The Washington Post’s Very Bad, Very Revealing Day: How Often Does This Have To Happen Before Journalists Decide Their Bias Is Making Them Stupid…And Untrustworthy?

Yesterday, the Washington Post, one of the three alleged standard-bearers of U.S. print journalism, published gossip and lies as news, got caught and humiliated..twice!.., and again illustrated vividly why the distinction between hoax stories, what the mainstream media condemns as “fake news,'” and their own false reporting due to incompetence and bias, is illusory.

First, the Post published a weird and alarming story about how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was behaving like a sultan and ordering subordinates to lower their gaze in his presence:

“Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact”

This, of course, sparked widespread ridicule by the Left’s bloggers, commentators, journalists and other tweeters, despite the fact that no sources were named to back up the claim. We have here an example of confirmation bias at its most foolish,  on the part of the reporter, the editor, the paper, and the eager partisan bigots who think businessmen are monsters and the Trump administration is made up of freaks and creeps.  The Huffington Post happily published a collection of celebrities, politicians and random social media users reacting to the  story, including Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu , who said he found the article “disturbing.”

So do I. I find it disturbing that the Post, like the New York Times, cannot be trusted to check out inflammatory slurs against public official before declaring them facts. Note that the quote says the diplomats SAY they have not met him, but that some HAVE been instructed not to make eye contact. The Post stated what sounds like obvious holdover-staff rumor-mongering and sabotage as truth, opening the door for widespread contempt and disrespect of the Secretary of State without justification. Yes, that’s disturbing.

It was fake news. I didn’t believe it. I assumed this was the Post’s anti-Trump bias once again seeping into its deteriorating organizational brain. To his credit, Associated Press reporter Mike Lee immediately called foul, B.S., and fake news. Lee said that he had heard the allegation about employees being forced to avert their gaze in the presence of the Secretary of State two weeks before the Post’s story was published, and after checking into the claim,  determined that it was a rumor without basis.

“It’s compelling gossip. I have looked him  in the eyes and not turned to stone. At least not yet…This is not true and people repeating it are making it more difficult to address very real issues.”

When challenged to back up his statement that the story was false, Lee replied,

“Because I have covered State since 1999. Because I know people who didn’t start in 2009 [that is, Obama era partisans].”

Can anyone defend this Post sliming as anything but biased hackery?

But wait, there’s more!

Then, the same day, Post reporter Caitlin Dewey filed a story about Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington (a Republican, of course, so he deserves to be smeared*) quoting the Bible to denigrate the poor, and to justify not giving them food stamps.  She did this by characterizing what Arrington said, falsely, and omitting his quote on which she was supposedly basing her story. The Federalist—you see, conservative publications are essential to point out what is leftist propaganda and outright lies,  was on the case:

The headline from the Washington Post couldn’t have been more clear: “GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat.” Shocking, right? Judging by the Washington Post’s reporting, either this lawmaker is a real jerk, God is a real jerk for hating people without jobs, or maybe even they’re both jerks.

Here’s what the newspaper wrote about Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.):

One lawmaker is citing a godly reference to justify changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) recently quoted the New Testament to question the strength of current work requirements.

The biblical passage, 2 Thessalonians 3-10, was a rebuttal to one of the hearing’s expert witnesses, a representative of the Jewish anti-hunger group MAZON. (He referenced Leviticus.) It is also a familiar refrain to anyone who has watched past debates about SNAP.

House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.

There are a few problems, however, with that story from Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey: the lawmaker never said that, the Bible never says that, and the Washington Post article never even quotes the Texas Republican as saying that. In fact, the article doesn’t quote Arrington a single time. Not one word. …

Not only did Arrington not disagree with the witness who quoted passages from Leviticus requiring the Israelites to leave harvest gleanings in the field for sojourners and the poor, Arrington actually affirmed him and noted that the passage in question is “a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart.” Here’s what Arrington really said:

“I did hear, Mr. Protas, your opening remarks where you quoted Leviticus, I believe, and I think that’s a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart and how we ought to reflect that compassion in our lives.

But, there’s also, the scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’” And then he goes on to say, “We hear that some among you are idle.”

