According to a recent DrudgeReport headline:
AARP Loses 60,000+ Members Over Pro- Obama Health Care Stance…
In his typically misleading way, Drudge wants you to believe that 60,000 is a large number of anti-Obama protestors. However, when you examine the facts in their proper context, this is a non-story. Expressed as a percentage of their total membership of 40 million, the number Drudge cites is less than 1% of the total membership: 0.15%, to be exact.
Let’s look at the USA Today story Drudge links to:
About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday. The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all.
But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue.
AARP is strongly backing a health care overhaul, running ads to support it and hosting President Obama at an online forum recently to promote his agenda to AARP members. However, the group has not endorsed a specific bill and says it won’t support a plan that reduces Medicare benefits.
The approximately 60,000 number represents members who specifically cited AARP’s stance on the health overhaul debate in canceling their membership between July 1 and mid-August, Nannis said. He said that on average AARP loses some 300,000 members a month, but he couldn’t say how many more members had quit for other reasons in that time period. He said AARP gained some 400,000 new members during the same period and that 1.5 million members renewed their membership.
Based on the article Drudge links to, here are the facts:
– AARP supports Obama’s push for health care reform.
– In the same time period Drudge cites, AARP gained far more members than they lost.
– The protest percentage is less than half of one percent of the total membership base.
– Drudge is a partisan hack who deliberately tries to mislead his readers.
UPDATE: Drudge has now taken down this headline. Drudge’s attempt to mislead his readers in this way lasted from at least 7:40 a.m. on August 18, 2009 to 7 a.m. on August 19, 2009 (source: drudgereportarchives.com). That Drudge took down the headline less than an hour after I published this post is mere coincidence.