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Paul Kane/WaPo's reporting skills are on par with DailyKos (Sarah Palin veto)

[See the updates, it gets a lot worse: what Paul Kane describes as a "slash[ing]" of funds to a non-profit was over a threefold increase from all the government funds they received in 2006.]

Paul Kane of the Washington Post should consider a career as a DailyKos diarist, as he offers "Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms" (link):
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation -- "SP" -- Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.
As for why he should consider joining DailyKos instead, Kane didn't endeavor to find out why she did that. And, of course, there are many explanations.

One explanation is that Palin is a sociopath who wants teen moms to suffer. However, I believe that explanation can be discarded.

So, we have to search further, and notably, Kane didn't contact the campaign for an explanation. Perhaps she believes that private rather than state monies should be used? Perhaps, if that's the reason, her beliefs are correct; did Kane endeavor to find out whether that could be correct? Perhaps she thought it would discourage teen pregnancies? Perhaps she doesn't come with the set of assumptions Kane obviously has that there must be a state program for everything? Perhaps she has evidence that Covenant House misspends money? Perhaps there are other programs available? All those possibilities Kane does not even broach.

Please contact the WaPo's ombudsman: ombudsman *at* washpost.com

UPDATE: It's even worse than I suspected. According to their site (covenanthouseak.org/involved.htm), "Approximately 90% of our funding comes from the generous donations of friends like you". And, according to this state document (PDF link), they were only to get $155,000 in 2007. It's not clear whether that was their only source of state funding, and their executive director wasn't available.

UPDATE 2: The $3.9 million was part of a grant for a facilities expansion; see this PDF (you might need to change the extension to "PDF" after downloading).

And, Covenant House's IRS Form 990 (link) shows the funds that Paul Kane describes as "slashed" was over a threefold increase from the government funds they received from all sources in 2006 (FY2006 ending 12/31/06). In 2006, they received:

Contributions $1,667,796
Government Grants $1,194,788
Program Services $0
Investments $67,947
Special Events $271,980
Sales $0
Other $11,139
Total Revenue $3,213,650

Note that they also get money from the feds, including on the facilities expansion.

Please use the address above to send a message to the WaPo about their "reporting".

UPDATE 3: This post earlier said it was "almost a fourfold", but I changed it to "over a threefold" to be mathematically precise. Also, there's a round-up of those sites that simply followed the WaPo's lead without even considering they might be wrong here.

UPDATE 4: A comment (not the post) at corrects Matt Yglesias with this (yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2008/09/palin_and_special_needs_children.php#comment-629796):
If you bother looking at the documents, you can see that one program, the Alaska Challenge Youth Academy Program is included in the budget for 2007 but not in 2008. This accounts for nearly all of the discrepancy. You could also see, with a simple search, that the same program is still funded in 2008 (pdf), just on a separate program sheet (in fact, funding was increased, by the governor, by about 50%).
UPDATE 5: Even NPR - NPR! - corrected their pile-on of the story (link):
After Brian, one of our astute readers, questioned the veracity of this article, we did some additional digging. It turns out the Washington Post got this one wrong. We called the Covenant House Alaska and, according to Executive Director Deirdre Cronin, the program's operating budget was not in fact reduced. She writes in a press release: "Our $3.9 million appropriation is directed toward a multi-year capital project and it is our understanding that the state simply opted to phase in its support for this project over several years, rather than all at once in the current budget year." Thanks, Brian. We stand corrected.
Other tags: sarah palin smear

Politics · Tue, 09/02/2008 - 14:19 · Importance: 9

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 00:28
Nitrogen

If you look at the WaPo's own photocopy of the budget page, it turns out what Palin did was reduce the appropriation for a teen umbrella program (that, among other things, includes housing for teen moms) from $5M to $3.9M. In other words, she left almost 80% intact. This is "slashing"?

