Accuracy in Media

In a new piece, Teen Vogue gets the midterms factually wrong – which provides more disinformation than information in its attempt to “educate the influencers of tomorrow.”

Misinformation is being fed to readers here: “House terms are two years, and candidates can serve up to six terms.” No, the House is not term-limited. “A senator can serve two terms.” Nor is the Senate. The Presidency is term-limited, some governors are, some state legislatures, but not Congress.

We might also argue with this, concerning House and Senate: “Each state has representatives in these two groups. “ Not really, no. It is indeed the state that is represented in the Senate but it’s actually the district that is represented in the House.

This is more confusing than actually entirely wrong:

“On the state level, there will be 36 governorships and 30 state attorney general offices on ballots. Of the 36 governorships, 20 of them are currently occupied by Republicans. Although these state positions might seem less important than congressional seats, winning a majority in these areas would allow Democrats to pursue liberal legislation outside of Washington, D.C.”

You’d want a majority of each state legislature, yes, but a majority of governors or attorneys general is irrelevant. Each one is the only one in each state, their sway holds over each single state only. What everyone else is doing is irrelevant to them.

The bits they have updated from 2018 are odd, too.

“That’s why it’s important for Democrats to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer well before the midterms,” according to the piece. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson took her seat on the court, replacing Breyer, four months ago.

It’s not as if they’ve not had to check the piece. It is, as they tell us, an updated rerun of something from the 2018 midterms. That should be long enough for even a fashion magazine to be able to get the facts right.

Teen Vogue ranks at No. 446 in news and media publishers in the U.S. It gains some 5.1 million visits a month from that position. The greater importance of the site is that it has a very concentrated readership – fairly obviously teen girls. Further, it claims to want to “educate the influencers of the future.” Which is a good aim; we share it. It’s just that education has to be more factually based than this.

If Teen Vogue is getting something so obviously checkable as whether the House and Senate are term-limited or not wrong then what are they misleading, rather than educating, those influencers of the future about on other subjects?




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