Week Four

Adrianne’s Module 4 Blog – Analyzing a Major Story

Hello To All and Welcome to Week 4 for My Blog!

For this week, we were to find a major story on the topic I have been searching news stories for in the first weeks.  The story was to be published in the past 2 months and I was to analyze it deeply.  So, in keeping with my theme of trying to open my eyes to both sides of the coin on the topic of parental alienation in child custody cases, I chose a story that challenged my bias on this topic.  I believe if I go down the path of researching all the ways the news looks at my topic, both in the light that I agree with and the one I do not, I will have the opportunity to grow significantly in the area of digital media literacy.

The story I chose goes by the name of “’A Gendered Trap’: When mothers allege child abuse by fathers, the mothers often lose custody, study shows” .  I want to say that right off the bat when I saw the headlines, I expected to find a link to a completed study that shows significant numbers to prove what is being spoken about within the story.  After all, the research that backs the content within the story is based on an in-depth study completed on thousands of court cases involving custody, abuse claims of some sort, and whether it was the mother or father involved in making the claims or losing the custody after the claims were made.  However, some ways down the story, it is made clear that the study spoken about has not actually been published.

Now, the validity of the claims weren’t in question in my mind.  I have admitted previously that some parents will use parental alienation as an excuse to get away with abuse while others will use parental alienation as a form to unnecessarily cut the relationship between one parent and their child.  The problem for me is data, numbers, and statistics being used as a basis to discredit the idea of either parental alienation or abuse based from one gender, without a proper link to show where the information came from.  This part in itself raised so many questions as I read through this article.  Such as: statistics are very biased towards court cases that involve a mother losing custody due to abuse claims but could it be that less fathers have custody to begin with, thereby making the figures a bit off?  Also, it is mentioned that parental alienation is used as a way for fathers to punish mothers accusing them of abuse and the verbiage used is “overwhelmingly”.  What are the statistics for this fact and where has that information come from?

There are so many facts referenced in this article but I do not find that there are enough back-up links, especially without the finished study, to adequately prove the claims as they are stated.  For example, why not provide scientific links that could further explain what parental alienation is such as within the article “An understudied form of child abuse and ‘intimate terrorism’: Parental Alienation” or the study “Depression and quality of life in adults perceiving exposure to parental alienation behaviors”.  Maybe even provide statistics for other studies that show patterns of abuse within the child custody sector such as what you can find with the National Center for State Courts.  That is not to say that the links provided are not compelling, because the truth is that they are.  The stories within this story are horrible and are true examples of abuse where the system not only failed those mothers but parental alienation was used in order to further that abuse.

The writer may have not explicitly expressed their views on the subject, however, the wording does seem to point towards what the writer’s bias on the subject is.  The main thing I would like to see with many of these articles that talk about the subjects of parental alienation, child abuse within child custody cases, or anything within those realms is real provable facts and studies regardless of what side you stand on.  I think those aspects could provide a real unbiased and informational look into issues plaguing custody courts affecting both women and men.  I would give the story a letter grade of a B minus just for the lack of evidence for readers to verify data (not including the real stories used as examples as those were provided).  More so, I wished there could have been more links within the story based on statistics and data that I could research as this serious subject is a powerful one that deserves as much news coverage no matter what side you stand on.

Thanks for reading this week and until the next.