Regular readers know our thoughts about the left-wing bias of the Associated Press (AP.) Now that the warm-up to the 2016 elections is upon us, we are starting to see an increasing number of blatantly biased AP articles. Most of these articles are unsigned, perhaps for obvious reasons. As one example we read today the astonishing news regarding same-sex couples that we live “in a nation that recognizes their marriages.” One would think that the writer would try to present this fatuous assertion a bit more artfully.
Our main point in this post is the reporting of the debate about funding welfare for the next fiscal year in the Missouri State legislature. This story will be typical of the AP’s coverage of the upcoming elections, as it seeks to portray Republicans in a negative light. We read the following about the Republican war on the poor and downtrodden:
- Cutting social services priority for GOP lawmakers
- Republican lawmakers are using their large majorities this session to try to limit the social safety net on a number of fronts
- Republicans looking to trim the state’s social safety net
- Lead budget writer Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is pushing for funding cuts to the state’s social services, health and mental health departments next fiscal year
None of this is of course true. Weasely reporters have a long history of portraying actual increases as funding cuts. They do this by implicitly comparing the actual funding not against the previous year’s funding, but against requested funding or projections. The AP can only get away with this whopper by not reporting the context. Since Senator Schaefer is a candidate for Attorney General in the upcoming election, he has an AP target on his back. Below are the details the AP omitted to report, based on what Senator Schaefer has said himself here.
Welfare spending has been increasing at an unsustainable rate, threatening to gobble up every new dollar in revenue the state receives as the economy improves. Something needs to be done. The safety net cannot become a hammock.The legislature has had a difficult relationship with the Governor and the department heads, who will not cooperate and help the legislature fund the most pressing needs first. Social Services requested an additional $1 billion over what had been spent the previous year. Senator Schaefer’s proposal would give Social Services an $800 million increase over the previous year’s expenditures. An $800 million increase cannot honestly be characterized as a cut. Senator Schaefer proposes to give the department heads their entire budget allocation in a lump sum, the equivalent of block grants, and thus the responsibility for prioritizing what is needed where. This strikes us as a sensible policy until we get a new Governor, at which time accurate measures of the effectiveness of the expenditures should be put into place.