The award for worst headline this week goes to the Washington Post.
Take a bow, headline writers.
"GOP lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed 'shall not eat,'" read a Wonkblog headline published Friday morning.
The only problem with this headline is the referenced GOP lawmaker didn't actually say that. Also, the story doesn't actually quote the lawmaker as saying that. Also, the Bible also doesn't say anything about the unemployed not eating.
Basically, the headline is a hot bag of trash wrapped in a worn diaper. It demonstrates a key rule of media consumption in 2017: Every headline paraphrasing what a Christian conservative said is probably lying to you.
Here is how the story opens: "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."
Okay, sounds like it's about to get pretty shocking. Here's the next part:
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.
That's it. That's the closest the story comes to matching its headline. There's a bit further down about previous lawmakers citing that specific biblical passage and about Arrington being a Christian who held a prayer session in his district office. And his brother is a pastor.
Again, that's it. That's all there is to the story. There's nothing else in the report to back the headline's claim, which rewords "will not work" as "[is] unemployed."
The post has updated the story's headline so that it now reads, "GOP lawmaker: The Bible says 'if a man will not work, he shall not eat.'"
The story has also been tweaked in several areas to correct previous mistakes, and to soften its original tone.
Generally speaking, reporters are not responsible for writing headlines. Reporters do the reporting, yes, but editors usually take it from there and pick out strong headlines to match the story.
If an editor is responsible for whatever went wrong with this Wonkblog post's headline, then a certain author should probably be having a very long and very angry talk with her supervisors.