AP Falsely Claims This Year's Reported Poverty Drop is 'First Since 2006'

September 18th, 2014 12:09 AM

As been its habit since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the Associated Press has, whenever possible, considered the impact of news developments on the President and his party as far more important than what's actually happening in the lives of real people.

The latest example is the wire service's coverage of Tuesday's Census Bureau report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage in the U.S. Nothing — not even fundamental accuracy, as will be seen shortly — was more important to reporter Jesse J. Holland, the AP's "Race and Ethnicity writer," than telling readers that a half-point fall in the poverty rate from 15.0 percent to 14.5 percent, constituted "a bit of encouraging news about the nation's economy as President Barack Obama and Congress gear up for midterm elections." The fact that the Obama Era has brought us levels of poverty not seen in 20 years — this year's figure matches 1994's — apparently doesn't matter.

The headline at Holland's story, which is a clear attempt to convey the idea that the Obama administration is finally making headway against damage allegedly done during and carrying over from the Bush 43 years, reads: "POVERTY RATE DROPS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2006." Holland opened by asserting that "The poverty rate in the United States has dropped for the first time since 2006."

The "since 2006" claim is simply not true:


The official poverty rate declined slightly in 2011 from 15.1 percent to 15.0 percent. This year's decline is not the first in seven years.

Holland also never told readers what the poverty rate was in 2006. The 12.3 percent seen above represented virtually the same absolute number of those in poverty (36.46 million) as seen a decade earlier (36.53 million). Since then, "somehow" coinciding with when Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 elections, the number of American in poverty under the Census Bureau's definition has grown by nearly 20 percent.

It would be interesting to see how many news outlets picked up the AP's false "since 2006" claim concerning this year's drop in the poverty rate.

Finally, Holland waited until the final two of his 14 paragraphs to tell readers that the Census Bureau changed how it conducts the healthcare coverage portion of its survey:

Officials also said the percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2013 calendar year was 13.4 percent, which equaled 42 million people. Census officials said those numbers cannot be compared with previous year numbers because they changed the way they asked the question on their surveys.

Because the main coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act didn't take effect until 2014, the latest census numbers offer a baseline number of uninsured by which increased coverage and effectiveness of the law will be measured.

How convenient. Unless someone else engages in an intense, expensive time-consuming research study on their own, the American people will never really be able to gauge the actual impact of Obamacare's initial rollout on the number of uninsured. The "most transparent administration in history" strikes again.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.