What this week’s reporting in the media didn’t tell you about marriage

This week there were some inflammatory headlines based on the release of results from a survey on marriage and family.

The survey which was conducted by the Pew Research Center and Time Magazine was based on interviews with 2,691 adults done by cellphone or land-line during the month of October. An Associated Press article that was picked up nationwide blasted, “4 Out of 10 Americans Say Marriage Is Obsolete!”

For the record … this is reckless reporting.

Marriage is a fundamental relationship for any society. It may not be everyone’s choice, but it is important.

The reckless reporting of the past week will continue to dwindle the outlook of marriage unless we stand up.

Take a deeper look at the Pew study.

The research in itself is flawed.

The following is from the Pew Study report:

In an effort to capture the experiences and attitudes of those living in both traditional and less traditional family arrangements, the survey included oversamples of three key groups: (1) adults who are divorced or separated and have at least one child younger than age 18; (2) adults who are living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18; (3) adults who have never been married and are not currently living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18.

In other words, they oversampled using divorcees with kids, couples that cohabitate with kids and single parents. Could it be that any of these three groups have an adverse view on marriage?

Take a closer look at the numbers from the study and you’ll see some good things about marriage in the report, yet none of this surfaced in any media outlets.

Here are some key points from the Pew Research Center study along with headlines that could have been created in case mainstream media feels like they’d like to revisit the topic to get the story straight (taken from Lamar Tyler of Black and Married With Kids):

NEW HEADLINE: 6 Out of 10 Americans Say Marriage Is Not Becoming Obsolete

WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: The flip side of the number that ran in all of the headlines.

EXTRACT FROM PEW:
Some people say that the present institution of marriage is becoming obsolete—do you agree or disagree?” some 39% of survey respondents say they agree, while 58% disagree and 4% say they don’t know.

NEW HEADLINE: 70% Optimistic About The Institution of Marriage and the Family

WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: People were more optimistic about the future of marriage than they were about the country’s educational system, economic system or eroding morals and ethics.

EXTRACT FROM PEW:
-In the midst of all this change, the public maintains a positive outlook about the future of the family. When asked if they feel generally optimistic or pessimistic about the institution of marriage and the family, 67% say they are optimistic, 27% are pessimistic and 6% are unsure.

-Despite these growing uncertainties, Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67% say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country’s educational system (50% optimistic), its economic system (46% optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41% optimistic).

NEW HEADLINE: More Couples Think Their Marriages Are Better Than Their Parents

WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: Most married couples of today believe their marriages compare favorably with their parents.

EXTRACT FROM PEW:
Moreover, marriage may have been more prevalent a generation ago, but most married or cohabiting respondents today believe their own relationship compares favorably with their parents’. Some 51% say they have a closer relationship with their spouse or partner than their parents had with each other, while just 5% characterize their own relationship as less close. The remainder—43%—say there is no difference.

NEW HEADLINE: Americans Think Married Couples Make More Money, Find Happiness Easier and Have Great Sex

WHAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: Most of those surveyed whether single or married thought marriage made life easier in many instances.

EXTRACT FROM PEW:
For example, when it comes to being financially secure, 35% of respondents believe this is easier to do as a married person, while 11% say it is easier for a single person and half say it makes no difference. Similar patterns emerge for having a fulfilling sexual life, finding happiness and having social status. The two outliers from this pattern are raising a family (fully 77% say this is easier for a married person) and getting ahead in a career (just 14% say this is easier for a married person, compared with 24% who say it is easier for a single person).

Bottom line: remember that the media is out to sell papers and advertising – not to advocate for marriages or save families.

(photo source)

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