I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility quite frankly, to SNAP. Tell me what is a reasonable and responsible work requirement as part of the SNAP program?”

At no point did Arrington ever declare that the Bible requires that the unemployed shall not eat. Not once. At no point did Arrington ever say, “The Bible says the unemployed shall not eat.”

Rather, the Texas congressman noted to the witness at his hearing that in addition to commanding God’s people to leave a share of their harvest for the needy to pick up and eat as they moved through the fields, the Bible tells Christ’s disciples not to allow idleness to make them a burden on their fellow Christians. Paul’s letter to the church in Thessaloniki, after all, was not a directive to government officials in Rome, but an exhortation to his fellow followers of Christ in Greece.

You wouldn’t know any of that if you read the Washington Post’s dishonest mischaracterization of what Arrington said, because the Washington Post refused to tell you what Arrington actually said. Arrington didn’t declare that those without jobs are commanded by God to starve. He affirmed the requirement that God’s people provide for the poor and then noted an additional passage in which Paul tells his own brethren that they should work so as not to provide a poor example of idleness to those whom they were trying to bring to Christ.

How is the Post’s headline and story not fake news? If you think that was ethical and objective journalism, you are hopeless. It was a hit piece. It was a lie.

In liability lawsuits, subsequent repairs after an injury is pretty good evidence that something was amiss to begin with. And what do you know? After the story’s evisceration by the Federalist’s Sean Davis, the Post quietly re-wrote the story to include what the Congressman said, without noting the correction, as journalism transparency demands. The misleading headline remains, however. So does the false characterization of the Bible quote. The Post said,

“The verse in question applies specifically to people who can work or otherwise contribute to society but choose not to, said theologians from several denominations who spoke to The Post,” Dewey asserted.”

Scoffs Davis,

It’s a shame she and her editors didn’t feel compelled to quote or name a single one of these alleged experts who just happened to agree with the Washington Post’s wildly inaccurate characterization of both the Bible verse at issue and Arrington’s alleged interpretation of it. That’s because this anonymous exegesis is–you guessed it–completely false. The apostle Paul wasn’t drafting a law for the government to pass banning the jobless from having food. He was telling his fellow disciples to avoid idleness and disruption of the church body. He urged them to spend less time laying about and sowing division and more time working on behalf of God.

The Washington Post recently began running the pompous motto “Democracy Dies In Darkness,” and continues to allow its reporters to blow out candles whenever it suits their political agendas. The motto is fine; the Washington Post displaying it is the equivalent of Hitler saying, “Words build bridges into unexplored regions.” It’s true, but his words led to regions best left unexplored.

The Post is giving us darkness, and calling it light.

* The New York Times Rule, as it is called here, in honor of the 2016 Times editorial in which it announced that the threat of a Donald Trump victory in the election justified suspending objectivity and engaging in biased news coverage in support of Hillary Clinton as November 8 approached. The Rule simplifies to “Trump and anything related to him justifies a suspension of professional ethics.” It has since been embraced by, among others, journalists, lawyers, historians, elected officials and scientists.


Pointer: The Daily Caller

28 thoughts on “The Washington Post’s Very Bad, Very Revealing Day: How Often Does This Have To Happen Before Journalists Decide Their Bias Is Making Them Stupid…And Untrustworthy?

  1. And the Democrats call Republicans and Trump Nazis?

    “Democracy dies in darkness” might as well be “Arbeit macht frei” — “Work makes you free” — the motto on the entrance to Auschwitz. The Post is CREATING the darkness, just as surely as the work in Auschwitz made one free — to die.

    I am more afraid than I’ve been since Trump’s election. I never, ever, believed for one split second that there really was a liberal conspiracy as evil, organized, and widespread as this. Something more than ego is involved here: there is real hate, and I really do fear that something more horrible than a lying media will have to be dealt with. For God’s sake, a “resist” movement? In what ways and to what eventual end? Lie, exhort more lying, do everything possible to stop the government of the United States dead in its tracks? Oh you patriotic Democrats! Why don’t you read the goddamn Constitution? If you had your way, Hillary and Putin would would both be ‘presidents for life’ and wouldn’t that be great?

