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Brace yourselves: NYT gets it wrong again

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
This appeared in New York Times electronic editions yesterday evening and on page D6 on Tuesday, 17 August 2010.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/he...circ.html?_r=2

Here are some short excerpts and my thoughts.

Steep Drop Seen in Circumcisions in US
by Roni Caryn Rabin

Lead 6 words: "Despite a worldwide campaign for circumcision..."

[This is inflammatory and wrong. There has been no worldwide campaign for circumcision, much as the Times wishes there had been. There is a targeted effort in 13 eastern and southern African countries.]


a "precipitous drop in circumcision", from 56.2 percent in early 2007 to only 32.5% by end of 2009. "For federal health officials... the news suggests an uphill battle."

["Uphill battle" for what, exactly? To get the US back in the business of near-universal circumcision of our boys? Is that really a valid goal of the medical associations and our government agencies? (Note that there is a pejorative angle to use of the word "precipitous" that suggests "danger")]


Officials from the [AAP] said... the academy is likely to adopt a more encouraging stance than its current neutral position and to state that the procedure has health benefits

[New policy: don't let any American woman give birth without a full sales job on the benefits of having her baby circumcised. Oops, just the boys, thank you. Pitch it to dad, too. Revenues are down and this is unacceptable. Everyone pitch in and help the economy. American = circumcised... why else do you think the bald eagle is our mascot? ]


The article states that about 4 in 5 US men are cut, yet even the biggest fans of circumcision acknowledge that it won't really bring down HIV rates in North America. Nevertheless, the CDC and AAP statements are predicated on the force of the African studies.

[Then what precisely is their motive? More money for doctors and hospitals? Validation of their own circumcisions? Note the weaselly NYT wording; nowhere near 80% of all US males are circumcised, but by saying "men" they can imply it's almost universal and accepted. Also, it's not merely "one of" the highest rates in the developed world; it is a striking anomaly in the developed world. The NYT loves to imply in all its circ stories that nearly all developed nations circumcise, but that the US is just a leader. They don't want to shock their readership by informing them that we stand virtually alone on this, as they might question why we circumcise. Can't have that.]


The Times states that it's "unclear" that male circumcision specifically helps the female partner of a seropositive man .

[Again, the Times misleads materially by omitting vital facts. The only study to examine M-to-F HIV infection found circumcised males far more likely than intact males to infect their female partners. This is certainly worth revealing in the interests of honest journalism, if they play up the other African studies as much as they do.]
post #2 of 24
An acquaintance of mine referred to a similar article in the NYT as gutter journalism.
post #3 of 24


Everyone who knows me who is pro-circ knows not to even approach me with the HIV/AIDS argument. It's a fail from the get-go. My son will be taught from an early age to save himself for marriage and to keep himself to his wife.
post #4 of 24
Yeah, ordinarily I like the NYT, but their stuff on circ is just... horendous.
post #5 of 24
It makes me really mad to think about how many people who may be on the fence will jump on the circ bandwagon after reading this!!
post #6 of 24
I don't really think the article was all that bad. Just being honest.

Look, I went to a very mainstream childbirth prep class and gave birth a very medicalized setting. NO ONE pushed circ on us. The question was asked once, I said no, and that was it. At least where I live, people seemed to think it was our business.

I don't think circ is that much of a money maker. That's just an OTT statement.

I do disagree with the idea that circ will prevent AIDS and that's why it should be done. Condoms will do an even better job.
post #7 of 24
Hannah, I agree it's not the money, but I cannot figure out why circd men are so wedded to this idea, I have spoken to a number of women in recent weeks (since I have been asking around) who have stated "DH insisted we get the baby circd" so I think there is way more to it than making money, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around exactly what is going on in the minds of men on this issue. If I had been subjected to something like circ, I would be doing everything in my power to keep it from happening to my child, not handing them over willingly.
post #8 of 24
I guess I'm just lucky, but my hubby is circd and he was the one who was adamantly against it. He's in favor of banning it. I had never really thought about it at all, but I do agree that it's just not acceptable and it's unfortunate that it's so culturally accepted. I came to this conclusion after learning about FGM, which is just so awful. To me, circ is just a difference of degree, but is the same basic concept.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
If the New York Times has one consistent theme on infant circumcision over the past 20 years of reporting on it -- and this article is far from their worst -- it is, "What is wrong with those people who have an issue with universal circumcision of our children?"

Their articles consistently imply that "normal" people all support circumcision; circumcision has only benefits and virtually no drawbacks; and it is equally supported by all "developed" or "Western" countries. By implication, it is impoverished mud-dwellers in distant hemispheres and the persistently uneducated here at home who have a problem with the Simple Snip. If the CDC and AAP came out with a call for mandatory circumcision (which they won't), the Times would be first in line with an editorial hailing and supporting the idea.

Instead of actually interviewing parents to learn why infant circumcision has (permanently, and properly) lost its appeal among a large segment of the US population, they instead wring their hands over how federal agencies will achieve their desired ramp-up in the face of such medical ignorance.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qbear'smama View Post
Hannah, I agree it's not the money, but I cannot figure out why circd men are so wedded to this idea, I have spoken to a number of women in recent weeks (since I have been asking around) who have stated "DH insisted we get the baby circd" so I think there is way more to it than making money, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around exactly what is going on in the minds of men on this issue.
I think it has to do with our culture. Women aren't the only ones who suffer from oversexualized media -- men are expected to be virile sex machines too, and the penis has been a symbol of strength and virility since ancient times. There ARE phallic symbols everywhere, no? Thus, the penis becomes an important part of male identity (for most men, not all).

You start talking about the wrong-ness of a procedure that has to do not only with your partner's penis, not only its aesthetics, but its function as a pleasure-giving and performing sex organ, and of course men are going to get defensive and state that there's nothing wrong, never has been, and never will be. Saying no to circumcision isn't just about the baby for them, it's about admitting that something is wrong with their penis. I can't say I wouldn't feel the same way.

Now, I do think as a parent you have to examine yourself and why you're doing the things you're doing. Luckily I'm the person who's never impressed with tradition or mainstream culture, so I've never been for circumcision. Once I did the research, I was even more against it. I know my current SO was a little taken aback when he found out I was against circumcision, and asked me why, but I was very careful with the language I chose. I didn't want him to think that I was unhappy with his body, and I'm not. I love him the way he is. I just simply told him that for me, I am unwilling to submit my child to a procedure that they can't consent to, especially when there are no medical benefits. He asked me if I would allow our kid to get it done later in life if my kid wanted to, and I agreed. We're both a big proponent of "nature knows best," so it's worked out.

I just think in this case you have to put yourself in the position of being told something is wrong with your body -- inherently wrong. I can't say I wouldn't be defensive at first. I also think sometimes having a child can bring out a feeling of wanting to pass down the best of you: in a culture which prides men on being pleasure givers, subconsciously that must go on too. KWIM?
post #11 of 24
Ok thats it. Can we write letters to the editor? How can we combat this information. I wish one of us could get an article published. This sucks. Why why why is this garbage still going around. This HIV stuff makes no sense at all. Why is our rate higher than the rest of the industrialized world who doesn't circumcise.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qbear'smama View Post
Hannah, I agree it's not the money, but I cannot figure out why circd men are so wedded to this idea, I have spoken to a number of women in recent weeks (since I have been asking around) who have stated "DH insisted we get the baby circd" so I think there is way more to it than making money, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around exactly what is going on in the minds of men on this issue. If I had been subjected to something like circ, I would be doing everything in my power to keep it from happening to my child, not handing them over willingly.
Because a circ'd man would be forced to confront the fact that he had been violated in the worst possible way at the most vulnerable time of his life. That's a hard pill for anyone to swallow. It's easier to deny.
post #13 of 24
I had to comment on the final paragraph:

Quote:
And while studies in Africa found that circumcision reduced the risk of a man’s becoming infected by an H.I.V.-positive female partner, it is not clear that a circumcised man with H.I.V. would be less likely to infect a woman.
Never mind that the study actually showed women were MORE likely to become infected if their partner was circumcised. This is ignored, yet again.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
The study found a very low rate of complications associated with newborn circumcisions; most were considered mild and no babies died.
This is FALSE!


