A New York Times report on Mark Regnerus’s NOM-backed anti-gay junk science contains very substantial errors of fact.
Even as the malicious bigots of NOM continue to use the Times’s report as promotional propaganda for their commissioned anti-gay hit job, New York Times officials refuse to correct the errors of fact in their report, or to do a follow-up article about the known corruption of peer review ethics involved in the publication of the Regnerus paper.
The first error of fact in the Times’ report is the headline, which reads: “Debate on a Study Examining Gay Parents.”
The Times reporter and his editors refuse to explain how they first learned of the Regnerus “study.”
However, the appearance is that they largely copied their story off of a press release sent to them by Regnerus’s religious anti-gay bigot backers, who spent $785,000 on the study, an unusually high amount for a study that only surveyed a total of 2,988 people from an online panel, producing data that can be read in a single Excel spreadsheet.
Regnerus since has confessed, apropos of his survey respondents’ parents: “I do not know about their sexual orientation.” To state the obvious, if a researcher does not know about the sexual orientation of his survey respondents’ parents, he can not credibly claim to have done a study “examining gay parents.”
In its sloppy and irresponsible reporting on the study, the Times makes this astonishing claim: “outside experts, by and large, said the research was rigorous, providing some of the best data yet comparing outcomes for adult children with a gay parent with those with heterosexual parents.”
When the Times report was published, no “outside experts” had access to Regnerus’s data; it therefore would have been impossible for any “outside experts” to have evaluated the data.
As of the time of publication of this post, Times editors — including Times science editor Barbara Strauch — have refused to inform us of the identities of the “outside experts” who vouched for Regnerus’s research and data. Given that from Regnerus’s data, nobody can conclude whether any of his survey respondents had a gay parent, it is quite something that the Times feels satisfied with having reported that unnamed “outside experts” say that Regnerus provides “some of the best data yet comparing outcomes for adult children with a gay parent with those with heterosexual parents.”
The Times also reports on Dr. Paul Amato expressing support for the alleged, but non-existent validity of Regnerus’s work as being about “gay parenting.”
The Times incorrectly reports that Amato “was not involved in the study.”
In truth, however, Amato: 1) was paid to consult on the study’s design; 2) got Regnerus to pay his wife’s way for an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation in Austin; 3) offered Regnerus personal succor in emails when Regnerus was facing public exposure for his dishonesty in conducting and promoting the study; and 4) served as a peer reviewer of the Regnerus paper, after Regnerus recommend him to “Social Science Research” editor James Wright as a peer reviewer and then e-mailed Amato telling him he hoped he would accept the assignment to do peer review.
A study consultant permitted to peer review a paper from the study’s lead researcher has a fiduciary conflict of interest in talking about the study; no such person can accurately be described as not being involved in the study. Amato’s dollar worth as a study consultant is connected to public perceptions of the legitimacy of the study on which he consulted. Moreover, the Times failed to note that Amato has no training or experience in the scientific study of gay people generally, and still less in the esoteric topic of gay parents’ child outcomes.
After Amato was smoked out as a peer reviewer, he made this public confession: “I understand that providing a review was not a good idea, because one should avoid even the hint of impropriety in matters like this.”
NOM’s Maggie Gallagher — who has lied to the public by alleging that she was not involved in the genesis of the Regnerus hoax — frequently promotes the Regnerus paper by citing Amato’s praises of it without mentioning Amato’s fiduciary conflicts of interest. Here, Gallagher makes this claim: “Major family scholars such as Paul Amato . . .. affirm that this is an excellent study, indeed probably the best study we have to date on gay parenting.”
The Times report parrots a direct lie in a quote from Regnerus, who claimed to the paper that he had the idea for the study and then sought funding from The Witherspoon Institute. In truth, Witherspoon originated the idea for the study and then sought out a marionette bigot figure to carry it out. In an e-mail obtained via Public Information Act requests to Regnerus’s University of Texas at Austin, Witherspoon President Luis Tellez assured potential backers that the study would be carried out by people opposed to gay rights.
The motivation for Regnerus lying about the origins of the Witherspoon study, was to deliberately mislead the public into thinking that the study originated with a researcher with purely scientific motivations, rather than in a “think tank” manned by religious anti-gay bigots. Witherspoon was caught telling that same deliberate lie to the public.
Regnerus is part of NOM’s evil “expert witness project,” the latest product of which is Douglas Allen’s bogus study about Canadian high school graduation rates for children alleged to have been raised by gay parents.
NOM has sponsored anti-gay hate rallies where its chosen speakers yell through megaphones that homosexuals are “worthy to death.” The hate group appeals to antisemitism in the populace, when it perceives that doing so will further its anti-gay-rights goals. Internal NOM strategy documents released through court order showed that NOM was actively engaged in “driving a wedge” and “fanning hostility” between African-Americans and gay people. In an op-ed, the Newark Star Ledger called NOM’s strategies “sick beyond words.”
NOM’s Maggie Gallagher lies to the public about the Regnerus hoax; NOM’s Brian Brown, too, lies to the public about the hoax “study.” Brown has been uncovered as having taken a secret trip to Russia, where he used Regnerus’s hoax paper as part of his political gay-bashing to that country’s government officials.
The Regnerus paper and other papers from NOM’s “expert witness project” continue doing incalculable harm to innocent gay people all around the world. They have been used successfully in courts in Hawaii and Nevada to obtain anti-gay-rights decisions. In Russia, they were used to hate-monger against gay people, promoting the passage of extreme anti-gay legislation there.
It is intolerable that The New York Times refuses to print corrections to the errors of fact in its report on the Regnerus hoax. And, that the paper has not done a follow-up report on the documented corruption of academic ethics involved in the “study” shows us that at some level, Times editors continue to hold gay people in contempt.