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The state-of-the-art in what is best for children of divorce. Every parent, judge and family law attorney must view this video to save their children from the ravages of divorce.
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PBS's Negative Picture of Fathers
CHILD CUSTODY battles are always wrenching, particularly when there are allegations of abuse. For years fathers' rights groups have complained that men face a pervasive bias in family courts, while many feminists have countercharged that the real bias is against women. The latest round of this debate is being waged over a documentary, ''Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories," which has been airing on Public Broadcasting Service affiliates in the past month.
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The film's point is simple: Children in America are routinely ripped from their mothers and given to fathers who are batterers or molesters. The women's claims of abuse are not believed by the courts and are even held against them when mothers are suspected of manufacturing false charges as a divorce strategy.

To fathers' groups, ''Breaking the Silence" is blatant antidad propaganda. In a campaign led by the Boston-based Fathers and Families, PBS has been bombarded with thousands of calls and letters. It is now conducting a 30-day review of the research used in the film.

Film producer Dominique Lasseur told me he was shocked by the backlash. ''I have nothing against fathers," says Lasseur, a father of two, ''but I have outrage about children being given to abusers."

There is no question that our legal system fails children all too often. But the PBS documentary presents a skewed and sensationalist picture.

Thus, Joan Meier, a George Washington University law professor and one of the film's main experts, asserts that ''75 percent of contested custody cases have a history of domestic violence" and that about two-thirds of fathers ''accused or adjudicated of battering" win sole or joint custody of their children.

The website of the film's producers, Tatge/Lasseur productions, lists two sources for these claims: a study of 39 abused women involved in custody litigation in Massachusetts, and the 1990 report of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study Committee which states that fathers who actively seek custody obtain primary or joint physical custody over 70 percent of the time.

But the 70 percent figure was not limited to domestic violence cases. It is also highly misleading, since it doesn't separate custody disputes from cases in which the father gets custody by mutual consent. In contested custody cases, mothers are two to four times more likely to prevail.

''Breaking the Silence" seems to suggest that abusers who get custody of their children are virtually always male. In response to criticism, the filmmakers say on their site that since ''women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner," to feature one male victim of abuse alongside five women would have ''overstated the problems of men."

The accuracy of their figures is questionable: the federally funded National Violence against Women Survey suggests that over a third of domestic violence victims are male. That aside, doesn't featuring zero abusive mothers significantly understate that problem?

Lasseur told me that if he had encountered cases in which an abusive mother was awarded custody of the children, he would have reported on them. I asked about the claim on a battered men's advocacy site that a man named Tom Gallen had approached him with exactly such a case. Lasseur conceded that Gallen had a well-documented story but explained that, relying on his ''instinct as a producer," he felt that Gallen wouldn't be the right person to use.

It's difficult to assess the credibility of the stories actually used in the film, since their presentation is deliberately one-sided. (Lasseur told me that women's allegations of abuse are often ''dismissed because it's he said/she said," and that he didn't want to recreate that dynamic.) In at least one case, involving a 16-year-old identified as ''Amina," there are serious questions about the film's accuracy.

Official documents supplied by the girl's father, Scott Loeliger, and posted at www.glennsacks.com, show that there were fairly serious child abuse allegations against ''Amina's" mother. Moreover, the only spousal abuse mentioned in these documents is violence toward the father by the mother.

The documents also reveal a messy, complicated case in which most evaluators concluded that both parents were behaving ''abominably." ''Breaking the Silence" simplifies this into a straightforward story of a villainous man and a noble, victimized woman, and does so in the service of a film whose overall effect is to vilify fathers.

The filmmakers contend that their only concern was the well-being of children. Yet, if the film contributes to a climate in which fathers who seek custody are tagged as suspected abusers, it could endanger children as well. PBS should rectify this bias by presenting programs with a different point of view.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine. Her column appears regularly in the Globe.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

News By Us, not news bias Updated daily
NewsByUs – USA (A Rinaldo Must Read)

This one is written by a doctor in psychology. PBSgate

By: Guest on November 24, 2005


In airing Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories, PBS tragically has chosen to play the Dan Rather role in “tonight's performance” of "How to Lose the Public Trust."

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) web site states that "in selecting programs and other content for its services, PBS seeks the highest quality available. Selection decisions require professional judgments about many different aspects of content quality, including but not limited to excellence, creativity, artistry, accuracy, balance, fairness, timeliness, innovation, boldness, thoroughness, credibility, and technical virtuosity."