Babies have DIED from circumcision!
http://www.mensstudies.com/content/b...21eb5313a&pi=5
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qbear'smama View Post
Hannah, I agree it's not the money, but I cannot figure out why circd men are so wedded to this idea, I have spoken to a number of women in recent weeks (since I have been asking around) who have stated "DH insisted we get the baby circd" so I think there is way more to it than making money, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around exactly what is going on in the minds of men on this issue. If I had been subjected to something like circ, I would be doing everything in my power to keep it from happening to my child, not handing them over willingly.
oh it's basic psychology. that men have to beileve at all costs that their penis is the best. in order to validate what was done to them, they have to do it to their own child. that's what it's really all about i think.

--

i was pretty excited to read that the rate has dropped to about 1 in 3.

i'm in the midwest and we were solicited for circumcision, after i had already declined in advance, and my file was marked do not circumcise.

needless to say i was on top of it, and expecting such treatment.

but the OB didn't need to be at my bedside at 7 am after a 1 am birth, to wake me up from my, like, 1 hour of sleep to ask if i'd circumcise him. can you imagine? baby was all nested in next to me, sleeping too. no f'in way he was leaving my side. so yes they do still try their best to drum up circ. business.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannah32 View Post
I don't think circ is that much of a money maker. That's just an OTT statement.
Hospitals sell human infant foreskins to cosmetics and biotech companies for profit.

The $140-million foreskin

Circumcision is profitable for hospitals and the doctors who perform it. It also desensitizes men--making them more likely to require pharmaceutical sex drugs like Viagra later in life, perhaps? Not that we'll ever see any research on that. It's surely just a tinfoil hat coincidence anyway.
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Qbear'smama View Post
Hannah, I agree it's not the money, but I cannot figure out why circd men are so wedded to this idea, I have spoken to a number of women in recent weeks (since I have been asking around) who have stated "DH insisted we get the baby circd" so I think there is way more to it than making money, but I'm having a hard time getting my head around exactly what is going on in the minds of men on this issue. If I had been subjected to something like circ, I would be doing everything in my power to keep it from happening to my child, not handing them over willingly.

http://www.stopcirc.com/vincent/vulnerability_of_men.html
post #18 of 24
Thanks to posters with insight about this issue and Fyrestorm, very interesting article.
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by brant31 View Post
Instead of actually interviewing parents to learn why infant circumcision has (permanently, and properly) lost its appeal among a large segment of the US population, they instead wring their hands over how federal agencies will achieve their desired ramp-up in the face of such medical ignorance.
I agree. The tone of this article and the 1-in-3 article that came out recently is no accident or coincidence. A new, quiet nudge is starting in the US in favor of infant circumcision, with the HIV studies as the base. Media is one of the best avenues into an American home, and if a story can be inserted by a high society newspaper perceived as being read by well-educated, sensible people, all the better.
post #20 of 24
I think this is a good sign that they're getting desperate as the rates of circumcision continue to fall. People have access to more information about circumcision--its risks and the ethical/moral arguments against it, especially--than ever before, and are making informed decisions instead of blindly trusting doctors who have a vested financial interest in selling the procedure.

There might be a new media push but I don't see it gaining a foothold unless they come up with some crazy new scare tactics (like what?). Even really mainstream mamas I've met recently are either not circumcising their sons, or are seriously talking about not circing their future sons. It helps that many insurance plans won't pay for it anymore.
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