February 14, 2012

Have 98 percent of Catholic women used contraceptives? Not quite.

 at 11:02 AM ET, 02/14/2012

(The Guttmacher Institute)
Lydia McGrew questions whether 98 percent of Catholic women have actually used contraceptives, a figure that became ubiquitous in last week’s birth control debate. She parses the research behind the stat, which comes from a 2011 Guttmacher Institute study:
The survey was limited to women between 15-44. Ah, well, that explains how we weren’t including the elderly, but it also means that the silly “percent of all Catholic women” thing should be chucked out right from the beginning. More strikingly...it excluded any women who were a) not sexually active, where that is defined as having had sexual intercourse in the past three months (there go all the nuns), b) postpartum, c) pregnant, or d) trying to get pregnant! In other words, the study was specifically designed to include only women for whom a pregnancy would be unintended and who are “at risk” of becoming pregnant...a statistic based on a study that explicitly excluded those who have no use for contraception is obviously irrelevant to a question about the percentage of Catholic women who have a use for contraception.
I called up Rachel Jones, the lead author of this study, to have her walk me through the research. She agrees that her study results do not speak to all Catholic women. Rather, they speak to a specific demographic: women between 15- and 44-years-old who have ever been sexually active.
“If we had included women up to age 89, we would have probably found a lower proportion had ever used artificial contraception,” said Jones. “But the policies being implemented right now are ones that don’t effect them. Right here and now, we’ve got 98 percent who have ever used a contraceptive method. Those are who will be impacted by this.”
Jones’s study does not find that 98 percent of all Catholic women have used contraceptives. What it does, however, bear out is the claim that many have made with this statistic: that sexually-active, Catholic women do tend to use contraceptives at the same rate as their non-Catholic counterparts. On that front, Jones looked at women who had been sexually active within the past three months. You can see the results of that question in the chart above, where contraceptive use of Catholics look virtually identical to those of all women.

Inside Media Matters: Sources, memos reveal erratic behavior, close coordination with White House and news organizations