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 00:35
LogicalUS

Facts are unimportant...the MSM have to get a far-left America-hating nutjob elected as President! Say no to racism, say no to Obama 2008.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 04:28
eh

Maybe the WaPo ought to publish an editorial titled 'We Think American Taxpayers Ought to Subsidize Statutory Rape'. Just so things would be clear.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 08:09
NoWMDsFound

Paul Kane was 100% right, cutting 5 million to 3.9 million IS SLASHING, REDUCING, CUTTING.... DO THE FREAKIN' MATH! 5 - 1.1 = 3.9 GOT IT? Funny how Republicans hate giving money to the homeless, but they don't mind giving corp welfare to Exxon, Halliburton or even warmongering Israel. They never cry about that, hypocrites.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 10:59
w3

This is how every story ever written about "budget slashing" is formulated. Liberals would have you believe that social programs have been "slashed" if the amount requested is more than the amount eventually granted, even if the amount granted is greater than the previous year. With liberals the facts are this: either they are very bad at math, or they think their audience is stupid. I tend to believe the latter since that's how they treat the electorate. If you spent your entire life trying to con people you believe are dumb, you'd be as pessimistic as a liberal, too.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 14:54
Sean Bannion

It appears the 155K in 2006 for for a needs assessment for a construction project. Typically, you need to do an engineering study along with all the "soft" data to justify the need. This explains the 2006 amount. The 155K is not the overall request to fund the PROGRAMS to be carried out by Covenant House. It is for a study to determine the need for an expansion. Then the $5M request (please note that it is just that - a request - not a given)was for $5M to construct an expansion of the facility. Again, NOT program funding, but rather a one-time construction cost. Again, this does NOT represent a funding cut to the programs. Since Covenant House states it's going to leverage other dollars for the expansion it may be that Palin thought the state could afford $3.9M and Covenant House would be able to leverage other funding sources for the remainder. We don't know this for sure because the WaPo "journalist" doesn't tell us if there were any of those back channel discussions going on. Odds are pretty good that there was some kind of understand as to where Covenant House could come up with the difference. And NONE of these figures represent funding for the actual PROGRAMS run by Covenant House. The figures are ONLY about the EXPANSION of the facility. How the WaPo thinks it can peddle this is beyond me. One might be forgiven for thinking a journalist would know this but...words mean things. Evidently Kane does not understand this. So when he says, "slash funding for a state program" it leaves a rather different impression than saying something more accurate as in, "fund 78% of a planned expansion." I work in the federal government and I am continually stunned at how little the average American knows about how government at any level actually works. But when the ignorance comes from someone who sits in the nation's capital and whose business it is to actually report on government and its functions the ignorance is particularly galling. In fact, it's malpractice.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 16:15
me

The unasked question: Why is the State of Alaska spending $3.9 million funding a religious program? Read the text on the front page of Covenant House's website (which conveniently is part of an image, not text, so it can't be cut and pasted) http://www.covenanthouseak.org/ Are other religious groups supported with similar funding for their programs?

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 17:08
Sean Bannion

_Are other religious groups supported with similar funding for their programs?_ Yes, "me" it is perfectly legal to provide federal funding to faith-based community organizations which provide social services. Thanks for proving my point - again - about how little most Americans know about how their government works. These organizations cannot proselytize. Other than that, they can provide services. Check it out: http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/background-overview.html Next time, try Google.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 17:24
John

I sit on the board of a crisis pregnancy center in Minnesota. Last year after the Democrats retook the majority in the legislature they promptly sought to eliminate (not cut) all funding for our centers. This was led by a number of "Catholic" Democrats. It was thanks to Republican Gov. Pawlenty that funding was restored at all albeit at a slightly reduced rate. I also just finished writing press releases for a private foundation that distributed over a million dollars in funding. Of the 60 plus grants that were funded almost every one received less than they asked for. That is the reality of the economic situation today.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 19:19
Jeff

Get your facts straight. This was a one-time budget expenditure, and not the general funding. The original budgeted amount was $5M, of which she vetoed $1.1M. Line Item Veto http://www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/09_omb/budget/bills/SB221_spreadsheet_FINAL.pdf Final Appropriation http://www.gov.state.ak.us/omb/09_omb/budget/DCCED/Veto/2009proj45855.pdf Seriously, this "threefold" nonsense is so easily debunked just by actually paying attention, instead of just trying to find some numbers you think support your argument.

