Connect with us

Regnerus Anti-Gay Scandal: Open Letter To Texas Attorney General

Published

on

We have been reporting on a politically-motivated hoax “study” of supposedly gay and lesbian parents, funded through the National Organization For Marriage-linked Witherspoon Institute and carried out by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin (UT). The hoax study has been weaponized for use against gay rights in the courts and during the 2012 elections.

This reporter sent UT an Open Record Request for communications between Regnerus and his Witherspoon authority funder W. Bradford Wilcox.

In response, the University of Texas sent Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott a letter asking for authorization not to honor the Open Record Request.

Here is a letter subsequently sent to Abbott, explaining that the public has an overwhelming, legitimate interest in his telling UT to release the requested documentation.

**********

September 28, 2012

Honorable Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas
Open Records Division
Price Daniel Building
209 W. 14th Street, 6th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701

From:

Scott Rose
Investigative Journalist
Contributor
www.TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com

In Re:     Open Record Request #3 from Scott Rose to
The University of Texas at Austin –
  AG ID# 471661 (OGC#146221)

To Texas Attorney General Abbott:

I made the above-referenced Open Record Request for 1) communications between 2) UT’s Mark Regnerus and W. Bradford Wilcox, Director of 3)  The Witherspoon Institute’s program for Marriage, Family and Democracy, which is: 4) the chief funding agency for Regnerus’s New Family Structures Study (NFSS) carried out at UT.

For the record, Witherspoon’s 2010 IRS 990 form describes the NFSS as an “achievement” of Wilcox’s Witherspoon program.

I requested the communications because Regnerus and Wilcox have been deliberately dishonest in their public statements about the NFSS. They are seeking to mislead the public into believing that Regnerus carried out his study independently of influence from his study’s funders. Their deliberate dishonesty has undermined the trust on which science is based. Fulfillment of my Open Record Request is essential to beginning to restore public trust in science. The public has a legitimate interest in having access to the requested communications.

As UT explained to you in its September 24, 2012 letter about my Open Record Request, Regnerus and Wilcox have collaborated on NFSS data collection and data analysis. Indeed, Wilcox was issued, and signed, the Regnerus NFSS study consulting contract — for data analysis — to which UT assigned the “UT EID or Doc ID” number ww2897.  The record shows that Wilcox was paid $2,000 for that one contract.

Despite the clear documentation that Regnerus collaborated with his study’s Witherspoon funding agency representative Wilcox, both Regnerus and Witherspoon repeatedly have lied to the public by saying that no NFSS funding agency representative has participated in NFSS data collection, data analysis, study design, et cetera.

In his published study, which appeared June 10, 2012 in the Elsevier journal Social Science Research, Regnerus wrote: “the funding sources played no role at all in the design or conduct of the study, the analyses, the interpretations of the data, or in the preparation of this manuscript.” A PDF of “Additional Analyses” of the NFSS that Regnerus recently had accepted for publication in Social Science Research for November repeats that same deliberate lie.

Please note, Attorney General Abbott, that Wilcox is on the editorial board of the journal that published Regnerus, Social Science Research. Regnerus’s submission received no valid peer review prior to publication, as the peer reviewers were non-topic-experts with conflicts of interest. Note also that in his published study, Regnerus states that a “leading family researcher” from the University of Virginia was on his study design team. Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

Witherspoon established a stand-alone website to promote the NFSS to an international public. Wilcox obviously has editorial authority over that site. On the Q&A page of that site, Question 13 reads: “What involvement did the Witherspoon Institute have in the design, implementation, or interpretation of the NFSS?” The deliberately misleading response that Wilcox’s Witherspoon Institute gives is: “In order to insure that the NFSS was conducted with intellectual integrity, beginning from the earliest stages the Witherspoon Institute was not involved in the Study’s design, implementation, or interpretation.”

In a study of this sort, interpretation and data analysis coincide.  Data collection certainly coincides with study implementation. Witherspoon incontestably is lying in its Question 13.

These are far from being the only ethically-challenged public communications about the NFSS that Regnerus and Wilcox have made. Along with three other Witherspoon authorities, Wilcox signed an open letter in support of Regnerus under the banner of Baylor University, without disclosing that they are Witherspoon authorities and that Witherspoon funded and is promoting the NFSS. Wilcox’s Baylor letter, furthermore, contains multiple distortions of the scientific record.

