For the Christian right and its media mouthpiece, Fox News, things were so much better when families consisted of two married parents with a bread-winning dad and stay at home mom. So in order to disparage those slutty single mothers, purveyors of "traditional" morality cling to the belief that all children, in all single parent households, are at a disadvantage. Thus, heterosexual marriage is the only acceptable framework in which to raise kids who otherwise would be raised by lazy takers. This morning, Fox & Friends hosted a sociologist whose research shows that the economics of today's diverse families don't fit the right wing paradigm of the supposed two parent optimum. But Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson, not a sociologist, wasn't swayed by the data, so there!
The opening graphic, taken from a study, was "kids w/ bread winner dad" which, in the glory days of 1950 was 65% as opposed to 22% in 2010. As the graphic was shown, traditionalist Tucker Carlson said "that's changed and not for the better." He asked "is this progress." He introduced professor Phillip Cohen, author of "The Family, Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change" and the study which produced the above cited data.
In framing what was obviously the pre-scripted propaganda message, Carlson said "it sounds like the family, as we used to conceive of it, has collapsed." Cohen said that "collapsed" could be applied to the traditional categories of father as bread winner and stay at home mother but now we have a diversity of family forms where no one category is dominant. (Oh, nooo.....) He cited other examples of families.
Clayton Morris cited "plummeting" statistics that showed the decreasing percentage of kids living with married parents. Cohen spoke about the different dynamics of marriage and childbearing. Carlson, not a sociologist, opined that "it's pretty conclusive that kids who grow up with married parents, biological parents do way better than kids who don't so the fact that the percentage of kids growing up in that environment has been dropping, why wouldn't we call that a tragedy?"
Cohen noted that while there is an income benefit for kids in two income families, those who grow up in a single parent household, where the income is adequate, "do fine, on average." He noted that while there are "challenges for lack of resources, family structure per se is not as big a factor as you might think." Carlson, loudly, interjected "hold on, wait a second, you're saying, I don't think this is true, that people who grow up with single mothers if they have enough money do as well as people who grow up with a father in the home." He asked "is that accurate?" (You mean dads are not essential, Oh, nooo.....)
Cohen responded that a high income single mom would be in a better economic situation than a low income married couple. (Oh, nooo....) He said that we need to think about the challenges of "all different arrangements." He said that only a third of people in poverty are living in single parent families and that there is large poverty problem in married families. Clayton Morris (divorced and remarried) asked if "the idea of this nuclear family, father going off to work, the breadwinner, the mom staying home raising the kids...is that dead, we just throw that out for good." Cohen noted that this type of family, "certainly isn't living very healthily at the moment." He added that the biggest changes are in women's employment and education. (Oh, nooo....) He noted that people are no longer forced to stay in unhappy marriages (like Bill O'Reilly's?) and have many more options. After he said that there are many "pro's and cons," Carlson chimed in "mostly cons if you're a kid."
Hmmm. Doesn't look like the propaganda message got delivered as effectively as was intended. But hey, if you don't like the conclusions of what, in the real world, passes for real scholarship, just stay in your own alternate reality.
If Tucker Carlson thinks he's anything other than a vapid right wing tool, he can keep on pretending!