KNIGHT: Welfare wars: Anatomy of a smear

Liberals vilify any notion that religion could help build stronger families

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“Religion is at the center of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, where Patterson works as an editor. It’s fair to wonder how right it is for his extreme views to help shape a policy - in Patterson’s case, welfare policy - that will affect so many in need. And we can’t help but be disturbed by the contempt Patterson must have held, given his beliefs, for many of the clients served by the department.”

Add mind-reading to the amazing powers of the Philly scribes, along with shockingly casual religious bigotry. They know Mr. Patterson harbors bad motives because anyone who promotes marriage and respects religion must hate the poor.

The Inquirer and its cousin Daily News zeroed in on an article in the new-research section of the Family in America that summarized a scientist’s findings that semen had some positive effects on women. Here’s how a Daily News blog describes Patterson’s most colorful crime: “He wrote stories about semen as a mental elixir for women.”

An Inquirer article on Jan. 26 attacked Mr. Patterson again, giving a cartoonish version of his views and noting his “musings on how condom use could rob women of reported mood-enhancing benefits of chemicals.”

Unmentioned was that Mr. Patterson had digested a Sept. 22, 2010, blog article in Scientific American summarizing several scientists’ research on the topic. If you want to provoke a liberal wolf pack, try introducing scientific evidence for male-female complementarities.

At the same time the papers were hammering Mr. Patterson, the Inquirer ran stories about the Corbett administration’s attempt to reform Medicaid. The Jan. 18 headline screams: “Since August, 88,000 Pennsylvania children have lost Medicaid benefits.”

The article includes unanswered volleys such as, “They have chosen to send a signal, and it is very callous,” by a senior fellow from the hard-left Center for American Progress, identified as “a Washington think tank.”

Think of this as a microcosm of what the national press will do when House Republicans this year renew their common-sense plan to reform Medicaid in similar fashion to the 1996 welfare reform that replaced open-ended federal matching funds with finite block grants.

Finally, there was this gem:

“Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Phil.) said he believed the reviews were part of a pattern … of the Corbett administration’s ‘putting their foot on the neck of poor people.’ “

Is that all? From the tone of the articles and editorials, one would think Mr. Corbett had commissioned a traveling guillotine squad, perhaps with Mr. Patterson in a black hood.

But only one head fell in the flurry of liberal righteous indignation, and that was Bob Patterson’s. He resigned from the Department of Public Welfare and will continue to edit the Family in America.

It’s bad news for Pennsylvania but good news for the rest of the nation.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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