The Associated Press's recent error-filled article concerning the ObamaCare Spanish-language site apparently is the best story published by the AP over the last month.
The story claimed that the site was written in “Spanglish," but the site is actually written in proper Spanish, a fact easily discerned by any fluent Spanish-language reader.
The AP’s article, “Health Care Website Frustrates Spanish Speakers,” claimed that the “the translations were so clunky and full of grammatical mistakes that critics say they must have been computer-generated — the name of the site itself can literally be read 'for the caution of health.' "
Unfortunately for the AP, the site is written in perfect Spanish. The site name, “Cuidado de Salud” does not actually mean “for caution of health” when translated into English, but rather, in very simple Spanish, “taking care of your health.” This is one of the many bogus claims by the AP that the ObamaCare site was written in “Spanglish.”
Not only did the AP story suffer from errors of the “Spanish as a second language” variety, but also it badly stumbled on factual mistakes that could have been fact-checked on Google in seconds.
For example, the AP claimed that “Across the U.S., about 12 percent of the 317 million people in the country speak only Spanish.” This is incorrect. The latest data from the Pew Center shows that the majority of American Latinos are either bilingual or English-dominant. Myriad studies corroborate this fact.
This cascade of factual errors crammed into one story is an embarrassment. Once upon a time, the AP was the gold standard of American journalism. Now it gives out prizes for the most error-filled reporting on one subject.
More broadly, the inability of Oreskes and his editors to understand that Spanish-content reporting requires fluent Spanish-reading editors — something that would seem self-evident to any professional — is one more example of how American Latinos have been marginalized in the management of major media outlets in America.
Baffling, however, is that under the bright light of criticism for the AP’s shoddy reporting of this story, Oreskes saw fit to give an award to the cast of characters who produced this unintentionally satirical “news report.”
Maybe it’s time for the AP to act like a responsible news organization and issue a correction. The organization should apologize to its readers and other journalists who picked up the story as a credible report and were deceived by this misreported story.