conducted (much less nationally representative) -- looked at a total of 229 cases of sexual abuses of children. Based on interviews with the convicted abusers, the study concluded that, of the 63 (if I recall correctly) cases of a male abusing a male, 54 were by someone who "self identified as homosexual or bisexual."

I haven't been able to find any criteria defining how that was determined or verified; presumably, they asked something to the effect of "Are you sexually aroused by males? Are you sexually aroused by females?" and accepted the responses without further question. Or maybe they simply asked the convict to state his sexual orientation; without more details, it's awfully hard to determine.

Whatever the case may be, 54/229 is ~24%, not the "86% of child abusers" that Perkins suggested.

The trick of throwing out statistics carefully crafted to give shocking values is a pretty old one in the anti-gay bag of tricks, and it's time the media stopped letting Perkins and his ilk get away unchallenged.