By 2010, Brock’s personal assistant, a man named Haydn Price-Morris, was carrying a holstered and concealed Glock handgun when he accompanied Brock to events, including events in Washington, D.C., a city with famously restrictive gun laws. Price-Morris told others he carried the gun to protect Brock from threats.
Late in 2010, other Media Matters employees learned about Price-Morris’s gun, and he was fired due to their objections. No public announcement was made.
According to one source with knowledge of what happened next, Brock was “terrified” that news of the gun would leak. “George Soros and a lot of groups connected to gun control are funding this group, and they wouldn’t be too happy that an employee of Media Matters was carrying a gun, especially when it was illegal in D.C.”
Meanwhile, Brock became rigid and harsh with his employees — “viciously mean,” in the words of someone who witnessed it. “He spent a lot of time ripping up researchers. It was abusive. I never understood why more people didn’t quit.” One staffer recalls Brock saying he would like to fire a researcher for being physically repugnant. “David definitely does not like ugly people.”
At times, Brock would become crazed with intensity, “obsessively” involving himself in research: “There was a point at which he would pore over every single piece of research we put out, 10 or 15 dense items a day. He would line-item all of it.”
David Saldana, the former deputy editorial director at Media Matters, concedes that under Brock’s leadership, “there were very harsh penalties for getting things wrong. And justifiably so. … There was no room for weakness. Things had to be gotten right.”
The atmosphere in the office was considerably more tolerant on non-editorial matters. “There were these two folks who got caught [having sex] in the communications war room on the weekend,” said one employee.
“People came in, and lo and behold there were two of their colleagues doing the nasty on a desk.” Neither one was fired.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/12/inside-media-matters-sources-memos-reveal-erratic-behavior-close-coordination-with-white-house-and-news-organizations/#ixzz1mOx3d2XN
Posted on | February 13, 2012 | 49 Comments and 11 Reactions
David Brock was smoking a cigarette on the roof of his Washington, D.C. office one day in the late fall of 2010 when his assistant and two bodyguards suddenly appeared and whisked him and his colleague Eric Burns down the stairs.
Brock, the head of the liberal nonprofit Media Matters for America, had told friends and co-workers that he feared he was in imminent danger from right-wing assassins and needed a security team to keep him safe.
The threat he faced while smoking on his roof? “Snipers,” a former co-worker recalled.
“He had more security than a Third World dictator,” one employee said, explaining that Brock’s bodyguards would rarely leave his side, even accompanying him to his home in an affluent Washington neighborhood each night where they “stood post” to protect him. “What movement leader has a detail?” asked someone who saw it.
Extensive interviews with a number of Brock’s current and former colleagues at Media Matters, as well as with leaders from across the spectrum of Democratic politics, reveal an organization roiled by its leader’s volatile and erratic behavior and struggles with mental illness, and an office where Brock’s executive assistant carried a handgun to public events in order to defend his boss from unseen threats. . . .
You can read the whole thing, and then consider how strange it is that someone with a clearly warped personality has such enormous influence:
Media Matters has perhaps achieved more influence simply by putting its talking  points into the willing hands of liberal journalists. “In ‘08 it became pretty  apparent MSNBC was going left,” says one source. “They were using our research  to write their stories. They were eager to use our stuff.” Media Matters staff  had the direct line of MSNBC president Phil Griffin, and used it. Griffin took  their calls.
Did I say “enormous influence“?
According to visitor logs, on June 16, 2010, Brock and then-Media Matters  president Eric Burns traveled to the White House for a meeting with Valerie  Jarrett, arguably the president’s closest adviser. Recently departed Obama  communications director Anita Dunn returned to the White House for the meeting  as well.
And did I say “clearly warped personality“?
During a 2008 meeting of the left-wing umbrella group Democracy Alliance  outside San Diego, Brock’s unusual behavior drew considerable attention.  According to a fellow attendee, “David completely lost his s–t. He started  getting incredibly aggressive. He alienated important people in the progressive  movement, like John Podesta [of the Center for American Progress] and Anna  Burger [of the Service Employees International Union]. Lots of drama. There were  a lot of conversations about David’s mental health.”
Two years later, at another Democracy Alliance meeting shortly after the 2010  election, Brock behaved in a way one prominent liberal who was there described  as “erratic, unstable and disturbing.” Brock’s aggression, this person said, was “hard to ignore and noticed by a number of people,” generating “quite a bit of  concern” about his condition. . . .
Last spring, some at Media Matters headquarters and in other parts of the progressive world were caught off guard by an interview Brock gave to Ben Smith at Politico, in which he promised to wage “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox News. “It was insane,” says a coworker. “David was totally manic at the time. We were all shocked.”
The story goes on and on and, beyond the specific revelations about MMFA in the Daily Caller article, there is a larger and more general scandal about liberal non-profit organizations like MMFA: The enormous gap in pay, prestige and privilege between the executives and the peons who actually do the work. David Brock and the other bosses at such operations not only collect six-figure salaries, but also certainly monopolize the perks that go with the job, including expense-paid travel to various conferences and meetings in resort locales where they “work” a little and relax a lot.
Ask anyone who’s spent much time in the D.C. non-profit world, and you’ll hear astonishing tales of the luxurious lifestyles of the 501(c) executive class, a lifestyle made possible by the work done by dozens of low-paid staffers. This is equally true, I should point out, of certain conservative non-profits — we need not name names — but such stuff is especially obnoxious when observed at liberal groups, which are ostentatiously devoted to left-wing notions of equality and social justice.
The poor underpaid slobs who toil inside a racket like MMFA tend to rationalize their work on the basis of “advancing the cause,” and perhaps also with the idea that one day they might get a shot at joining the non-profit political executive class. But the smarter ones eventually wise up to the racket and seek employment in the world of greedy capitalism, where one’s day-to-day work might not advance any glorious “cause,” but at least the unequal transactions aren’t dressed up in a lot of idealistic nonsense.
Congratulations to Tucker Carlson, Alex Pappas and the other underpaid slobs at The Daily Caller who put together this overdue exposé.
UPDATE: Richard McEnroe suspects that we have attracted trolls of theagent provocateur type, who are posting anti-homosexual statements in the comments in a stealthy effort to elicit derogatory reactions from other commenters, thus to “prove” that anyone who doesn’t like MMFA is a right-wing bigot. Whether or not McEnroe’s suspicion is justfied, I don’t claim to know, but consider yourself warned.

