Bogus trend stories of the month—the New York Times corners the market.

Media criticism.
Feb. 3 2010 5:28 PM

Bogus Trend Stories of the Month

The New York Times corners the market.

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Notice the big, fat, fudgy word "seems."

The next passage in the article acknowledges that the "numbers behind this disenchantment are only suggestive." The piece then cites a university study showing that men and women under 40 "report roughly equal levels of satisfaction with homeownership," which would argue against the thesis that there is a growing cohort of men falling out of love with homeownership.

The piece presents a lot of psychobabble to support why some men exit from homeownership, but the only data point presented that remotely supports the article's argument is a finding by the National Association of Realtors that more single women than single men have bought homes in the last 12 months (21 percent vs. 10 percent) and that that gap has widened in the last decade.

But who cares? The Times story isn't about whether more single women than single men buy houses. It's about men who buy and then jump the picket fence! (Hat tip to spotter Steven D. Schroeder.)

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Addendum: A Nexis search reveals that there is a long history of churches teaching "karate for Christ," which would argue against mixed-martial-arts for Christ being any sort of new trend. See my Nexis dump in the comments below.

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Many thanks to Slate intern Cecile Dehesdin and the spotters for their help. Seen a bogus trend in the press that should be smashed? Send it to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Track my errors: This hand-built RSS feed will ring every time Slate runs a "Press Box" correction. For e-mail notification of errors in this specific column, type the word Xtreme in the subject head of an e-mail message, and send it to slate.pressbox@gmail.com.

Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.