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 19:29
Tom Ames

"I work in the federal government and I am continually stunned at how little the average American knows about how government at any level actually works." -Sean Bannion I'm with you, Sean. It's malpractice. "What is it exactly that the VP does every day?" -Sarah Palin "If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance." -Sarah Palin, on the phrase "Under God", added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." -Sarah Palin, asked in 2007 about her knowledge of the effects of the Surge of troops into Iraq

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 20:01
Maggie

John- Crisis Pregnancy Centers are known for pushing Christian agendas and misleading women about those agendas. The slogan "Pregnant? Need Help?" doesn't begin to suggest that when she enters a center, she will be forced into a prayer group, be fed cookies and orange juice (ensuring that she will not be able to have an abortion that day, which for poor women who took time off to travel a good distance to a deceptive center such as yours is quite effective). The advertising used by organizations such as yours was proven to be misleadings, which is why the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act was written. Look up the act, look up the NON PARTISAN research that started it, and then feed me your crap about your deceptive "Pregnancy Centers" having their funds unfairly "eliminated."

Wed, 09/03/2008 - 21:06
John

Wow Maggie, Forget to take your meds today. I can't speak to every organization but that isn't how we run ours.

Thu, 09/04/2008 - 12:43
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/FredDawes1776/

buy guns

Fri, 09/05/2008 - 21:14
Allen Fund
n/a

Perhaps if Sarah Palin would do an interview or take questions there wouldn't be a giant media void. Until she starts answering questions, it's all just a big sideshow. Obama went on Oreilly. Let's see palin go on Meet the Press or Larry King.

Sat, 09/06/2008 - 11:50
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/FredDawes1776/

BUY GUNS, Really big guns!

Wed, 09/10/2008 - 14:17
roger

doesn't it make you feel a little slimy to dig up ridiculous arguments to support an obviously corrupt politician or does your ideology blind you to her flaws? Who do you care more about: America or the Republican party?

Thu, 09/11/2008 - 09:51
Sean Bannion

_doesn't it make you feel a little slimy to dig up ridiculous arguments to support an obviously corrupt politician or does your ideology blind you to her flaws? Who do you care more about: America or the Republican party?_ Since this entire story was actually debunked at length in the more mainstream press two days ago, I have to ask... Roger? Who do you care more about America or the Democratic party?

Thu, 09/11/2008 - 14:37
roger

Sean your posts on this site alone show that you are a partisan hack. you know the kind of partisan hack you has enabled and cheered for the disasters that the republican party has created under the criminal bush administration. your "debunked"comment is a joke and it doesn't even deal with the larger issue of how corrupt your Palin is.

Thu, 09/11/2008 - 16:02
Sean Bannion

_Sean your posts on this site alone show that you are a partisan hack._ Pot meet kettle. You know, Roger, until you came along I had not said a word about _either_ party. I've only corrected factual errors. I've used my, yes, expertise, in government to point out that some people were misreading the entire document in question. If you don't believe the "debunked" story about this funding, try using Google. It really _has_ been refuted and not only by blogs. The fact that you can use the line "criminal bush administration" and then call someone _else_ - a partisan hack is beyond funny. It's delusional. All that hate, son. It's gonna eat you up inside.

Thu, 09/11/2008 - 18:47
roger

How can you honestly can say that the bush administration isn't criminal? they have broken numerous laws: spying on americans without a warrent, torture; rendition, lying to the american public for political gain, use of federal resources for political gain etc... You accuse me of partisanship but it is not partisan to tell the truth. one example of many: from http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2005/12/22/impeach/index1.html "The fact is, the federal law is perfectly clear," Turley says. "At the heart of this operation was a federal crime. The president has already conceded that he personally ordered that crime and renewed that order at least 30 times. This would clearly satisfy the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors for the purpose of an impeachment." ps stop with your false concern for my insides, you condescending jerk.

Fri, 09/12/2008 - 10:28
Sean Bannion

Again. Pot, meet kettle. Keep it up Cupcake. If you like, my wife is a psychiatrist, I ask her if she'll send you some meds.