Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Baird's religion report: illogical, unfair and quite possibly inaccurate.

If it was submitted by a trainee journalist Julia Baird's one sided report on domestic violence and the Christian church in Australia would have rated a fail and tought the young scribe some lasting lessons about objectivity, due diligence in research and balance in reporting. Instead the writer is in denial about her piece claiming on twitter:"For the record: there was not a single error in our piece on domestic violence and the church. Am about to publish a guide to the research."

Pieces published in The Australian today (see below) expose Baird's reporting, that resulted from a year of research (at your expense), as lacking balance, lacking inquiry and lacking judgement. The sad thing is that through her poor reporting the focus of the article has shifted to Baird herself and away from the victims of domestic violence.

It seems making themselves NEWS is becoming an increasing feature of reporting at the ABC of late. Take a big bow Chris Uhlmann.

Two US experts whose research was relied on by an ABC 7.30 television report claiming “sporadic” Christian church-goers are the worst wife-beaters say they were misrepresented, and the real message is that regular church ­attendance discourages domestic violence.
Phoenix Seminary theology and ethics professor Steven Tracy and sociologist Bradford Wilcox also said the ABC journalists said to have spent a year working on the religion and domestic violence series did not contact them either before or since the program went to air last week.

Facts go missing in ABC report on ‘violent Christians’
The ABC reports that this article was based on a year-long investigation. So they had a year to get this right.

They could have analysed existing ­national surveys, worked with ­serious scholars to conduct quantitative, nationally representative research on religion and domestic violence in Australia, or even fielded their own survey of Australian couples. But Baird and Gleeson, and their bosses at the ABC, did none of this hard work. ­Instead, they relied largely on ­research done in the US to make sweeping and illogical claims about religion and domestic violence in Australia.

So we really know nothing about how common domestic ­violence is among Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Buddhist and secular Aussies, what role relig­ious attendance plays in increasing or reducing the odds of abuse in Australia, or whether Australian clergy do a better or worse job of counselling abuse victims than other important figures in victims’ lives — such as psychologists and psychiatrists. That the reader is left so ignorant of the basic facts is perhaps the most scandalous and disappointing aspect of the ABC’s year-long investigation

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