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Adele Horin complaint dismissed

My complaint against Ms Adele Horin was dismissed today by the Australian Press Council. Details of the adjudication by the APC dated 11 September 2009 are provided below. The details of my verbal submission made at the hearing held on 10 September 2009 a

Hi to Everyone

As an up-date, my complaint against Ms Adele Horin was dismissed today by the Australian Press Council.

Details of the adjudication by the APC dated 11 September 2009 are provided below. The details of my verbal submission made at the hearing held on 10 September 2009 are also provided below.

Regards

John
11 September 2009.
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Australian Press Council Adjudication dated 11 September 2009.

Adjudicated: 10 September 2009
Issued: 11 September 2009
For General Release: 18 September 2009
SMH: 17 September 2009

THE AUSTRALIAN PRESS COUNCIL
Adjudication No. 1435

The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint by John Flanagan, an officer of the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting), about a July 8 article by Adele Horin in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The article headed Divorced men better off but not happier referred to a press release of an analysis by the Australian Institute of Family Studies into the long-lasting financial impacts of divorce for women.

Mr Flanagan complained that the journalist misinterpreted the analysis "in such a way to achieve an outcome that wrongly suits a feminist agenda."

In its response the newspaper rejected this complaint and said the article was a fair, accurate and balanced report.

The newspaper also supplied an email from the lead researcher onthe project attesting to the article's fairness and balance.

In dismissing the complaint the Australian Press Council has reviewed the analysis in the press release and believes the published report does not breach Council principles.

 * * * * *

Inquiries:

The Australian Press Council

02 9261 1930

Level 10.02,
117 York Street
1800 025 712
SYDNEY  NSW  2000

info@presscouncil.org.au

Website: www.presscouncil.org.au

The Australian Press Council is a body that deals with complaints about the performance of every section of the press in Australia, including non-members.

Members of Council who represent publications complained against are excluded from any discussion of, or vote on, complaints against their publications.
______________________________________

Details of John Flanagan's verbal submission that was made on 10 September 2009 to the Australian Press Council

To the Australian Press Council - Details of My Complaint Dated 8 July 2009.

This was against Articles by Ms Adele Horin, viz

a. SMH 8 July 2009.

 Divorced men Better Off But Not Happier.

b. The Age 8 July 2009.

 Divorced Men Cry Poor But Better Off Than Women.

My complaint is that:

1. "Ms Horin misinterprets published information. This is in such a way to achieve an outcome that wrongly suits a feminist agenda."

2. "Adele Horin gets it half-right again. She then typically wrongly goes off on a tangent to justify her agenda."

2. Mis-use of HILDA Tables.

There are six categories in the HILDA tables. Two of the categories are "poor" and "very poor". These categories account for only 9.7 per cent (for men) and 4.0 per cent (for women). This is a very small sample of the overall population.

In other words, 90.3 per cent of men and 96.0 per cent of women are in the other four (4) categories "prosperous", "very comfortable", "reasonably comfortable" and "just getting along".

Ms Horin has used this small percentage to make a point that is not warranted based on the overall population size. This is without, at least, noting that there are four other significant categories.

Page 8 of the AIFS report dated 8 July 2009 does refer to all six (6) categories. The "poor" and "very poor" categories are mentioned 18 times in the Report.

Ms Horin mentions the "poor" and "very poor" categories once in a footnote (the SMH article only) and once in passing in the article. The other four (4) categories are not mentioned at all.

I note that the minor effect of the "poor" and "very poor" categories can be seen from Figure 1. This is in the Australia Institute article titled "Why Australians Will Never Be Prosperous" dated July 2005 (by Clive Hamilton and Claire Barbato). (This article was also referred in my complaint dated 8 July 2009).

3. Selective Picking of Information to suit an Agenda.

Ms Horin has inappropriately used parts of Tables 4 and 8 of the AISF Report dated 8 July 2009. This is then to make a composite table in her article. The composite table shows household incomes and self-assessed prosperity percentages for divorced men and women only.

The composite table inappropriately places an undue emphasis on divorced men and women.

In doing so, the bench-mark of non-divorced men and women is excluded.

Non-divorce household incomes are important. The Conclusion of the AIFS Report states that "it is important to take these pre-divorce differences into account when seeking to identify the impact of divorce on income and financial living standards."

In other words, lower pre-divorce household incomes would seem to have an impact on whether or not men and women get divorced in the first
instance.

It would appear that including non-divorced men and women did not suit Ms Horin's agenda. Although it would have had significant impact on the conclusions, Ms Horin came to.

I refer to a similar article by the same authors in my complaint dated 8 July 2009. It was written by David de Vaus, Michael Gray, Lixia Qu and David Stanton. The article was titled "The Consequences of Divorce for Financial Living Standards in Later Life" and dated February 2007. Both this article and the AIFS Report dated 8 July did refer to both non-divorced and divorced household incomes for men and women.

John Flanagan
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