The recent parroting of the attack on welfare recipients by Gov. Paul LePage and Mary Mayhew, commissioner of health and human services, represented journalism at its worst, and perhaps most partisan.

Check this out. The headline read, “LePage gets tougher on welfare recipients” — but the truth is in the reading.

In fact, 174 cases were referred for prosecution and only 37 cases even made it to court. And the PR release from Mayhew’s office says it “uncovered” more than $1.7 million in fraud. That’s a large claim, so where is the evidence? Who are we talking about and what did they “steal”? Not unique to this administration, accuracy and the truth are irrelevant.

But the real kicker here is deep in the story. The state uncovered/recovered $23 million in provider fraud — 13.5 times greater than $1.7 million. Wasn’t that the real story?

By buying into and then endorsing the LePage/Mayhew line with your headline, you are assuming that I and other readers are stupid. Why are the poor the evil scapegoat when the great majority of theft came from providers?

But I get it. It’s easier to scapegoat and bully recipients. They have no political power at all. Not so with providers. The recipients are “cheats.” The providers made billing errors.

Stephen R. Aucoin


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