Over the years, PBS has aired many wonderful programs, such as the NOVA series, that have met those standards. However, with the recent airing of Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories, PBS not only clearly has lost its way but it has sled down the slippery slope of ideology so that one is left with nothing but fraudulent propaganda. Big Bird and Gordon, where were you when we needed you?

Numerous commentators have pointed out the slanted viewpoint, deceptions, and bizarre "statistics" presented in this program. Yet PBS continues to distribute and defend this program. How sad that PBS has chosen to cast itself as Dan Rather in his career-ending role as the newsman who refused to accept that he had broadcast a blatantly fraudulent program. Welcome to PBSgate.

What can PBS do to salvage its reputation? The production and airing of Breaking the Silence is so far from the lofty claims of its website that it is not at all clear that PBS can restore the public trust in its programming. If PBS wishes to try, however, it must do the following:

First, PBS must acknowledge that the critics of the program are correct, and that something went terribly wrong with its production and internal review process that allowed this massively flawed program to be aired. A candid and forthright acknowledgement is the first step.

Second, PBS must apologize to those harmed by the airing of this program -- the children and fathers of divorce along with the many individuals and organizations slandered. This would include individual fathers libeled by this program and the American Psychological Association (APA) whose position on the Parental Alienation Syndrome was so maligned that the APA issued a public statement labeling the PBS position as “incorrect.”

Third, PBS must counter the disinformation of its original broadcast and make restitution for the harm it has done. To do this, PBS must fund, produce, and broadcast a truly balanced and top quality program on the same subject that includes those voices silenced by Breaking the Silence -- the voices of the children and the fathers of divorce.

Fourth, PBS must strive to correct its internal review process to ensure that this lapse into propaganda does not happen again. As one who has viewed Breaking the Silence, I find it incomprehensible how any competent review panel could have approved this program. Even my 15 year old daughter who viewed part of the program with me immediately recognized most of the flaws.

Fifth, and lastly, everyone involved in this project must be held transparently accountable. PBS should put all parties involved in the production, internal review, and support of this program – from top to bottom – under review with an eye to dismissal for foisting propaganda rather than truth and balance on a trusting public.

Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Florida International University in Miami.


Monday,  December 5, 2005

   Dear Ms. Mitchell,
                                   As a past member of the Advisory Board to one of the PBS affiliates, and long supporter of the PBS, I felt saddened, disappointed, ashamed and disgusted (as many other have) at the flagrant liberty and latitude that the producers of the  Breaking the Silence were given to add insult to injuries perpetrated against many a family which first witness their destruction and then the ignominy of being mislabeled and their pain trivialized as was done by the said program.
As many first hand experiences, and unfortunately there is no shortage of them, would prove, such destruction of the family is caused by iniquitous courts.
It may be noted that the family constitutes the fabric of society. Its gradual destruction and dismemberment, by no small degree perpetrated by many courts in the land, ironically termed as family courts, leads nowhere but to tyranny.
And now PBS can have the dubious distinction of joining those courts.

The PBS ignored pleas for even-handedness prior to the broadcast, and violated the norms of fairness and journalistic integrity.
Now, the challenge ahead for the PBS and its controlling organization(s) are:

1- To extend an apology to the people of this country and immediately commission and broadcast a balanced and factual counter point showing (at similar time and day that the above-mentioned offending program was broadcast) the sufferings of children and their parents who pass through the insanely prejudiced and destructive, so-called family, courts.

2-  To produce and broadcast, at the very least, a factual and even-handed program exposing the open secret that is the destruction and pain caused every day by the corrupt court system and judiciary in direct violation of the state and federal laws, as well as contrary to the fundamentally protected rights we are supposed to have under the Constitution for the United States.
It may well be noted that federal case laws exist holding that violation of the Constitution by the judiciary is tantamount to treason against the United States.
Now, wouldn't that be an educational, informative and sorely needed public service that PBS could provide ! 

Many had been under the, apparently mistaken, notion that the Public Broadcasting System was a beacon of fairness and (journalistic) integrity.
We await PBS' response to see if it rises to the above challenges .

                                                           Yours Sincerely,

Dr. Amir H. Sanjari

Member: American Association of Physicists in Medicine

Phone: 270- 268 3086