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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/2/09

Apologists for Deadbeat Dads

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="text-align: justify">Lifetime TV recently announced that it intended to begin airing a reality type show called Deadbeat Dads. In this show, television cameras will follow Jim Durham of National Child Support Centers in Cincinnati, Ohio, as he goes out and publicly confronts deadbeat dads -- men who have, and are, wholly failing to pay court-ordered child support to their former spouses.  Think of Durham as another Dog the Bounty Hunter. According to Reuters, Durham “functions as a sort of ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ for tracking deadbeats…It’s ambush reality TV.”  Durham will target fathers who are behind on their child support by “making their lives miserable -- foreclosing on their houses, repossessing their cars. He will squeeze them.”

About a year ago, Durham pitched the idea of this type of show to Fox Television, which prompted an outcry from fathers and men's rights activists and their sympathizers.  The outcry was so loud that Fox dropped the program with no real explanation.  Now, these same activists and sympathizers are attempting to silence Lifetime TV, so that the truth about deadbeat dads will remain a hidden secret.

The leaders of the Fox campaign as well as the new campaign are Glenn Sacks and Fathers & Families.  Sacks touts himself as “by far the largest men’s and fathers’ issues blog in the world.”  He has also recently become the Executive Director of Fathers & Families, which states that it “improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce.”

To put everything into a nutshell, Sacks and Fathers & Families are strong proponents of the concept of shared parenting, which is a concept that all children of divorce should be ’shared equally’ by both parents.  Essentially, in this arrangement, the kids would live with mom 50% of the time and dad 50% of the time.  This means that men, who are now required to pay the bulk of all child support, would no longer be required to pay child support.

The Victim Dad

Sacks and his followers begin with the premise that men are victims of feminism and because of the feminist influence, men are also victims of the entire judicial system.  They are demanding equality.  For example, they attempt to minimize the devastating effects of domestic violence by continually mentioning that women allegedly commit domestic violence as often as men do.  They wring their hands in agitation and despair that women allegedly receive little or no punishment for hitting a man while a man’s life is ‘totally ruined’ when he hits a woman.   They do this despite no accurate studies which demonstrate the types and forms of domestic violence or the punishment meted out to the different sexes.  Their discussions never include the numerous instances where men beat or even kill their female domestic partners.

The “victim mentality” requires that individuals will not accept any accountability for their own actions.  When it comes to unpaid child support, Sacks & Company send a contradictory message when they state:

“Research clearly shows that most divorced dads pay their child support and remain a part of their children’s lives, often under difficult circumstances. In fact, federal government data shows that the overwhelming majority of “deadbeat dads” earn poverty level wages -- only 4% earn even $40,000 a year.”

What they are saying is that only poor people get divorced and, therefore, most child support is “difficult to pay” if it can be paid at all.  The question that the deadbeat apologists avoid answering is -- If the majority of “deadbeat dads” are earning poverty level wages, how will they be able to afford to care for their children 50% of the time in a shared-parenting situation?

Sacks goes on to state in the same article:

“Deadbeat Dads kicks fathers while they’re down. Media reports show the majority of those losing their jobs in this recession are men, and child-support orders are notoriously difficult to modify downward. As the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and other papers have documented, these hard luck dads sometimes end up in jail.”

The statement that “these hard luck dads sometimes end up in jail” is not only misleading at best, but is ovious hype.  While it is acknowledged that some men who are currently “laid off” may end up in jail, there is more to the story that Sacks doesn’t want you to know.  The rest of the story is that those same men invariably had been refusing to pay child support for years before the recession hit, and when jobs were plentiful.  They haven’t simply fallen behind because of the current recession.  They were deadbeats before the recession.  They will, if given the chance, continue to be deadbeats after the recession is over.

Sacks then goes on to further portray the so-called unfairness of the proposed television reality show by stating in the same article:

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Doc is retired, currently living, working and investing in Orlando. Background in medicine (trauma), business and education. Neither a progressive or a conservative; more of a centrist/libertarian who is a strong proponent of personal (more...)

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