    Sorry. This is not making much sense. I am out of my mind about this…

      • I have a lot of family in Texas — some 1st generation emigrants from other parts of the country and lots born there as real, live Texans — and though I have joked with them about the Texan ethic, have begun to believe they have something there. The history of Texas (have done some reading and just got a couple of new books on the topic) is proof positive to me that the people that settled Texas and made Texas a part of these “Untied States” (a Freudian typo I make with some regularity) are the free-thinking folk we need. Not robotic ideologues, and not unthinking true believers. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough of them…

        • Texas history is wildly improbable, but it sure makes for an entertaining read. And I’ve got to tell you, Texas does something to the vast majority of people who move here. The exceptions being folks who come here from California and New York/New Jersey to escape high taxes, then try to re-make Texas to look like California/New York/New Jersey. We rarely let that happen. And those few times when it happens locally, we fix it as quickly as possible.

          • My understanding is that a deal was made with Spain to help settle certain areas of now-Texas with American farmers. And when Mexico declared its independence from Spain and a totalitarian regime took over in Mexico, problems with American settlers arose over allegiance to Mexico or… themselves. My read has always been that if the original deal cut with Spain had held, Texas might today be an independent state, or part of a different Mexico. Right or wrong?

            • Pretty much. Phillip of Spain had even resorted to rounding up a bunch of Canary Islanders and shipping them to “San Antonio de Bexar” to help settle the area. This was after the original Tejano settlers came up from the interior of Mexico.

              • The settlers from the fledgling USA were loyal to Mexico, but were discriminated against by Santa Anna’s tyrannical Government. See, the gringos were invited by Spain (and made to swear loyalty) to settle and develop Texas. When Mexico revolted, Texans sided with Mexico, and reaffirmed their loyalty to Mexico. Santa Anna, however, decided that he wanted to redistribute the land grants (and all newly developed homesteads and towns) to his cronies, and told the gringos they had no rights to their own property, nor to justice in Mexican courts.

                The gringos revolted, and prevailed against overwhelming odds to form an independent country. This ‘no BS’ attitude survives in Texas to this day.

          • Just to rile you-all in your ten-gallon Texas smugnities, I remind myself that when I lived high in Colorado, Texans were known as “damned flat-landers” because they wouldn’t (not couldn’t, just flat wouldn’t) accommodate to driving courtesy or speed limits, not getting their cars fitted for high altitudes while they were still at sea level, or mountain driving in general, either creating traffic tie-ups or getting themselves (more than others) into accidents, particularly when insisting on taking in their usual amount of alcohol at 10,000 feet after being warned it was going to make any altitude sickness way worse (dizzy + dizzy) and if not sufficiently hydrated to counteract the lack of oxygen, their hangovers were going to be horrendous.

            And you can take that “high” any way you want to but I learned to drive in that state and knew what to do when a Texan invariably decided the strict speed limit on Ute Pass or across Phantom Canyon (following the old gold camp railroad line) was just too slow, even though the traffic flowed steadily, and the car displaying the national flag of the republic of Texas tried passing on the then two-lane highways with a yard of shoulder on the side where the sandstone cliffs constantly shed windshield-busting rocks … and a six-hundred to thousand-foot drop on the other. We exchanged signals and matched up with another local car and squeezed that damned flatlander right back into line.

  2. So Rex Tillerson is behaving like the former Emperor of Japan until MacArthur put him in his place according to the Post. This is a howler: Are you sure this laughably fake news didn’t come from The Onion?
    As far as the Post using Leviticus to make Republicans look like blue meanies, I say to them “Let he without sin cast the first stone.”

  3. The answer is: one more time than the electorate gets suspicious. This reminds me of my early days on the internet when there was no social media and I frequented certain artist’s sites, using them as a means to stay in touch with those I became friends with around the globe. The sites were all-artist, all the time, to the point where every photo would be displayed multiple times, every repeat of a press release in a backwater newspaper would be repeated, to the point where you’d think this artist was everywhere. The administrators of the sites would also brook neither criticism nor bad news regarding the artist who was the subject of the site. True or not, bad news or criticism would be spammed and repeat offenders, to use the term loosely, since telling the truth is only an offense to those who can’t handle it, banned. Unfortunately, since the site owners owned the means of communication, they kinda had you, at least their corner of the internet was going to say what they wanted it to say and nothing else. One such administrator, who is now dead and not missed by many, told me bluntly in a message that he owned the site, and I would follow his rules, there is no appeal.

