To cap our roundup of Sarah Palin nation (featuring Colorado--based pro-Palin blogger Adam Brickley's appearance on The Colbert Report and the Denver Post's insertion of a Palin photo into the story of a fatal accident at an Aurora ice cream shop), consider "Married as Teens, Still Together: Advice for Palin's Daughter," the cover article of the September 8 Rocky Mountain News. Newspapers attempt to localize national stories all the time, and while doing so in a credible way is possible, it's easier to stumble than it is to come up with something insightful. Which explains why the folks at the Rocky wound up flat on their collective asses.
While Republican Party officials have gotten plenty of mileage out of bashing the media for reporting about the pregnancy of Palin's unwed teenage daughter, they'd undoubtedly love the Rocky's report, which is built around recollections of oldsters who married young but made their relationships work. And that's a big part of the problem. The blandly anecdotal piece comes across as blatantly partisan -- a rose-colored attempt to look at the positive side of teen marriage that makes only a glancing mention of federal statistics showing that "marriages most likely to end in divorce include a bride younger than 18."
Of course, a narrative featuring horror stories from three couples that split apart within a year or two of their teen marriages wouldn't have been any more insightful. As anyone with an I.Q. over forty understands, generalizing about one marriage from two or three others is a waste of time.
A waste of time that the Rocky decided to put on page one. -- Michael Roberts
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