No scientific authority without a conflict of interest with the NFSS has vouched for its methodology. In fact, in Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, the following 8 parties filed an amicus brief, in which the NFSS methodology is analyzed as being scientifically unsound: The American Psychological Association, The California Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The National Association of Social Workers and its California Chapter, The American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Additionally, a group of over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s in fields relevant to the NFSS sent the journal Social Science Research a letter expressing concerns about the study’s lack of intellectual integrity as well as about the suspicious rush publication schedule for it. The signers of that letter now include the President of the American Sociological Association, Dr. Erik Olin Wright, and the editor-in-chief of the premiere journal in this field, the Journal of Marriage and Family.

One example of the umpteen manifestly false and absurd “findings” in the NFSS will for now suffice. Regnerus asked his respondents “Have you ever masturbated?” According to Regnerus’s NFSS Codebook on UT’s NFSS site, 110 of Regnerus’s 2,988 respondents chose not to answer that question. However, 620 respondents between the ages of 18 and 39 said that no, they had never once in their lives masturbated. That data obviously does not correspond to empirically understood reality. The more so that Regnerus claims his study is generalizable to the entire population of the U.S., meaning, that according to Regnerus and Witherspoon, out of every 2,988 Americans aged eighteen to thirty-nine, 620 ( six-hundred-and twenty) have never once in their lives masturbated.

Witherspoon authorities and their associates are using the NFSS in the courts and in political campaigns, despite the manifest unreliability of the study. While UT alleged it was conducting a misconduct inquiry into Regnerus this summer, it had conflicts of interest; UT officials had placed advertorials for the NFSS as a favorable example of what the university produces. Throughout the inquiry, UT’s Communications Director David Ochsner was given to the public on the Witherspoon site as the contact for information about the NFSS.  At one point when I attempted to supply UT attorney Jeffrey Graves with documentation relevant to the inquiry, he told me in an e-mail that UT did not need to hear anything more from me.

In its letter, UT tells you that the state’s investment in UT’s research efforts must be protected. That actually is an excellent reason for my Public Record Request to be honored, as all other state investments in research at UT are imperiled by the way that the NFSS has undermined the trust on which science is based. The public understands that Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have deliberately lied about the NFSS.  The public understands that such organizations as The American Medical Association have — in official court filings — declared the NFSS’s methodology scientifically unsound. Therefore, the public looks at all research done at UT with suspicion. That suspicion, furthermore, is amplified by the matter of UT Professor Charles Groat. Groat conducted a study without disclosing his conflicts of interest. At first, outside groups urged UT to investigate, but the university refused. Only after additional pressure was brought to bear did UT decide to review the matter.

UT additionally told you that my Open Record Request must not be fulfilled because the NFSS “data can be used to validate the original survey instrumentation.” UT appears to be telling you that the public should not be allowed to fact-check the NFSS.

UT’s claim that people could use the requested communications as products for sale is absurd. Since his study was published, Regnerus has been saying he will release his raw data “soon.” The study is plainly irredeemably defective; no serious-minded sociologist of integrity wants anything to do with it or its methods. By contrast, allowing the public a better chance to understand exactly what Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have been lying about will go some distance toward restoring trust in science.

Conclusion

All arguments UT presents against release of the requested documentation are outweighed by the overwhelming legitimate public interest in release of the documentation. Regnerus, Wilcox and Witherspoon have told the public deliberate lies about the NFSS in hopes of better promoting the study to the public, out of non-science-based motives. The entire balance of public investments in research at UT — other than the NFSS — is in jeopardy so long as the requested communications are not released.

Sincerely,

Scott Rose

 

 

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

AOC Slams Anti-Biden Efforts: ‘My Community Does Not Have the Option to Lose’

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most-powerful voices in the House Democratic caucus, re-asserted her support for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as some congressional Democrats along with pundits, pollsters, and strategists have called on the President to quit his campaign.

The 34-year-old progressive New York Democrat in a nearly hour-long live video recorded after midnight declared her opposition to those proposing an “open convention,” where the Democratic nominee fro president would be decided, despite the 2024 primaries which Biden and Harris won. She blasted the numerous Democrats anonymously calling for Biden to end his campaign, and slammed those who have little to lose who appear to be behind the movement to oust the President, and those who have already concluded the Democrats cannot win.