    In this case we just have this mentality and attitude writ large. The owners of the various news institutions have decided they hate Trump and they hate everything and everyone to do with him. So they push everything that makes him look bad, true or not, verified or not, and they bury everything that might mitigate that. Anyone who doesn’t like it can go kick rocks. But for Fox, this would be all we’d here.

    • I think the term is “yellow journalism.” And here we thought that was something that went away in the ‘thirties or ‘forties upon the arrival of Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. Hmmm.

      • You mean the guy who said “what the hell is going on? I thought we were winning the war” on national TV and the guy who did a deliberate hit piece on “the JUNIOR (mustn’t forget the junior part) senator from Michigan?”

      • I thought for a long time that yellow journalism went away around the start of WWII. Nope. The term just isn’t used any more, because (what?) journalists themselves have put it to bed.

        • Much more to it than that, E2.

          I study this stuff for a living (not as an academic, but for practical application). The history of media in the US is fascinating.

          This is one of the few nations that embraces the conceit that news media can, and should be, objective. Many parts of the world use state-controlled media; these outlets range from biased but relatively benigh, like the BBC, to the news outlets in nation-states like Xinhua in the People’s Republic of China.

          But that conceit is only a little more and a century old. In the early 1900s, radios and TVs didn’t exist; when it came to news, newspapers were the only game in town. Every town of any size had several, sometimes many, newspapers, and they were all over the map with regard to accuracy, politics, ethics, subject matter.

          Heck, in 1960, New York City still had roughly ten competing newspapers – for the white folk. Closer to 20 if you count the papers aimed at African Americans, recent Jewish immigrants and the Chinese population.

          This whole idea about the benefits of “objective” media came in two waves, and the goals were NOT noble. In the early part of the 20th century, Joseph Pulitzer – yes, THAT Pulitzer – started “cleaning up” journalism by twisting the arms of fellow publishers and starting journalism schools.

          He could afford to do so. But Pulitzer was in a position to do so because he hadn’t been an angel himself. To his credit, he recognized that the newspapers were alarming their customers, and that they had to stop doing so.

          The customers he was worried about, by the way, weren’t the readers. The alarmed customers were the advertisers.

          A similar watershed occurred in the late 1950s, when William S. Paley (CBS) recognized a similar problem was occurring because the much revered Edward R. Murrow was interjecting to much political opinion into his show.

          Murrow is, these days, credited for taking down Joseph McCarthy; in fact, Murrow was late to the ball and McCarthy was already buzzard meat by the time Murrow piled on.

          But media’s first loyalty is to media. As Jack often notes, “print the legend.”

          The real problem is that at least four generations of Americans have been conditioned to believe that media can, and should be, objective.

          It never was.

          Bottom line: media can’t be: it’s created by humans, humans have biases, and these biases are likely to be amplified by hiring and promotion decisions by those in charge of any given outlet. Couple this with the fact that most media outlets – old model – are based in cities, which tend to skew heavily liberal.

          The Web changes all of this; the geography-centric model that worked 30 years ago, let alone 100, is irrelevant thanks to the Web. We are returning to the model that existed a century ago, in which a wide variety of views – some thoughtful, some crazy, some irresponsible, some evil – have equal potential reach.

          Back then, it was incumbent upon consumers of news to read up on different takes on the same story, and make up their own minds. Most didn’t, and branded themselves if they chose to ignore other takes on the same story. But the key point is that the option was THERE.

          Same thing today. A responsible news consumer looks around and takes in different views. God knows, it’s actually easier today than ever.

          Anyone who relies on once source – or one alignment – of news to inform their opinion on a given story is a fucking idiot.

          And there are a lot of fucking idiots out there, if my Facebook feed is any indication.

