Politico Gets Problems In Puerto Rico All Wrong And Doesn’t Retract Article

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Will Ricciardella Social Media Strategist and Politics Writer
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Politico published a piece fraught with contradictions and corrections on the federal government’s response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

In fact, it turns out the reporter was wrong on nearly every major point.

“An earlier version of this article stated that associates of the Koch brothers proposed and lobbied Congress to pass the law establishing Puerto Rico’s fiscal control board,” read the corrections at the end of Alejandro Rosa’s article in Politico. “There is no evidence of any Koch involvement in the passage of the law.” 

The corrections didn’t stop there. In fact, the corrections were included in lengthy paragraph at the end of the article, longer than any other throughout.

In the original piece, Rosa, a journalist in Puerto Rico, blamed the fiscal control board for reducing the minimum wage to $4 an hour. “The board did not lower the minimum wage, the governor did,” reads Politico’s correction.

She also claimed that the U.S. Congress imposed austere measures on Puerto Rico, something it has no authority to do. Politico had to correct her once again, noting “Congress instructed the commonwealth to work towards balancing its budget. The governor decided what cuts to make.”

Rosa attacks all the usual suspects. She even managed to take a unfair shot at the Koch brothers, the left’s favorite boogeymen. The corrections made by Politico at the end of the article tell the tale of journalist in the midst of an ideological rant, rather than a legitimate reportage of the facts. It is the picture perfect example of an article that should be pulled. Immediately. Or better yet, never published in the first place.

In a piece titled “Puerto Rico’s Tragedy Was Years In The Making,” Rosa gets the diagnosis correct, but attributes all the symptoms to the wrong disease.

“It began when the austerity measures were imposed on our island last year, making serious cuts to infrastructure, health and housing,” Rosa writes, absolving the Puerto Rican government from crushing its own economy. Rosa also blames the Jones Act before she goes all the way back to 1898, “when the United States invaded our island but didn’t grant us representation in Congress.”

To Rosa, Puerto Rico’s woes come at the behest of the United States that treats them like “second class citizens,” and Puerto Rico is an innocent territory oppressed by the powers that be in Washington. This idea couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Puerto Rico’s weak infrastructure will make it difficult to provide the aid that it desperately needs,” NPR reported Sept. 22. “Well before this year’s series of historically powerful hurricanes, Puerto Rico already had a notoriously fickle power supply and crushing debt.” The large amount of debt or lack of money to maintain a resilient infrastructure certainly wasn’t the fault of the U.S. government.

“We do know that we could be without reliable electricity for six months,” Rosa writes, referencing the results of Maria. Oddly, she never mentions that long before Maria ever hit, reliable electricity didn’t exist. Prior to the storm, the power authority declared bankruptcy and power outages were routine.

“Puerto Rico is not experiencing a temporary recession; it is in economic decline,” read a 2015 report published by the Heritage Foundation. “According to the World Bank Group’s Doing Business rankings, it is significantly more difficult to do business in Puerto Rico than on the U.S. mainland.”

This is why so many Puerto Ricans vote with their feet, “leaving en masse for better opportunities on the mainland,” writes Rosa, never explaining why so many would flee to a place that considers them “second class citizens.”

The crumbling infrastructure in Puerto Rico prior to Maria’s devastation and a fleeing population is a result of their own policies, not those of the federal government. Politico’s best bet is to pull the article off its website, or risk appearing as though it is purposely pushing a false narrative.


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