Editor Tries to Defend Stupid Comments About Single Moms, Fails


Last week, one Chris Powell, managing editor of the Journal Inquirer out of Hartford, Connecticut used his plaform to lay down some facts about how single moms are ruining journalism. Some people (us!) didn’t love this poorly written screed and used their platform to say as much. Powell became “the national journalistic pile-on of the month, overshadowing even the shutdown of the federal government,” he wrote Monday. Wow Chris! You’re famous!

Last week, Powell told Romenesko he wasn’t planning on writing more about the whole affair and was surprised people got so up in arms about it:

…I correlated the decline of the newspaper business — the decline of the news business generally, really — with the social disintegration all around us, and cited quite a few examples, including the collapse of public education and participation in elections. The disintegration represented by childbearing outside marriage, a frequent topic in my writing, was a prominent example because it underlies so much of the social disintegration generally, as it is child abuse and neglect. Even the liberal-originating social science has been confirming this lately.
Many single mothers took the now-infamous paragraph of criticism about welfare mothers as an attack on them, but the paragraph criticized only WELFARE mothers in some VERY SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.

Luckily for us, Powell has decided to extend his self-appointed 15 minutes of fame by publishing a clarifying op-ed where he does that cool thing that people who are wrong but don’t want to admit it do where they just make themselves sound stupider [emphasis ours and Ed. note: What is “anti-social behavior?” Is that like what’s happening in this BuzzFeed post?]:

It was said to be an attack on all single women, all single women with children, and all households with unconventional parenting. But the column criticized an entirely different group.

It was said to be “misogynist,” as if in the era of women’s equality certain women are not to be held responsible for their anti-social behavior.

It was said to be “racist,” as if the inability of much of the population to speak and read the national language does not impugn immigration policy and risk disunity.

“For many years now even the liberal social science research has reported that childbearing outside marriage is far more than a problem — that it is a society-wide catastrophe,” added Powell, before he burst into flames using kindling from the very publication he edits.

Powell’s latest op-ed largely deals with criticism he received from the Journal Inquirer‘s rival the Hartford Courant, which wrote that Powell has created “a mythic past“; the Courant (and others) took issue with Powell’s data concerning the number of “welfare queens” out there. Now Powell says he’s still right about those ladies, because the Courant‘s “own circulation figures” demonstrate that way more people in rich parts of Hartford buy the paper than in the less wealthy neighborhoods. He then wraps up all this fact-finding with a bang:

…for the Courant’s parent company, Tribune, which is selling its newspapers, the future is television — a future without any need for literacy. And there was nothing mythic about a past where Americans were educated, read, participated, and voted.

Actually what? There was nothing mythic about a time in which people who were allowed to write for publications could actually string a few sentences together that made sense. Those were the true good ‘ol days.

So social disintegration isn’t a problem for news? [Journal Inquirer]

Image via akesak/Shutterstock

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