Nov 1 1999

Not All Domestic Violence Studies Are Created Equal

Researchers are "advocates" or "pioneers"--depending on what they find

Recent media responses to a Department of Justice (DOJ) study on domestic violence raise an interesting question: What makes some DOJ studies less “scientific” than others? How can the same agency at times be a bastion of impartial science, and at others be a purveyor of questionable, ideology-driven data? The answer can be found not in the sponsors or the methodology of the studies themselves, but in their results. It isn’t hard to decipher the code: Researchers whose findings show that domestic violence is predominately perpetrated by men to exercise control over their female partners are often “feminist theorists” orchestrating […]

Jan 1 1998

Forgotten Behind Bars

Abuse of women in prison doesn't "set off" media

When the Supreme Court upheld a judge’s decision to cut by more than half the suggested prison sentences of the police officers who beat Rodney King (to 30 months), there was no media outcry calling the justices, or the public, “soft” on cops who commit crimes. Yet when a Cambridge judge decided to let Louise Woodward go free on time served, the same media that had blanketed the nation with emotive reporting on the British au pear lashed back at the public. “There’s just something about a woman behind bars that sets people off,” suggested Laura Mansnerus in a front-page […]

Sep 1 1997

Life Without Father

Feminists' exclusion skews debate on dads

In July, the anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum scored a double win worthy of the Women’s National Basketball Association: IWF representatives published op-ed articles in the New York Times (7/10/97) and the Wall Street Journal (7/11/97) on consecutive days with the very same message. And the message was repeated a third time on CBS Evening News (7/13/97), where Laura Ingraham, an IWF founder, has a regular soapbox slot to “comment,” unchallenged, on the news. (Ingraham is now misleadingly identified by the New York Times as a “news analyst.” CBS tags her as a “commentator,” airing no feminist to “comment” back.) The […]

Oct 1 1994

Battered Men? Battered Facts

Husbands are battered as much as wives in the U.S.? John Leo, syndicated U.S. News & World Report columnist, is sure of it. “There’s no doubt about this,” Leo said as a guest on CNN‘s Crossfire (7/2/94). “It was established in 1980 by a female researcher.” When co-host Michael Kinsley asked him if it seemed plausible that women were as violent as men, Leo dismissed the question. “We don’t have to cogitate this,” he said. “The evidence is in. All these studies have established this.” Leo is not alone in insisting on parity between battered men and battered women. Domestic […]

Jul 1 1994

A Hell of a Nice Murderer:

Double Standards in Domestic Violence Coverage

Tired of reporting fraught with double standards and a blame-the-victim mentality, a coalition of women’s rights advocates in San Francisco decided to study daily press coverage of violence against women. Barbara Johnson, an independent media critic who frequently works with FAIR, conducted an eight-month study of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner‘s coverage of domestic violence cases that resulted in death. The survey documented that “many myths about domestic violence are perpetrated in news reports” and that most reporting focuses only on the most sensational details. One disturbing pattern uncovered was that white male perpetrators were frequently described […]

Apr 1 1993

Domestic Violence Campaign: Super Bowl Success Sparks Good Ol’ Boys’ Backlash

Violence against women (photo: Pietro Naj-Oleari/European Parliament)

Shortly before the start of the Super Bowl on NBC this January, viewers saw a public service announcement that warned: “Domestic violence is a crime.” For some, the PSA came as a surprise, but not for those involved in the campaign to get 30 seconds of airtime donated to the ad. The moment (worth roughly $500,000 to advertisers) was the result of many weeks of work by FAIR and a coalition of anti-violence groups in negotiation with executives at NBC and NBC Sports. Workers at women’s shelters, and some journalists, have long reported that Super Bowl Sunday is one of […]