My E-Mail to Steven Ginsburg of the Washington Post, Regarding That Error-Filled Post About Amtrak Funding
I just sent this to Steven Ginsberg at The Fix at the Washington Post, copying Philip Bump (whom I had previously written about the same topic) and Sean Davis.
Philip Bump recently wrote a piece that was ostensibly about Amtrak funding, but which contained a raft of inaccurate statements. The inaccuracies were well explained by Sean Davis in this piece:
First, Bump claimed, wholly inaccurately, that “Congress has delayed passing legislation to fund Amtrak since 2013.” Davis showed that to be entirely false, noting that a December 2014 spending bill had appropriated $1.4 billion in funding for Amtrak. After Davis published his post, Bump issued a “clarification.”
Here’s the problem: as Davis explains, the “clarification” itself contains several errors and/or misleading statements which still stand uncorrected on the Washington Post’s Web site.
For one, Bump says Congress “repeatedly reauthoriz[ed] existing funding levels” — which Mr. Davis showed Congress did not, in fact do. (This demonstrated that Bump, after writing about a piece about Amtrak funding, and even after being forced to correct that piece, still had not looked up the numbers regarding Amtrak funding.)
Additionally, Mr. Bump’s terminology “reauthorized” was inaccurate and misleading, as the correct terminology was “appropriated.” I admit to being unfamiliar with the distinction before reading Mr. Davis’s post — but then, I don’t cover political funding issues for one of the nation’s largest and most well-respected newspapers.
Also, Bump implies that that there is some “long-term legislation to fund Amtrak” that Congress is “delaying.” Davis says that is misleading, because there is no such long-term bill in existence that could be “delayed.” I don’t personally know the truth about that, but Davis has been as accurate on every other point as Bump has been inaccurate, so I’m guessing Davis has this right as well.
I think these factual issues cannot be simply shrugged off. I previously wrote a post about it on my blog, and wrote Mr. Bump to ask whether he planned to address the continuing errors. He did not respond (although he did “favorite” a tweet of mine about it, so I know he knows about the continuing errors). And so, I am writing you directly to ask you whether you plan to address these issues in any way.
I will be perfectly frank: I have a political point of view, one that prizes liberty and principles of limited government. I know that many in the media will dismiss me out of hand for holding these views — views that once were quite mainstream, but now are viewed as laughable and extreme by a certain segment of the political elite, on both sides of the aisle.
However, the facts are the facts, and regardless of who brings them to your attention, the fact is that Bump got it wrong, and is still getting it wrong. I therefore encourage you to do something about it. Thanks.
I will let you know if I hear anything in response.