The Washington Post quietly rewrote a story about a Congressman using the Bible to bash poor people Friday, after a writer at the Federalist published a systematic break down of the piece that exposed major holes and mistakes in the story.
Caitlin Dewey’s initial write-up in the paper (which recently adopted the slogan “Democracy Dies In Darkness”) did not include a single quote from the Texas representative she basically accused of using the Bible to justify taking food from starving people. The story also incorrectly referred to “2 Thessalonians 3-10,” and wildly mischaracterized Rep. Jody Arrington’s statements on the verse.
While Arrington did reference 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat) in a discussion of food stamps, he did not, as The WaPo article suggested, use it to argue unemployed people should not be allowed to eat.
After Sean Davis pointed out these mistakes and others in the Federalist Friday, someone at The Washington Post went through and majorly reworked the story. In fact, it appears the stealth edits are a direct answer to his piece. The story now includes the full quote from Arrington and other adjustments, although the incorrect verse reference remains.
Davis wrote: “There are a few problems … 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. Because democracy dies in darkness, or something.”
Here’s what Arrington did say:
“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?”
Following the stealth edits, Davis tweeted: “WaPo was forced to rewrite its garbage hit job, still left errors uncorrected, and refused to admit error. Boy is there egg on my face.”
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