“If I chased down every fake news story in this town, I’d need to get another full-time job,” Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said, blasting The Washington Post’s “blatant mischaracterization” of his use of a Bible quote.
“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media,” Rep. Arrington said in a statement condemning the Washington Post’s “fake news” headline.
“GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat,’” the Post declared in a headline last Friday in an article misrepresenting Arrington’s comment – without even quoting him in the piece. Arrington had actually quoted a Bible passage encouraging able-bodied people to be productive: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, Rep. Arrington expressed shock that a paper “as reputable as The Washington Post” would be so intellectually dishonest:
“It was ridiculous. It was such a blatant mischaracterization of what I said. Anybody that would watch that video or read my remarks would know that that was a misrepresentation.
“I couldn’t believe that a news organization as reputable as the Washington Post would allow such reckless and irresponsible journalism.”
Rep. Arrington then provided the context of the remarks The Washington Post had portrayed as cold and heartless:
“I wanted to introduce what I think is a more complete view of God’s character and that is the Biblical principle of personal responsibility – that God expects those who are able to be productive to not be idle.”
Arrington’s office has not heard back from The Washington Post, despite two statements issued by the congressman condemning the newspaper’s dishonesty:
“I am disappointed in the Washington Post for so blatantly misrepresenting my comments. Thank you to The Federalist, and all of the other reporters who are accurately reporting my statements.
“Though the Bible calls us on us to be compassionate, it also instructs us to encourage personal responsibility and be good stewards of God's grace.”
“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media. Thanks to pressure by other news outlets, the Washington Post has changed their headline as well as the content of their story.
“All of this, over a comment about the Biblical principle of balancing compassion with personal responsibility. Contrary to what the Washington Post reporter says, I believe the majority of citizens in this country support traditional American values.”
The Washington Post has, subsequently, revised the story's headline and added a quote from Rep. Arrington.
The initial Washington Post headline read:
The revised article notes both the "correction" and the addition of a quote: