I like to check out the most popular stories on Yahoo News for news articles that liberals are reading. (I say “that liberals are reading” because it’s pretty clear that Yahoo News’ algorithm picks up only center to left-of-center sources.) As you can see if you click over on over, this site ranks stories according to popularity, with the first few sentences of each story included. It was on this Yahoo page, at 9:06 p.m. PST that I read the following:
Bush vetoes kids health insurance bill
President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.
My first thought was “that doesn’t sound like news and it doesn’t even sound accurate, and it comes from AP, so Jennifer Loven must have written it.” And sure enough, clicked over and I was right — it is a Jennifer Loven story (and I mean story in the dictionary sense of the word: “a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel.”
I’ve written before about Jennifer Loven (here, here, and here). Her husband is a Democratic party operative, and most of her “news” stories read like the press releases he probably brings home every evening. Loven is entitled to her opinion, of course, but it hacks me off like crazy that she presents her writing as an objective news story under the AP banner, rather than the Democratic opinion piece it really is.
Aside from the “George Bush hates children” caption and the “he’s violently rejecting legislation for children” language, which is spin, pure and simply, let me get to the “it doesn’t even sound accurate” part of my reaction. My accuracy question goes to Loven’s description of the program as “popular.”
Interestingly, when polled — that is, when people give an opinion in a vacuum — they think it’s a great idea to insure poor children, although “poor” is defined entirely differently on the Left and the Right. More interestingly, when the questioners dig in, they find that people pretty much like the way the system is now — with power in the State — and are increasingly less enthusiastic the more the actual SCHIP program is described. The real heart of her misrepresentation, though, lies in Loven’s editorializing, which might track polls, but is entirely inconsistent with the real world. As Michelle Malkin describes in a post that has exactly the same take as mine (and I started writing mine before I saw hers), when people are actually asked to vote on an SCHIP type program (rather than opining in the abstract from the comfort of their living room), they don’t want it, and that goes for liberals as well as conservatives.
So, amazingly, in one sentence, Loven got in two spins and one misrepresentation. That’s impressive, even for her. I haven’t read the rest of the article — having exhausted myself reading the first sentence — so I have nothing else to say on the subject.