Conservatives are rallying to the support of a Texas Panhandle representative after he was smeared in an article in the Washington Post.
The Federalist called out the Washington Post after the newspaper stated U.S. Representative Jody Arrington (R-TX) quoted the Bible verse that says “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” without providing an actual quote from the congressman in the article. The Federalist states the original WaPo article referred to Arrington’s remarks during a congressional hearing on requirements to make welfare recipients work for their benefits but never actually quoted him or put his remarks in context with the hearing.
The Federalist article by Sean Davis states:
The headline from the Washington Post couldn’t have been more clear: “GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat.” Shocking, right? Judging by the Washington Post’s reporting, either this lawmaker is a real jerk, God is a real jerk for hating people without jobs, or maybe even they’re both jerks.
He then block quotes the following excerpt from WaPo:
One lawmaker is citing a godly reference to justify changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) recently quoted the New Testament to question the strength of current work requirements.
The biblical passage, 2 Thessalonians 3-10, was a rebuttal to one of the hearing’s expert witnesses, a representative of the Jewish anti-hunger group MAZON. (He referenced Leviticus.) It is also a familiar refrain to anyone who has watched past debates about SNAP.
House Republicans have historically cited the verse — “if a man will not work, he shall not eat” — as justification for cutting some adults’ SNAP benefits. Arrington referenced the verse in a discussion about increasing the work requirements for unemployed adults on the food stamp program. But critics say that advances a pernicious myth about the unemployed who receive SNAP.
Davis then calls out the newspaper stating, “There are a few problems, however, with that story from Washington Post reporter Caitlin Dewey: the lawmaker never said that, the Bible never says that, and the Washington Post article never even quotes the Texas Republican as saying that. In fact, the article doesn’t quote Arrington a single time. Not one word.”
He goes on to explain that Arrington agreed with the committee witness who quoted passages from Leviticus that required the Israelites to leave harvest gleanings in the field for sojourners and the poor.
Heat Street writer Stephen Miller also noticed WaPo’s failure to include a quote from the freshman Texas congressman. Miller Tweeted, “I’ll be damned, she doesn’t actually cite anything he said in the story. Not a word. That’s some good democracy dying in the darkness there.”
I’ll be damned, she doesn’t actually cite anything he said in the story. Not a word. That’s some good democracy dying in darkness there. https://t.co/DiiuKgSgDr
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 31, 2017
Trump supporter and Twitter user “Sarge” @moirasargent, called the article part of the “ongoing battle vs. #Christians. ‘At no point did Arrington say ‘The Bible says the unemployed shall not eat,'” while linking to the original WaPo article.
— Sarge (@moirasargent) March 31, 2017
It appears WaPo has “stealth edited” the article to now include actual quotes from the Texas congressman. Stealth editing is considered to be a journalistically unethical practice of changing the content of an article without annotating that the article has been updated. Breitbart Texas reached out to Davis and asked if this is what happened. He said, “Yes, WaPo stealth edited the article.”
Davis adds commentary to Arrington’s remarks stating:
Arrington actually affirmed him and noted that the passage in question is “a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart.”
He goes on to include the congressman’s quoted remarks:
I did hear, Mr. Protas, your opening remarks where you quoted Leviticus, I believe, and I think that’s a great reflection on the character of God and the compassion of God’s heart and how we ought to reflect that compassion in our lives.
But, there’s also, the scripture tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’” And then he goes on to say, “We hear that some among you are idle.”
I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility quite frankly, to SNAP. Tell me what is a reasonable and responsible work requirement as part of the SNAP program?
Clearly, the West Texas representative did not say the Bible restricts the unemployed from eating, as quoted in the WaPo headline.
It appears WaPo attempted to cover up their error by sneaking in the quote from the congressman after the Federalist called them out. Howver, the article did not put the remarks in context and seemed to go out of its way to accuse the congressman of lacking compassion for the poor.
Arrington expressed his compassion clearly stating, “I think that every American, Republican or Democrat, wants to help the neediest among us. And I think it’s a reasonable expectation that we have work requirements. I think that gives more credibility quite frankly, to SNAP. Tell me what is a reasonable and responsible work requirement as part of the SNAP program?”