Dayton Paper's 'Seniors Fear' Story Likely All Too Typical

If there's a reason why Dayton Daily News staff writer Drew Simon wrote his Tuesday morning story ("Seniors fear losing Social Security checks") other than to scare the elderly, I don't know what it is.

Nowhere in his report did Simon say who was the first person to invalidly raise the specter of Social Security checks not going out on August 2 (it was President Barack Obama, in case you missed it). Nowhere did he mention that the likelihood is extremely remote, and that if it happens it would only be because the Obama Treasury Department decided to let it happen. Messy items like that distract from the main purpose. Oh, but Simon did get an apparatchik from AARP who also should and probably does know better to chime in on his behalf.

Here are a few paragraphs from Simon's stench:

Seniors fear losing Social Security checks
One Dayton woman wonders how she will survive without it.

Trudy Steineman of Dayton receives $1,078 each month from Social Security, which represents about half of her monthly income.

Should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling by next week and the government halts the distribution of Social Security checks, she wonders how she will survive.

“I wouldn’t be able to live,” said Steineman, who moved in with her youngest son Matt in December. “I have medical bills I’m trying to pay off.”

The 61-year-old Dayton retiree said she suffered two seizures and has back problems. Workers’ compensation contributes to the other half of her monthly income.

... More than 2 million Ohio seniors would be affected if Social Security checks are halted Aug. 2, according to Kathy Keller, associate state director of communications for AARP.

“What we’re doing is making sure that our congressmen and senators know that this is unacceptable,” Keller said. “For about one-third of the Ohioans who get Social Security checks, its 90 percent of their income. Those are the people that are going to be hurt the worst.”

As Dean Clancy at RedState explained: "... since those checks only cost $50 billion, compared to $170-200 billion coming in, there will obviously be sufficient funds to mail them." Of course, you can't rule out the Obama administration failing to send them (actually, in most cases, to electronically transfer them) to make a political point.

But that's my point. Simon's fact-free, blame-free, scare-tactic reporting is irresponsible, and conveniently implies that Congress and not President Obama, Tim Geithner, and their merry band of bankrupters will be to blame if the funds don't go out.

One wonders how many times Drew Simon's effort is effectively being duplicated in local papers, web sites, and broadcast outlets around the country. The answer is probably "way too darned many." Oh, and there's hardly a chance in Hades that Simon would have ignored what President Obama said if a Republican or conservative president had said it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.