“I will say, what upsets me is people saying, ‘we will lose.’ ”

“For me,” she continued, before taking a long, thoughtful pause, “I don’t care who – to a certain extent – I don’t care what name is on there. We are not losing.”

READ MORE: House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

“I’m about you, but my community does not have the option to lose. My community does not have the luxury of accepting loss in July,” she said before stressing, “of an election year.”

“Like, my people are the first ones deported. They’re the first ones put in Rikers,” she continued, referring to the infamous New York City jail. “They’re the first ones whose families are killed by war. And this is horrific. I’m not here to like say everything is amazing. Okay, I’m not here to say that like, oh, you know, to lie to people. What I am here to say is that we need to live, we need to make decisions in the conditions that we have before us.”

“Most of the Ocasio-Cortez’s nearly hour-long Live session focused on the risks of forcing Biden to step aside, including potential legal challenges from Republicans and ballot access deadlines in various states. ‘I have not seen a scenario, an alternative scenario, that I feel does not set us up for enormous peril,’ she said,” Business Insider reported.

“If you’re falling out of a coconut tree, God bless you,” she said. “If you’re riding with the President, God bless. I’m not an open-convention person. I think that is crazy.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez also made headlines by pointing out that she believes if President Biden were to step aside, Vice President Kamala Harris would also be targeted by some of the same Democrats trying to oust the President.

“I’m just going to say it: If you think that there is consensus among the people who want Joe Biden to leave… that they will support Kamala, Vice President Harris, you would be mistaken,” she added. “They are interested in removing the whole ticket.”

To those Democrats leaking opinions or being quoted anonymously, she had a few strong words.

“That’s b*llsh*t. If you have an opinion, say it with your chest and say it in public,” she said. “That’s a bunch of horsesh*t.”

Her Instagram Live remarks have over 80,000 likes and 6000 comments.

What her full video and the short clip above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

Continue Reading

News

House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Hispanic Caucus Campaign Arm Rally Behind Biden

Published

on

Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, in line to become Speaker if Democrats retake the House in November, Friday morning told reporters the presidential ticket has not changed and he believes President Joe Biden is capable of doing the job and winning re-election.

Jeffries’ remarks come amid calls for President Biden to exit the re-election campaign, largely from the “Democratic machine,” including pundits, strategists, and pollsters, along with some Democratic members of the House and Senate.

“President Biden, as I’ve said repeatedly, is our nominee,” Leader Jeffries said in Brooklyn Friday morning, according to video (below) posted by WNBC-TV managing editor Steven Bognar. “He has a tremendous track record of success. He’s one of the most accomplished American presidents in our history. And, he has the vision, I believe the ability, the capacity and the track record to make a case to the American people that will result in us being successful in November.”

“I’ve answered that question repeatedly over the last three weeks,” Jeffries also told reporters, as NBC 4 reported. “I’ve answered that question repeatedly, my answer has not changed.”

Also Friday morning the congressional arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its endorsement of the President’s re-election bid.

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

“The fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Bold PAC, has endorsed President Joe Biden for re-election, the Biden campaign said in a statement on Friday,” Reuters reports.

Forbes reported last week, “Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus, expressed support for President Joe Biden, bolstering Biden’s argument that his base is still behind him amid calls for him to step aside in the race.”

Also last week, The Washington Post reported, “Black House Democrats embrace Biden at another critical juncture.”

“The importance of the roughly 60-member Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) — which includes [Rep. James] Clyburn and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) — was on display Monday night as Biden met with the bloc in a Zoom call, the first with a group of elected lawmakers. The message that many Black Democrats planned to convey to Biden, according to the people familiar with the CBC’s thinking: We will stick by you as we always have.”

READ MORE: ‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Congressman Clyburn, who was instrumental in Biden winning the Democratic nomination in 2020, and the election, “has said publicly that he is firmly behind Biden but open to embracing Vice President Harris filling the role if Biden steps aside,” The Post reported.

But while last week the paper noted, “not a single Black House Democrat has defected,” Friday morning one member of the CBC did. U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) became the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to break ranks, as Punchbowl News’ Max Cohen reported.

