The Wall Street Journal seems determined to paint the Obama administration as anti- business. But is it so committed to pushing this false narrative that it would doctor a quote from an Obama official? In an August 27 editorial, The Wall Street Journal incorrectly quoted Education Secretary Arne Duncan, falsely suggesting that the Department of Education had proposed new regulations that would end federal student aid to for-profit because:
“Some proprietary schools have profited and prospered, and this is a disservice to students and to taxpayers,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan in justifying the new rules. The politically operative words in that sentence are “profited and prospered,” not students and taxpayers.
But the WSJ editorial, titled “Scapegoating For-Profit Colleges: Obama tees up another private industry for punishment,” left out an entire segment of Duncan's sentence. What Duncan actually said was:
“Some proprietary schools have profited and prospered but their students haven't, and this is a disservice to students and to taxpayers,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a briefing with reporters. “And it undermines the valuable work, the extraordinarily important work, being done by the for-profit industry as a whole.” [emphasis added]
Eric Gorski, the Associated Press writer who reported on Duncan's quote from a July 23 press briefing, has verified to Media Matters that Duncan made the above statement during a teleconference with the press in which Gorski participated.
Without that missing fragment, the WSJ's narrative that Obama wants to “punish” “another private industry,” because it “profited and prospered,” and not because students are being scammed by these for-profit colleges, is much more easily accomplished.
Indeed, in an August 2010 report, the Government Accountability Office investigated for-profit colleges and found that they “encouraged fraud and engaged in deceptive and questionable marketing practices” that are ultimately wasting tax-payer dollars by encouraging “college personnel to falsify their financial aid forms to qualify for federal aid.”
The Journal seems to be developing a pattern of dishonesty. As recently as June of this year, the Journal fabricated a quote from Obama's National Security Advisor John Brennan to paint Obama as an “alien” who is out of touch with the rest of America on terrorism.
Did the Wall Street Journal quote doctor strike again?