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Press Reaction

The Salt Lake Tribune Vince Horiuchi
"...While the program examines how failing marriages affect not only couples, but communities in general, it is hard-pressed to introduce solutions. All the experts know is that children from two-parent households do better....

"It is a riveting hour of television. And since marriage is highly valued in Utah culture, it is an hour worth visiting."

The Sun, Baltimore David Zurawik
"'Let's Get Married' deserves praise not just for exploring the relationship between culturally embedded attitudes toward marriage and huge social problems that we have been unable to solve for more than 40 years, but for doing so in a context that makes simple-minded conservative-liberal, Republican-Democratic and black-white distinctions all but impossible.

"It is only an hour, on a Thursday night in November when it's likely to be dwarfed by the competition. But, maybe, it's the place where a reasoned and informed national discussion can finally begin."

The Kansas City Star Aaron Barnhart
"....Alex Kotlowitz has devoted his journalism career to understanding poor people and what keeps them that way. Here he lets us hitchhike on his tour of marriage and divorce in America.

"Among the underclass of Chicago, where single mothers raise huge clans of kids, marriageable men are in short supply. But in Oklahoma, where people get hitched and unhitched at startlingly high rates, husbands are plentiful -- as are ex-husbands, single-parent kids and welfare moms. Kotlowitz and his experts expertly explain why solving either problem, let alone both, is our latest American dilemma."

Los Angeles Times Samantha Bonar
"... Frontline correspondent Alex Kotlowitz thoroughly explores the subject by visiting communities in rural Oklahoma and inner-city Chicago and by interviewing social scientists, religious leaders and politicians.

"One weakness of 'Let's Get Married' is that it fails to address whether marriage has any value when no children are involved. Another question is whether the government might be better off emphasizing ways to avoid pregnancy instead of urging young men to marry the mothers of their children."

Chicago Tribune Steve Johnson
"...'Let's Get Married' artfully blends the past and present of the marriage debate, which boils down to the contention that many of society's ills can be fixed by making a lot more two-parent households.

"It's impressive for taking us into the lives of both rural Oklahomans, where the marriage problem is that it's too casual, and urban Chicagoans, where it's too rare.

"Working with producer-writer Ben Loeterman, correspondent Kotlowitz is able to point out that Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's 1960s lament over the decline of the black family, controversial at the time because it was seen as stigmatizing, turns out to have been a foreshadowing of the decline of the American family in general..."

The Globe and Mail, Toronto John Doyle
"...an excellent report on the 'modern marriage movement' in the United States. That movement, a loose affiliation of conservatives, self-help pundits, psychologists and marriage counsellors, is trying to strengthen marriage in the United States and stop the erosion of the traditional family unit. Right now, the Bush administration is pushing 'strong marriage' on to the agenda, but it is siding with the Christian conservatives, not the psychologists and sociologists.

"...Beneath it all simmers a battle between conservatives and liberals in the United States. One side uses economic issues to push a reactionary agenda and the other side rails against any move by government or other institutions to take a more active role in promoting the traditional marriage. It's a minefield, where few would dare to tread, and it is well documented in this Frontline."

The Dallas Morning News Manuel Mendoza
"The so-called 'marriage movement' -- a loose-knit group that endorses marriage as a societal good and opposes divorce and out-of-wedlock motherhood -- faces a lot of skepticism from the very people it's targeting, single moms.

"Frontline correspondent Alex Kotlowitz, a respected writer of books about children and poverty, gives voice to these doubters of marriage as an end unto itself while also allowing promoters of marriage to state their case.

"His report is another first-rate effort by the long-running PBS documentary series, all the more amazing for the breadth and complexity it packs into an hour."

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