I understand the strategy behind clickbait headlines. I admit that sometimes I get sucked into clicking through galleries of shocking celebrity photos after reading a sensational headline on Facebook.
This week, there were two headlines that kept popping up in my newsfeed. Here are some examples below.
“Trump Review Threatens to Rip Up Obama Wilderness Protections”
“Trump Administration to Defend Contraception Mandate Required Under Affordable Care Act”
While initially dismayed, a quick perusing of the articles allayed those concerns. This is precisely why the allegations of “fake news” are a constant theme.
In the first instance, the President simply ordered the Secretary of the Interior to review the Antiquities Act and its application to millions of miles of previously public land as protected areas. After the survey, some lands may be returned to state and local control but that has not actually happened yet.
In the second case, several leading commentators on the right alleged that the Trump Department of Justice plan to defend the HHS Preventive Services Mandate (a.k.a. Abortion Pill/Contraception Mandate) in federal court. Upon deeper investigation, one can easily find out that the DOJ asked for more time to review the Fifth Circuit case and attempt to negotiate with the parties involved in light of the many vacancies in the agency at present.
The mandate, which is an Obamacare related regulation, is at the center of over 100 cases. Hobby Lobby, arts and crafts retailer run by the religious Green family, won a case based on this rule a few years ago but many other cases are still working their way through the system. Faith based groups assumed that a new GOP administration would simply drop the lawsuits and move on. With Tom Price at HHS and Mike Pence as Vice President, groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor (charitable group run by nuns) and other faith based organizations expected a reprieve like the Obama Administration gave to other favored groups. While the DOJ is asking for time, that doesn’t preclude them from ultimately following through on Trump’s campaign promise to get rid of the mandate.
As Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers famously said everyone needs to relax and stop overreacting to every headline they read on the Internet. We have four more years. Let’s save our outrage for real issues-not potential problems.