Accuracy in Media

On Wednesday, HuffPost released a piece identifying Democrats who did not side with President Joe Biden – and they set out to determine why.

The piece, headlined, “House Democrats Opposed To Biden Agenda Actually Hail From Safe Seats,” is centered on naming and shaming House Democrats who did not support a prescription drug pricing bill. It barely explored the bill itself to determine why it might be opposed, nor did it ask the holdouts directly.

The writer went in assuming that the members who opposed it were from swing states and were only doing so to appease their more conservative constituents.

“Although lawmakers often cite electoral concerns to explain their reasons for not voting for a bill, none of those five Democrats was reelected by a narrow margin in 2020 or is included on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of vulnerable ‘frontline’ members,” according to the piece. “In fact, “frontline’ Democrats are among those who have urged party leadership to pass a strong drug price negotiation bill, precisely because they see it as key to their reelection prospects.” Having determined that it’s not an issue of purple-state voting, they moved on to the “obstructionist” Democrats’ ulterior motives.

“The five obstructionist Democrats claim that they are concerned about how negotiating lower prices based on average prices in other wealthy countries could negatively impact pharmaceutical industry innovation in the United States. That’s an industry talking point belied by, among other things, the favorable results of a similar policy in Germany.”

They almost figured it out! But then moved on to campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies. It did not compare those donations to those of members who support the bill, however.

The rest of the piece made the argument on behalf of the rest of the Democrats who do support the bill, waxing poetic on taxing the rich and closing loopholes, among other standard Democrat talking points. It cited several points of data to show that they were in the right, of course, using polling from the “progressive coalition” Americans for Tax Fairness. With a name like that, would they ever publish unfavorable numbers on taxation?

That’s not the only poll the piece cited. But the other was from the DCCC, followed by a quote from a Democratic pollster.

It’s unfathomable to HuffPost that any Democrat would have a valid reason to not toe the party line, so why make the effort to find out?

 




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