It's a battle of materialism vs. morality on NBC's Today show, and materialism is the clear winner. Apparently, the single mother of octuplets only needs their father for financial support.
In a February 6 preview of an exclusive interview with the Nadya Suleman, single mother of octuplets, the Today Show hosts mention the father of the octuplets only in terms of a financial provider, ignoring any moral obligation he might have, and failing to acknowledge that his involvement might be essential for successful parenting.
Ann Curry previewed her interview with Sulamen and fielded questions from co-host Matt Lauer about the father's involvement with the children. After Curry responded that Suleman wishes for the reportedly “overwhelmed” sperm donor and biological father of her fourteen children to be in their lives when he is ready, Lauer pressed the financial issue, rather than confirming the positive presence a father has in the children's lives.
“And can I just go back to the financial side of this for a second, she says that when she's finished her schooling she knows she'll be able to support them but in the, in the near term, immediately,” Lauer asked. “How are these children going to be cared for in terms of the financial cost that it will take?”
Earlier in the segment, video showed Curry pressing Suleman on the issue of financially supporting her fourteen children. “People feel you know this woman is being completely irresponsible and selfish to bring these children in the world without a clear source of income and enough help to raise them.”
Suleman defended her actions, saying “a lot of couples, usually its couples, do undergo this procedure you know and um, it's not as controversial because they're couples so it's more acceptable to society. For me, I see, I feel as though I've been under the microscope because I've chosen this unconventional kind of life.”
“Income and enough help,” not moral support and male role models, were the key factors for Curry. And to Suleman, it's about her and her “unconventional life.”
However, statistics prove that children in two-parent homes are less likely than children in single-parent homes to suffer from behavior problems, health problems, and low educational achievement, among other things.
Erin Brown is an intern for the Culture and Media Institute.