One Man's Lonely, Fruitless Search for a Media Matters Patsy

If you've missed the Daily Caller's investigative reports on Media Matters, you've missed a bunch of dirt about David Brock and a hilariously over-the-top 2009 e-mail from a former staffer recommending total war on Fox. You've also missed one of the more disastrous attempts at feud-starting that I've seen in one of these recent online media fooferahs. The target: Ben Smith, BuzzFeed's editor. The evidence: Anonymous sources calling him an easy mark.
“Ben Smith [formerly of Politico, now at BuzzFeed.com] will take stories and write what you want him to write,” explained the former employee, whose account was confirmed by other sources. Staffers at Media Matters “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith, they knew they could dump it at Plum Line [Greg Sargent’s Washington Post blog], so that’s where they sent it.”
The oddity: Nineteen grafs later, in the same story, Smith appears again as a trouble-starter.
Last spring, some at Media Matters headquarters and in other parts of the progressive world were caught off guard by an interview Brock gave to Ben Smith at Politico, in which he promised to wage “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox News. “It was insane,” says a coworker. “David was totally manic at the time. We were all shocked.”
If Smith was such a patsy, how did he end up damaging Media Matters? And he really did damage them -- the Brock interview became the basis for an attack by conservatives on Media Matters's tax-exempt status. Smith got Brock to brag about a "war on Fox." Dylan Byers, who was hired to help Smith in 2011, then took over his blog, responded to the new DC story by pointing out that it hyped a dynamite Media Matters planning that Smith had snagged for his Brock interview. The DC, wrote Byers, was "sourcing the same material as though it were exclusive a year after the fact."
The response from the DC: A piece by Will Rahn and Alex Pappas accusing Smith of a cover-up.
Smith curiously withheld key parts of the 89-page document when he published his story, “Media Matters’ war against Fox,” in March 2011.
The Daily Caller became aware of this after obtaining the same document while reporting the series “Inside Media Matters,” which debuted here late Sunday night.
Smith made no mention of Media Matters targeting organizations other than Fox News, such as the libertarian Cato Institute and the conservative Heritage Foundation. Nor does he reveal that, according to the memo, Media Matters was intent on researching Republican political figures like Republican former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and Republican Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, and the prominent libertarian political donor Peter Thiel.
Should Smith have posted the entire memo in 2011? I think so, but he doesn't regret it. "The reason that story doesn't stress the memo," Smith tells me, "is that Brock said things that were so much more compelling than anything in the memo. He called it 'sabotage and guerilla war.' Which was just … stronger than anything in the memo. So I led with that."
Plus: The memo, all available at the DC, is largely about Fox News. Smith's story was about Fox News. The references to Thiel et al cast them as figures in the Fox News network. An "opposition research team" would go after Thiel because he "directly funded, through a small government group, prior racist attack videos by James O'Keefe," who in the liberal imagination attained power because his videos blew up on Fox.
Does the Caller's story work without the media figures being presented as finks? I think it does: This is a highly interesting look into how an aggressive think tank works, and how it gets people to pay attention to its stuff. Let a thousand leakers bloom! But the attacks on Smith and others, which include no actual examples of them falling for Media Matters traps, paint a fictional picture of the media in which only DC reporters attack the liberal establishment. In his second piece of the series, about that 2009 e-mail, Carlson offers another funny scoop about the Brock-o-verse.
Finally, the memo suggests that drones in the Media Matters research department ought to ghost-write an extended hit on the network: “[W]e should write a book under David’s name that savages Fox News and Fox News employees. The market for this is likely huge.”
An exclusive? Almost. In his 2011 story, Smith scooped the details of that book deal. Media Matters, he reported, "hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor." And I've written this far without mentioning the neutron bomb Smith dropped on Media Matters in December, about liberal anger at the group employing Israel critics. The DC has a good story about how Media Matters's ambition and strategy; it doesn't have the goods about the media itself.