Letter to the Editor

Our president Ben Koons and vice president Christian Say had their letter to the editor about the Daily Princetonian’s print edition headline of Ryan Anderson’s talk published today.

Here’s the Prince’s headline:

Anscombe Supports (Media) Equality! This headline is absurdly biased.

Anscombe Supports (Media) Equality! This headline is absurdly biased.

Here’s Koons and Say’s letter in its entirety:

Letter to the Editor: Anscombe supports (media) equality

Regarding “PEP supports equality at marriage talk” (Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013)

The Anscombe Society would like to thank Regina Wang for her well-balanced piece covering our event last Thursday with Ryan T. Anderson ’04 speaking about marriage. We believe, however, that the editors of The Daily Princetonian did a poor job of respecting Wang’s balanced news coverage in the framing of her story.

Unfortunately, the print edition’s headline following Anderson’s lecture misleadingly read, “PEP Supports Equality at Marriage Talk.” Had the editors paid any attention to the event itself, they would have known that Anderson observed up front that both sides of the marriage debate are in favor of marriage equality — contingent upon what marriage itself is defined to be. The headline pushed through by the editors of the ‘Prince’ was the mark of a biased editorial staff.

Further proof of this lies in the discrepancy between the headlines of the online and print editions. Online, the Anderson article has the much more balanced title, “With demonstrators in the audience, Heritage Foundation fellow Anderson ’04 urges traditional understanding of marriage.” This headline was released soon after Anderson’s lecture, and the discrepancy between this balanced title and the biased print version reveals a conscious editorial decision to manipulate the coverage.

This poor framing of an otherwise generally well-written story should come as an embarrassment to the ‘Prince.’ We hope to see better editorial decisions in the future.

Ben Koons ’15 and Christian Say ’16

President and Vice President of the Anscombe Society

News Coverage: Anderson Talk

Our school’s main daily paper the Prince has written a news story about Ryan’s great talk last night. Click here for the full article.

Our event last night was today's headline!

Our event last night was today’s headline! But what an awfully biased headline.

Here’s the meat of the article:

In a philosophical vein, Anderson used an Aristotelian analysis involving the terms of action, goods and commitment to arrive at a definition of marriage. He also said that the definition of marriage between a man and a woman is found in many different cultures at many different periods.

“There’s something about this understanding of marriage that resonates with human nature,” he said.

Moving on to the realm of public policy, Anderson argued that the government should regulate marriage and noted the benefits for children who grow up in households with mothers and fathers.

The article also mentions the protesters at last night’s event:

Before the event, members of the Princeton Equality Project gathered at the building entrance handing out pins and posters to arriving audience members. A number of students came draped in rainbow flags.

One of the event’s goals was to keep the marriage issue live, and a quote from the article indicates we may have been successful at that:

PEP [Princeton Equality Project] member Kelsey Dyer ’17 said many members of the LGBT community had come to respectfully hear what Anderson had to say while also making their presence known in hopes that the event could be part of an ongoing dialogue about the meaning of marriage.

 

Pluralistic Ignorance and the Hookup Culture

I just stumbled upon this interesting article from 2003. To quote a bit:

“Pluralistic ignorance, a concept first coined by Floyd Allport (1924,
1933), exists when, within a group of individuals, each person believes
his or her private attitudes, beliefs, or judgments are discrepant from
the norm displayed by the public behavior of others. Therefore, each
group member, wishing to be seen as a desirable member of the group,
publicly conforms to the norm, each believing he or she is the only one
in the group experiencing conflict between his or her private attitude
and his or her public behavior.”

Unsurprisingly, the researchers concluded that pluralistic ignorance played a role in encouraging the hookup culture: people tended to think that others were more comfortable with sex than they actually were, and would conform their behavior to that expectation.

As the article notes, pluralistic ignorance has been linked to college-aged alcohol consumption in a similar way. And many administrations have responded accordingly; at Princeton, for instance, we’re required to take an online course called AlcholEdu which repeatedly reminds us that not everybody is drinking.

I wonder, though, why colleges don’t take a similar approach to hooking up? It’s clearly not particularly healthy for the undergrads involved. (Don’t believe me? Check out Unprotected.) And the data certainly indicates a discrepancy between actual and perceived student behavior: in 2000, Princetonians estimated that 32.5% of their classmates had had fewer than 2 sexual partners within the past year, whereas in reality 79.4% of students had had fewer than 2 sexual partners in the past year.

Pluralistic Ignorance and the Hookup Culture

I just stumbled upon this interesting article from 2003. To quote a bit:

“Pluralistic ignorance, a concept first coined by Floyd Allport (1924,
1933), exists when, within a group of individuals, each person believes
his or her private attitudes, beliefs, or judgments are discrepant from
the norm displayed by the public behavior of others. Therefore, each
group member, wishing to be seen as a desirable member of the group,
publicly conforms to the norm, each believing he or she is the only one
in the group experiencing conflict between his or her private attitude
and his or her public behavior.”

Unsurprisingly, the researchers concluded that pluralistic ignorance played a role in encouraging the hookup culture: people tended to think that others were more comfortable with sex than they actually were, and would conform their behavior to that expectation.

As the article notes, pluralistic ignorance has been linked to college-aged alcohol consumption in a similar way. And many administrations have responded accordingly; at Princeton, for instance, we’re required to take an online course called AlcholEdu which repeatedly reminds us that not everybody is drinking.

I wonder, though, why colleges don’t take a similar approach to hooking up? It’s clearly not particularly healthy for the undergrads involved. (Don’t believe me? Check out Unprotected.) And the data certainly indicates a discrepancy between actual and perceived student behavior: in 2000, Princetonians estimated that 32.5% of their classmates had had fewer than 2 sexual partners within the past year, whereas in reality 79.4% of students had had fewer than 2 sexual partners in the past year.