            • Thanks Arthur. I guess ‘Citizen Kane’ isn’t musty ancient history. I guess I was fooled by the earnestness of CBS and NBC when I was a kid in the ‘sixties. As you document, there’s no reason to expect much from the media in terms of objectivity. I guess I just wish they’d stop acting like such saints.

          • AIM: I have big problems with this. Human beings can be ethical. Human beings can make choices. Human beings cab overcome greed and bias, And one of the definitions of a professional is that the individual has made a choice to act in the public good, not for personal gain or objectives.

            Lawyers are much, much more trustworthy than they once were, in part because the profession has ethics rules and take them seriously. The profession is policed. The rules are taught throughout a lawyer’s career. There is a complaint system.

            Journalists call themselves a profession and have an ethics code, but it is PR BS. There is no policing. There is no ongoing training. And the left-right media problem remains imbalanced and worse than ever. You seem to be saying that journalists are incapable of doing their job honestly. Sure they are capable. An if we just shrug and say “journalists will be journalists,” they will never have a motivation to improve.

            • Jack – this may surprise you, but I’m actually in agreement. The issue IS, at core, an ethical one. But with that said, there are other nations that have figured out how to do this.

              The British media is an excellent example. There are certainly wildly UNethical newspapers there. But there are others that do hold up a high standard. Think in term of the Guardian, a leftist newspaper, and the Times – a conservative one. Both hold up high standards of journalism – not perfect, but they try. The primary difference is that the Guardian looks at stories from a left/progressive point of view, and the Times from a conservative/Tory one. Same stories, diligently reported, but with no pretense made about the political orientations of the writers, editors and publications.

              I would submit that’s actually a more honest – and probably more ethical – approach to the one used in this country. The biggest problem I see with the American news media is that with the exception of openly partisan news organizations like Fox and MSNBC, much of the news media is blind to its own orientation.

              Daniel Okrent, the first “Public Editor” at the New York Times, rather famously (in his final piece in that role) wrote “Is the New York Times a liberal publication? Of course it is.” He went on to explain that the paper reflected the values of its readers, and the fact that New York, then as now its principal market, was a liberal city.

              Okrent’s clear-eyed assessment didn’t sit well with many of his colleagues, and his words have clearly been forgotten by the current staff at the NYT.

              Yes, there should be fairness and ethics with ALL media outlets. But there is nothing wrong with media outlets wearing their values on their sleeves, if only they had the courage to do so.

                • Jack, that’s my point.

                  I am NOT arguing that media shouldn’t be as diligent and fair as possible. On this, we’re in complete agreement. I AM arguing that media outlets should be completely open as to the inherent biases of their reporters, editors and pundits.

                  The inconsistency lies within the premise held by many media outlets that they’re completely objective. That’s exacerbated by the (obsolete) belief by much of the public that they are, and that they should be.

                  The ways biases show up in news coverage are manifold. They start with what stories each outlet chooses to cover at all. A not-so-hypothetical: one outlet does a gut-wrenching piece on illegal immigrants who are worried about their kids getting a good education. Another outlet does a piece on how the kids of illegal immigrants are costing school districts millions and leading to overcrowded classrooms. Both stories are true, accurately reported, but they look at the same issue from completely different perspectives.

                  They proceed from there with the story lede – the first graf or two, which are there as much as anything to get the audience interested. It’s here where confirmation bias of the audience is often deliberately or inadvertently used as a tactic – and complicating this is that shortened versions of a given story often don’t go much beyond the lede of someone else’s story (and that social media shares often don’t get read beyond it). Tone matters tons.

                  Story stacking is the next key. If Person A makes a statement about Person B and Person B doesn’t get an opportunity to rebut in close proximity to that statement, it reveals bias (intentionally or inadvertently, this is argued away by media as a result of necessary expansion to the storyline).

                  Then there’s tone, subtleties of word choice, and a bunch more. The important thing here is that while we see a LOT of this stuff happening deliberately a lot MORE of it is actually accidental, and is the result of two factors: groupthink at the media outlet, and bean counters who tell the newsroom that “you’ve got traction on this. Keep it going.”

