Pesky Facts! WaPo Misleads on Public Opinion of Contraception Mandate
It’s been said that facts are stubborn things. True enough, but that doesn’t daunt the “journalists” at The Washington Post. Faced with uncomfortable information, those intrepid truth-tellers … ignore it.
That’s what Sean Sullivan and Scott Clement did writing on the Post’s overtly liberal “The Fix” blog. On Nov. 26, the day the Supreme Court agreed to hear Hobby Lobby’s suit against Obamacare’s contraception mandate, the two asserted that “most Americans like contraceptive mandate for businesses.” Sullivan and Clement wrote, “based on the data we have seen, the public, for what it’s worth, doesn’t seem to think private companies should be exempted.”
Unfortunately, the data they had seen was 20 months old – a March 2012 Public Religion Research Institute survey. And new data was available – it had come out the day before in fact. A Wilson Opinion Research poll commissioned by The Family Research Council along with the Alliance Defending Freedom and published Nov. 25 showed that 59 percent of likely voters oppose forcing employers to pay for employee insurance plans covering contraceptives and abortifacient drugs.
What’s more, a Rasmussen poll also contradicting Sullivan and Clement’s claim came out Dec. 2. According to Rasmussen, “51% Oppose Health Law’s Contraceptive Mandate.” The poll focused solely on contraceptives, whereas the Wilson Opinion Research poll included drugs that might “destroy a human embryo.”
Obviously, Sullivan and Clement couldn’t have known about the Rasmussen poll (then again, they haven’t followed up in light of the new data). But it’s hard to believe didn’t know about the Wilson study. Surely big-time journalists working for a big-time paper like the Post have access to Google.
Or is it just a Post culture that likes to play games with research? In two separate polls, in February and March, the Post protected Senate Democrats by asking readers if they blamed either House Republicans or the White House for the sequester.
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.