Here's the lead sentence from the AP article on the Office of Inspector General (OIG) report on overpayments in Social Security's Disability Insurance Benefits program "Social Security overpaid nearly half the people receiving disability benefits over the past decade, according to a government watchdog, raising questions about the management of the cash-strapped program."
This could have been the AP lead sentence "Only 3% of Social Security disability benefits are paid incorrectly and the Social Security Administration is able to recoup 85% of the benefits paid incorrectly." That's also what the OIG report showed. Of course, that wouldn't have been the lead sentence because it's boring. It also wouldn't have been the lead sentence because the AP writer was clued into the OIG report by some Republican operative who heavily emphasized the "nearly half" part even though it's misleading.
Let's say there was a study showing that over a 10 year time period 22% of drivers were caught driving drunk at some time. There isn't such a study as far as I know but let's say there was. Would it be fair and reasonable to have the lead sentence on an article about that study that reads "Nearly a quarter of all people who drove over the last ten years were found to be driving drunk, raising questions about law enforcement on our dangerous highways." I would say no. First, 22% isn't nearly a quarter, any more than 44% is nearly half. More important, if 22% of drivers have been caught driving drunk, law enforcement is doing its job in catching people driving drunk. There's no reason to question what law enforcement is doing. For the same reason, there's no reason to question the Social Security Administration's efforts to detect and prevent overpayments. Most important, the hypothetical lead sentence is misleading since it suggests that at any given time that nearly one quarter of drivers are drunk and that's not what the hypothetical study showed. By the same token, the OIG didn't show that at any given time 44% of benefits recipients are being overpaid as the AP story implies. The AP story is misleading.