Accuracy in Media

Not that we expect complex thinking from HuffPost, but managing to get a Supreme Court decision entirely wrong is a new one. The mistake – at this point we’ll call it a mistake – is over the decision about Maine’s tuition aid for private education program. The Court just decided that religious schools cannot be excluded from this. At which point HuffPost says:

The ruling is the latest in a line of decisions from the Supreme Court that have favored religion-based discrimination claims.

No, it’s the opposite. That you cannot discriminate on the basis of religion, since the decision is that religious schools cannot be excluded from that tuition aid program. This is the opposite of discriminating upon the basis of religion: This is insisting that you may not discriminate upon the basis of religion.

This shouldn’t be that difficult to understand, the decision is actually quoted by HuffPost itself:

“Maine’s ‘nonsectarian’ requirement for its otherwise generally available tuition assistance payments violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Regardless of how the benefit and restriction are described, the program operates to identify and exclude otherwise eligible schools on the basis of their religious exercise,” Roberts wrote.

The ruling is the latest in a line of decisions from the Supreme Court that have favored religion-based discrimination claims.

No, it really is clear as a bell. The Court has just stated that you cannot discriminate on the basis of religion when handing out state money for education. This is not in favor; this is against.

HuffPost is one of American’s major media outlets. It ranks No. 25 among news and media outlets and gains some 63 million visits a month.

Now it is true that we ourselves are biased here. We’re in favor of charters, of education spending being spread around, of the system being freed from the educational bureaucracy and teachers’ unions. Despite all of that we really do insist that it is necessary to grasp – and report upon correctly – what the Court has just done. It’s just insisted that discrimination on the basis of religion is not to be allowed in the allocation of education money. That’s entirely the opposite of what HuffPost seems to think has just happened. This isn’t a good look for a media outlet really, managing to get something 100% wrong.




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