MSNBC reports on Friday a total of six members of the U.S. House and one U.S. Senator called on President Biden to exit the race.

Watch video of Democratic Leader Jeffries from Friday below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

 

Continue Reading

OPINION

‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

Published

on

The fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Thursday is being panned by pundits, political strategists, grassroots voters, and even some in the press, as many express shock and condemnation over Donald Trump’s presidential nomination acceptance speech, or, as one critic put it, the “clinically-insane Trump speech.”

Chris Wallace, the former long-time Fox News anchor turned CNN commentator declared he was “disappointed,” and suggested Trump’s 90+ minute speech (transcript) helped President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.

Trump’s speech got off to a good start, Wallace said, but after awhile the GOP nominee, “couldn’t keep up the act, and so we started hearing about ‘crazy Nancy Pelosi,’ and cheating on elections, and talking about Biden. Frankly, it was a long speech, it was a rambling speech, it was a speech by an older man and I couldn’t help but think that the people who are going to be happiest tonight are not the people at Trump headquarters, but the Democrats, maybe at Biden headquarters, maybe at the headquarters of the people who think they are going to replace Joe Biden, but Jake, we have ourselves a presidential campaign again.”

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale reported Trump delivered at least 22 “falsehoods” during his remarks, including that when he left office, “the world was at peace.”


Even The New York Times, which critics say has often ignored or whitewashed Trump’s worst remarks and weaknesses while focusing on President Biden’s – to the point of calling for Biden’s exit but not Trump’s – ran this headline overnight, invoking the ex-president’s 2017 inauguration speech: “Trump Struggles to Turn the Page on ‘American Carnage’.”

“On the last night of the G.O.P. convention on Thursday, Donald J. Trump promised to bridge political divides, and then returned to delighting in deepening them,” the paper of record reported.

Meanwhile, conservatives – former Republicans and current, Never-Trump Republicans – led the criticism on social media Thursday night and into Friday morning.

The Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens, a top political strategist and former Republican, panned Thursday night’s GOP convention: “A man who beat his wife introduced a Republican nominee found liable of sexual assault the judge called rape. And the Republican Party thinks it’s great.”

“I’ve watched thousands of political speeches in thirty years in the business. This was by far the worst,” observed Mike Madrid, the Latino GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder, calling it “an unmitigated disaster.”

“Is anyone else seeing this with their own eyes?” Madrid asked on social media, referring to Trump’s speech. “Maybe, just maybe, this is what independent voters saw at the debate.”

“The [media’s] gonna call for his withdrawal after witnessing this obvious cognitive decline right?” Madrid also asked.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

He summed it up in one word: “Fiasco.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Denver Riggleman declared: “Media should demand Trump step down based on mental issues and incoherence.”

Fred Wellman, the former Lincoln Project executive director had a few words for top Democratic donors dissatisfied with President Joe Biden: “Hey Democratic big donors! Shut up and get back to work. Jesus. We are going to beat this loser like a drum.”

“The View” co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a Republican who opposes Donald Trump wrote: “If this clinically-insane Trump speech does not get Democrats out of their defeatist doldrums, and focused and energized around electing their nominee -instead of tearing him down- I don’t know what will.”

She added, “And you all are screaming that Biden has dementia….?”

Former Republican Rick Wilson, an award-winning political TV ad expert and Lincoln Project co-founder decimated Trump’s speech and invoked the nominee’s top campaign chiefs:

“Trump’s speech was, objectively, the single worst convention acceptance speech in modern history. It was a ramblefuck disaster from start to its long-delayed finish, and nothing is going to make it better. You know. I know it. LaCivita and Wiles know it. Utter disaster.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh added, “And one more thing: I don’t want to hear anyone in the media talk about Biden’s cognitive decline without also talking about Trump’s cognitive decline. Thanks.”

Republican Sarah Longwell, a political strategist and publisher of the conservative news and opinion site The Bulwark, commented throughout Trump’s speech.

“What would [you] say this speech is about?” she asked toward the end. Minutes earlier she remarked, “Rambling man.” And: “I dunno, this weirdo seems pretty beatable.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Have to Stop This Psychopath’: Conway Launches PAC Focused on Trump ‘Mental Instability’

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.