                  It would certainly be lovely if they all played it straight down the middle. That’s an admirable goal – but if such a news organization actually existed (and THAT’LL never happen), there would only be a need for one news organization. News is a business. Market differentiation is essential in business continuity, regardless of what business you’re in.

                  So the ethical ideal of fairness in reporting remains a lofty, but probably unattainable, goal. I’m not arguing we shouldn’t demand it, or that media outlets shouldn’t strive for it. We completely agree that the media is, in many regards, completely out of control and outrageously biased.

                  The problem isn’t the bias. It’s the inability to see it within the organizations – and, increasingly, the unwillingness to own up to it.

                  I think we’d all be better off if the media would simply be honest about its own internal point of view. Many of us already know what it is. But much of the public – indeed, much of the media, is blind to it.

                • Cannot resist the snark…

                  Liberal publications ARE inconsistent with being fair, honest and trustworthy, given the evidence of the past few years. The NY Times is a prime example that most (if not all) have become flagrant and bold in their excesses since Trump was elected.

                  Conservative ones are not much, if at all, better.

  4. Pence is a target again, for something he said in 2002, that he doesn’t have dinner with women other than his wife, and doesn’t attend events involving alcohol without her. It was reported a couple of days ago, and of course hysteria ensued…it means he won’t hire women!!!

    Every few days people astound me again with what they’re offended by, and how hysterical social media gets. I don’t think it’s accidental. We still don’t know the outcome, or what was discussed, in Trump’s meeting with black leaders because Conway on the couch was the lead story everywhere. Mike Pence must have done something right this week that has to be distracted from…

    • It is entertaining to see what kinds of things will bring on an attack of foaming at the mouth. Take steps to protect reputations and you are a misogynist just wanting to keep women in their place. But imagine the outrage at any hint of sexual impropriety. Somehow, I don’t think a Republican would get the “wink, wink, nothing to see here” that Bill got. A real Catch-22.

  5. The citation clash was between two visions of charity:
    Arrington like many many Republicans before him thinks that Welfare is abused by people who could work but don’t want to. Steven Fincher [R-TN] used the exact same verse in a SNAP hearing in 2013 to make the exact same point. They like using that quote even though in context Paul (or whoever wrote Thessalonians) was not using it in that way.

    The witness from MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Josh Protas, opened his presentation–the only part Arrington seemed to have heard or remembered– by citing Leviticus 23:22 in defense of those in need of SNAP assistance
    “Leave the corners of our fields and the gleanings of our harvest and vineyards for the poor and the stranger.”
    He focused on the social responsibility to help the poor and needy. Arrington did not.

    This is a debate going back to the 1960s debate over the Great Society. That is what the argument is about. Protas pointed out that given how hard it is for typical A-bod recipients to find work the 3-month limit for SNAP eligibility was unjust and he wanted to counter Republican stereotypes about Welfare: “No one is suggesting that people who don’t want to work should get benefits. There are stereotypes about SNAP recipients and myths about the program … that are very harmful to people in need who could take advantage of it.” Arrington was absent for much of the discussion in which ALL the presenters has agreed with Protas, He waltzed in at the end to repeat a Republican talking-point using a hackneyed citation and did not address the facts of what all the officials had said in the hearing.

    • Interesting, but irrelevant to the Post’s misrepresentation of both the Bible verse and what the Rep said. Your point isn’t news, it’s analysis, and rebuttable. See, newspapers are supposed to give facts, and let people like you make up their own minds. Did the Post try to smear the rep without printing his quote and its context? Yes. Was it caught engaging in unethical reporting? Yes. Did the Post change the article without stating so, also an ethics breach? Yes. Is this increasingly typical on the MSM? Yes.

      Here is my analysis of this statement: “There are stereotypes about SNAP recipients and myths about the program … that are very harmful to people in need who could take advantage of it.” Myths and stereotypes are not the same thing. There are SNAP recipients and Welfare recipients who are freeloaders, and they are the ones whose conduct is “very harmful to people in need who could take advantage of it.” The utilitarian debate over which is appropriate, to reduce the cheats and risk keeping out some legitimately deserving recipients, or to make sure no one goes hungry and accept the costs of the indolent sponges, is a valid one, with arguments on both sides…and news stories should be fair to both.

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