The Associated Press, historically a great news service, tipped its hand Tuesday by letting through a story with wild-eyed inaccuracy, claiming in its lead that Republicans until now haven’t come up with any of their own health care proposals.
The story by Erica Werner says that
After months spent criticizing Democrats’ health overhaul plans, House Republicans have produced a draft proposal of their own. It’s much shorter and focuses on bringing down costs rather than extending coverage to nearly all Americans.
Actually, Republicans produced a “draft proposal of their own” as far back as May. That’s when Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin offered their own version of health care reform, “Patients’ Choice Act.” It was introduced in both houses of Congress on May 20, 2009. Another bill was later offered by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia.
In his Sept. 8 address to a joint session of Congress, Barack Obama claimed that Republicans hadn’t offered any alternatives. He did this while Republicans held up copies of their health care bills. The news media couldn’t ignore this, at least not then. Apparently, they’re back to ignoring it, at least in whatever world Werner and Obama live in.
The AP inaccuracy was a result of one of the following:
- Werner really didn’t know that more than one GOP bill had been introduced, albeit ignored. In that case, what’s she doing writing about national policy debates?
- She knew, but wanted to mislead her readers. Hard to believe, coming from the great AP, but possible.
- The story was rewritten at the editing level and Werner’s name left on it.
At any rate, it’s hard to understand how such an inaccuracy survived the editing process. Everybody makes mistakes, but this is a doozy.