The subject is an Associated Press story on Obama administration pushback on Republican claims that the Democratic health care reform bills do not slow the growth of health care costs.
White House defends costs, cuts in health bill
The Associated Press, however is not the subject of my title. My subject is the St. Petersburg Times. The Times exercised its option to use the AP story. And it exercised its option to provide a different headline:
Obama administrations refutes Republican claims that it's not doing enough to fight rising health care costsLeaving aside the extra "s" at the end of "administration," does the editor not know that "refutes" means something different from "rebuts"? It would be rare indeed for an "objective" news source to have warrant to use "refutes" in a story in this manner. It constitutes an editorial judgment, for the word indicates that the other claim has been effectively undermined. "Rebuts," in contrast, communicates the idea that the administration contested the Republican claim, but without taking a position as to whether the attempt succeeded.
The Times seems to have used the term judiciously in a headline concerning local politician Brian Blair. Blair is a Republican, for what it's worth.
On the other hand, the Times appeared to use the wrong word for a story about Dr. Alfred Bonati.