One of the press's longest campaigns to systematically obfuscate the truth about a specific government program is the one that has protected Social Security from reasonable scrutiny for most of the 75 years of its existence.
The Associated Press's Stephen Ohlemacher did his part to continue the misdirection in his coverage of the possible effects of the payroll tax cut President Obama and congressional Republicans have proposed.
To Mr. Ohlemacher, the Social Security system has this huge, "guaranteed" trust fund. I can almost stop there, but readers should buck up and see the following excerpt as an object example of the falsehoods fed to the public for so many years (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Payroll tax cut worries Social Security advocates
President Barack Obama's plan to cut payroll taxes for a year would provide big savings for many workers, but makes Social Security advocates nervous that it could jeopardize the retirement program's finances. 
The plan is part of a package of tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits that Obama negotiated with Senate Republican leaders. It would cut workers' share of Social Security taxes by nearly one-third for 2011. Workers making $50,000 in wages would get a $1,000 tax cut; those making $100,000 would get a $2,000 tax cut.
The government would borrow about $112 billion to make Social Security whole. Advocates and some lawmakers worry that relying on borrowed money to fund Social Security could eventually force it to compete with other federal programs for scarce dollars, leading to cuts. 
Social Security taxes "ought to be held sacrosanct," said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.,  chairman of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security.
"When you start to signal that the (Social Security) tax levels are negotiable, you end up in long-term trouble, I think, in terms of making absolutely certain that the entitlement funding streams are secure," Pomeroy said. 
... The proposal requires the Treasury Department to replenish Social Security with other government funds, which would have to be borrowed. 
"The payroll tax cut has absolutely no effect on the solvency of Social Security,"  said White House economic adviser Jason Furman.
Social Security has accumulated a $2.5 trillion trust fund since the 1980s. But the government has borrowed that money to pay for other programs. The Treasury Department has issued special bonds to Social Security, guaranteeing the money will be repaid, with interest. 
As aging baby boomers start to retire and strain the system, advocates worry about future benefit cuts. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes. Without changes, Social Security's trust funds will run out of money by 2037, according to the trustees who oversee the program. 
Fabrications and falsehoods such as those purveyed by Ohlemacher have been part and parcel of reporting on Social Security for as long as the program has existed. Those who know the truth must continue to challenge the misinformation until the public understands what a mess "progressives" have made of things.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.