Huffington Post is one of the worst offenders amongst supposedly reputable news outlets. It’s a clickbait rag, built almost entirely on exaggeration and fact-twisting. This latest from them declares that Mike Pence “caused an HIV outbreak.” With a statement like that, you might expect something truly scandalous, like he oversaw the distribution of contaminated needles as Governor. But no, not the Huffington Post; they don’t have enough class—or, frankly, enough honesty—for that.
Here is the evidence Huffington Post cites to support their accusation:
In 2011, the vice president laid the groundwork for a massive HIV outbreak as an Indiana congressman, when the House passed his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Public health spending cuts prompted the shuttering of the only Planned Parenthood in Indiana’s Scott County during Pence’s first year as governor in 2013, leaving 24,000 residents without a place to get tested for HIV. That closing is one of several factors that may have influenced a 2015 spike in HIV infections, the worst in Indiana’s history.
That’s it. That’s what Mike Pence did to “cause an HIV outbreak.” First, defunding Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with anything. There are plenty of ways and places to get tested for HIV. I don’t even know what the places are in Indiana, but on its surface, this “proof” from Huffington Post should leave its readers laughing. Second, they follow up this smoking gun with “that closing is one of several factors that may have influenced a 2015 spike in HIV infections.” And we’re supposed to take you seriously? (Unfortunately, too many people do take the Huffington Post seriously.) Even the Huffington Post feels their evidence is so weak that the best exaggeration they can muster is “one of several factors that may have influenced.” Nice work there, champ. Boy, you really pulled out all the stops getting to the bottom of this one, didn’t you? I bet the next stop for you is the trash hea—I mean, Pulitzer, yeah, Pulitzer.
Even a correction posted later can’t save this article:
CORRECTION: . . . Language has been added to clarify that the 2013 Planned Parenthood closing is one of several factors that were said to have influenced the 2015 HIV outbreak in Indiana. [Emphasis added.]
As terrible as the article is in its reasoning and facts, it used to be worse. And of course the falsely accusatory headline wasn’t corrected to correspond with the added correction to the “language” of the article.
The author concludes the article with this sizzling zinger:
Just goes to show that it pays to do a little research into a politician’s rhetoric before heaping them with compliments.
Ummm . . . does anyone else see . . . oh, the irony! . . . it makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Really, what this article shows is that it pays to do a little research into the facts before publishing an article. But that’s a lesson the Huffington Post is unlikely to learn anytime soon—if ever.