Here’s a terrible statistic:
THE Department of Community Services removes an average of 90 “at-risk” children from their homes each week, NSW Government figures show.
Here’s how Andrew Bolt tries to turn it into the fault of social progressives:
There’s a glimpse in this story of one of the factors behind the increase in child abuse – a collapse of traditional structures that reinforce responsibility and care…
Unless Bolt has another source he hasn’t cited in his post (“The rise of the feral parent”), the above is just empty posturing. Here’s what the original article said:
“Some children cannot live with their families because of abuse or neglect, or because their families might be unable to care for them because of illness, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence or poverty,” Ms Burney said.
Nowhere does it talk about “a collapse of traditional structures that reinforce responsibility and care” (whatever Bolt means by that – no fault divorce? Gay marriage? What?). A journalist looking for causes would, you’d think, start with the list cited by the Minister and see if there’ve been significant increases in those over the relevant period – has the incidence of serious illnesses increased? Has drug and alcohol abuse increased? Rates of domestic violence? Poverty? (I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s been a major factor over the last twelve months.) And, if you’re determined to add a new line of your own about “the collapse of traditional structures that reinforce responsibility and care”, then not only should you specify what you mean, but give some evidence that they’re increasing and are linked to the reported increase in child abuse. And you would then report them in your piece.
Unless you’re just playing to the gallery and talking empty garbage, of course, in which case you can do what you like.
NOTE: I have attempted to email Bolt to ask him the following questions:
1. What do you mean by “a collapse of traditional structures that reinforce responsibility and care”? What “collapse”? What “traditional structures”?
2. Did you seek any evidence whatsoever linking whatever you mean above to the reported increase?
3. Did you look into any of the other suggested causes in the original piece (“illness, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence or poverty”) before writing that it was because of this “collapse of traditional structures” instead?
Unfortunately the Herald Sun email server seems determined to protect Andrew from any contact from ERIC BEECHER’S SITE (note: I’m kidding; I’m sure it’s just a technical issue), so it kept bouncing back. I’ll post his reply if he gives us one.
UPDATE: Apparently Bolt is emailing the wingnuts* to explain his failure to respond to the above, and yet he still hasn’t replied to the email. Even though he’s obviously aware of it, and the questions it contained, as reprinted above.
Just out of interest, Andrew, how would you prefer us to contact you on the weekend before we publish? Since your given email doesn’t seem to work for us?
*You’ll forgive me if, given that particular wingnut’s long history of digging into my private life, I don’t link to him.