Trent England | September 19, 2018

The Washington Post ignores low life expectancies in its own city

Trent England

(photo credit: Dion HinchcliffeCC BY-SA 2.0)

“Haters gonna hate,” as they say. And so left-leaning media will look for ways to skewer right-leaning states. In the latest installment, The Washington Post hits Oklahoma (and sideswipes West Virginia) over life expectancy. The story is that Stilwell, Oklahoma, appears to have the lowest average life expectancy in the nation (56.3 years), with Logan, West Virginia doing just slightly better (56.9 years). Several points of context are important.

Most telling is what is buried. In his 26th paragraph of the 28-paragraph story, the reporter finally mentions the radical disparities within the District of Columbia and other deep-blue cities:

The county containing Manhattan Island is home to neighborhoods where residents can expect to live as few as 59 years or as many as 93.6. The counties containing Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; the District; and Buffalo also show spreads of 27 years or more.

After two-dozen paragraphs bashing red states, readers discover that average life expectancies are nearly as bad in pockets of major cities as they are in the poorest small towns. Now that’s a story.

After all, people in small towns and rural communities have less access to medical care compared to people in major cities. It’s no conspiracy that greater population density means greater services. So everything else being equal, one would expect city-dwellers to have a better life expectancy because the hospitals are closer and bigger.

The same is true for opportunities both to learn and to work. There are many benefits to rural and small-town life, but here again, greater population density tends to multiply opportunities, especially in the modern American economy. Higher education levels and higher incomes correlate with longer life expectancy, so here again, any educated observer would expect cities to do better.

None of these factors—access to medical care, education, or income—are particularly controversial. What is more interesting is that blue cities in blue states, despite urban advantages and much more government spending and other interventions, have nearly the same pockets of low life expectancy as the very worst performing red towns in red states.

Given how many more people live in the cities, it is surprising that The Post leaves their plight to a couple of paragraphs at the end of its story. Given the ideology of The Post, however, it is not surprising at all.

Trent England David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England

David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow

Trent England is the David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, where he previously served as executive vice president. He is also the founder and executive director of Save Our States, which educates Americans about the importance of the Electoral College. England is a producer of the feature-length documentary “Safeguard: An Electoral College Story.” He has appeared three times on Fox & Friends and is a frequent guest on media programs from coast to coast. He is the author of Why We Must Defend the Electoral College and a contributor to The Heritage Guide to the Constitution and One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty. His writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Times, Hillsdale College's Imprimis speech digest, and other publications. Trent formerly hosted morning drive-time radio in Oklahoma City and has filled for various radio hosts including Ben Shapiro. A former legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, he holds a law degree from The George Mason University School of Law and a bachelor of arts in government from Claremont McKenna College.

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