Washington Post’s Dishonesty about Domestic Violence

Washington Post’s Dishonesty about Domestic Violence
Image: Washington Post cover screen grab

The news media find themselves in much-deserved ill repute.  The public generally neither likes nor trusts the legacy media.  A Gallup Poll just four months ago found that an astonishing 66% of Americans have either little trust (28%) or no trust at all (38%) in the MSM.  The category of “no trust at all” stands at an all-time high.

Unsurprisingly, individual bloggers, podcasters and independent news outlets have seen huge increases in readers and viewers.

Gallup’s data show that Americans’ trust in the news media has been declining since the mid-70s, but their reporting while Donald Trump was in office and since has only made matters worse.  Again and again, much of the corporate media got it wrong, either accidentally or purposely.  Editors routinely gave a pass to the abandonment of what were once considered basic journalistic standards; narrative replaced factual honesty and balance.

Center-left commentator Andrew Sullivan summarized the matter nicely:

But when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem.

Indeed we do, but once-respected outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN apparently found nothing amiss and simply continued the trend.

Today, We the People don’t believe the media to be honest, and with good reason.  Here’s Gallup’s conclusion:

The current level of public trust in the media’s full, fair and accurate reporting of the news is the second lowest on record. This new confidence reading follows Gallup’s historically low confidence in both TV news and newspapers in June and a new low in December’s annual rating of the honesty and ethics of television reporters. Newspaper reporters received similarly low ratings in the same poll.

Yes, it seems that abandoning basic “honesty and ethics” is a poor plan for getting folks to trust you.

Now we learn from the Coalition to End Domestic Violence that there’s moreThe CEDV gathers data on domestic violence and is active in the movement to reform our misguided laws and policies thereon.  According to the CEDV, over the last decade the Washington Post has issued a steady stream of misinformation about domestic violence.  It lists WaPo articles from 2013 to 2023 that all promote frankly false narratives of DV, including the sidelining of men as victims and women as perpetrators.  One such op-ed on the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard case was so bad that it resulted in a hefty libel judgment.  Tellingly, a Google search reveals that the last WaPo piece to offer a balanced view of DV was published in 1993, almost 30 years ago.  Amazing, but true.

The simple facts on DV are well known and have been for decades.  As early as 1971, Erin Pizzey, who opened the first women’s DV shelter in England interviewed women escaping violence and concluded that about 60% of them were, in her words, “as violent or more violent than the men they’d left.”  Subsequent research revealed women to be at least as likely to commit violence in their intimate relationships as are men.  By now, over 340 reliable studies have found the same thing.  Most recently, a report from the CDC finds that, in the CEDV’s words, “each year, 6.4 million men and 5.6 million women are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner.”

But the MSM generally and the Washington Post in particular show no signs of admitting the truth they’ve known for at least 40 years.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating that, if you refuse to admit the true levels of perpetration by women and victimization by men, you are quite frankly uninterested in addressing the issue of domestic violence.  Pretending that 50% of the victims and 50% of the perpetrators don’t even exist indicates nothing less than your contentment with the status quo.  After all, if there are no male victims, it’s acceptable that there are no services, no shelters for them.  If women don’t perpetrate violence against their male partners, then we need no services, no psychological interventions to help them change their ways.  To be altogether clear, when the MSM and the DV establishment insist that they want the incidence of DV to decline, they’re not telling the truth.  They’re content with battered men and battering women.  Period.

But it’s worse than that.  Much of the injury done to women from intimate partners comes as retaliation by that partner.  That is, when the woman hits first, she’s often injured by her partner’s response.  If she hadn’t hit to begin with, she likely wouldn’t have been in return.  A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that, in 70% of cases of reciprocal DV, it was the woman who initiated the violence.

So, by continuing to assert, against all the reliable evidence, that women aren’t violent to their intimate partners, the DV establishment not only denies female perpetrators valuable services, but increases the number of them injured.  It’s a kind of evil genius, I suppose – sidelining male victims while making life for women more dangerous than it needs to be and all for the purpose of raking in hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars to neither solve nor even effectively address the problem.  Such is the state of play.

Therefore, to the MSM’s contempt for the truth about an array of other issues, we can add dishonesty about domestic violence.  And the public’s perception of the trustworthiness of the press continues to plummet.  As it should.

This article originally appeared at The Word of Damocles.


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