Four days after authoring a "hard news" article about a new online Social Security benefits calculator created by the conservative Heritage Foundation -- touting its dubious claims about the benefits of President Bush's Social Security plan without noting key flaws in its methodology -- Washington Times chief political correspondent Donald Lambro wrote a commentary explicitly endorsing the calculator as accurate and informative.
"Anyone wanting to know how he would do under President Bush's personal retirement accounts plan should take a look at the Heritage Foundation's online calculator," Lambro wrote on April 18, following his April 14 news article in the Times.
He added: "Contrary to the plan's fiercest critics in the Democratic Party, the AARP and other liberal groups, Heritage's calculator shows workers would receive a higher rate of return from their hard-earned payroll taxes under Mr. Bush's proposal than under the existing Social Security system."
In his April 14 "news" report, Lambro maintained a veneer of objectivity. "Workers would receive a higher rate of return under President Bush's plan for personal retirement accounts than they would under the existing Social Security system, according to calculations by the Heritage Foundation," he wrote.
But as Media Matters for America noted, the Heritage Foundation relies on erroneous assumptions in purporting to compare Bush's plan with benefits scheduled under current law.
Lambro serves as both a "hard news" reporter on politics for the Times and as a regular commentator alongside such well-known conservatives as Tony Blankley, L. Brent Bozell III, Michelle Malkin, Linda Chavez, Oliver North, and Lawrence Kudlow. His role as commentator undermines his credibility as a "hard news" reporter.