Rush Limbaugh distorted an MSNBC promotional ad to accuse Melissa Harris-Perry of advocating for forced child labor in service of the collective good. In reality, Perry's comments were simply a call for society to rethink the way it values children in order to "start making better investments" in things like public education.
As part of its "Lean Forward" campaign, MSNBC is airing an ad with Perry calling on America to think about raising children as a community effort. Conservatives have latched on to the ad to criticize Perry and her call for renewed investment in education.
Limbaugh, for example, said on his April 8 radio show that the Perry was pursuing a communistic worldview that would lead to forced child labor:
LIMBAUGH: We haven't had a very collective notion of "these are our children." So we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families. We need to recognize that kids belong to whole communities, and not 'til then will we start spending the right amount of money on it. So how does this manifest itself?
You need your yard mowed, what do you do? You go knock on the door down the street and say, "Your kid that you don't own, I do today for the next hour. Your kid's gonna mow my yard, and then after that my trash needs taking out, and after that I need somebody to go to the grocery store for me. My kid's tied up, so I'm claiming your kid." How does this work? What is the practical application? What she is saying, Melissa Harris-Perry, what she is saying here is as old as communist genocide. But, the fact that it is said in America on a cable news channel, and is considered fairly benign is what has changed. What's changed is that people believe this. This isn't that big a deal anymore. That's what's changed, folks.
But that's a complete distortion of Perry's message. In the ad, Perry called on communities to think about children as the responsibility of all. She was not arguing that families should be replaced or that children should be a commodity to be shared throughout the community. The ad actually concludes with Perry saying:
PERRY: Once it's everybody's responsibility and not just the household's, then we start making better investments.
Chief Justice John Roberts won the endorsement of Rush Limbaugh by comparing marriage equality to forced friendship, an analogy the radio host called "dead on right."
During oral arguments Tuesday over a constitutional amendment in California that bans same-sex marriages, Roberts asked Ted Olson, a lawyer arguing in support of marriage equality, why civil unions were an insufficient middle ground. As Olson explained the importance of the marriage label, Roberts interjected:
Sure. If you tell - if you tell a child that somebody has to be their friend, I suppose you can force the child to say, this is my friend, but it changes the definition of what it means to be a friend.
And that's it seems to me what the - what supporters of Proposition 8 are saying here. You're - all you're interested in is the label and you insist on changing the definition of the label.
Olson pointed out in response that it is the Supreme Court that "has said over and over again that marriage means something to the individual."
But Roberts' analogy spoke to Limbaugh.
Discussing the arguments, Limbaugh focused on that particular exchange and said: "At the root level that's what this is all about; it's about changing definitions to include people who don't automatically qualify. That's all this is about when you boil it all down, and every argument made to advance it is marketing and packaging." He added:
It isn't a civil rights issue, it isn't a love issue, it isn't any of that. If everybody is your friend, then there's no such thing as a friend. And if anybody can marry anybody, there really isn't anything called marriage anymore. Marriage is a word, it's in the dictionary, look it up, it has a meaning.
Fox News president Roger Ailes coordinated a smear campaign targeting Media Matters for America and its founder, David Brock, in response to Media Matters' book critical of Fox News, according to a biography of Ailes scheduled to be released March 19.
Media Matters obtained an exclusive copy of Zev Chafets' upcoming Roger Ailes: Off Camera, in which Chafets wrote:
In February 2012, Media Matters put out a book of Ailes's horribles, The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine. The book itself didn't concern Ailes much, although he saw to it that friendly websites and some Fox commentators reminded America that the coauthor, David Brock, the head of Media Matters, does not exactly have a sterling reputation for honesty, and that the organization, which was founded with the "help and support" of the obviously partisan Hillary Clinton, is a political group that enjoys a charitable tax status.
During the weeks surrounding publication of The Fox Effect, Fox News aired dozens of segments attacking Media Matters and Brock, attacks that it is now clear were directed from Ailes in retaliation for a critical analysis of the network. Many of those attacks were in coordination with The Daily Caller.
While the campaign to smear Media Matters was underway, Zaid Jilani at Salon wrote:
Ultimately, Media Matters is being targeted for what it has accomplished. In just the eight short years of its existence, the organization has created a powerful watchdog hub for countering right-wing misinformation and pushing the progressive message to the press and policymakers. The group is ultimately being attacked for doing the very things that it publicly set out to do, and that is likely making the right wing much angrier than David Brock's eccentricities.
George Will is under fire for distorting the history of Watergate from an expert source -- Richard Ben-Veniste, chief of the Watergate task force.
Will, in a March 6 column, deceptively portrayed Robert Bork as a hero who protected the Watergate prosecution, but his defense of Bork rests on omitting critical details -- including the fact that Bork actually moved to abolish the task force that was looking into the scandal.
In his ode to Bork, Will pointed to Bork's role in firing Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor, arguing:
On an October Saturday, when Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor, Richardson and his deputy resigned, urging Bork to execute Nixon's lawful order, which he did. By the two resignations, Bork became acting attorney general, in which capacity he protected the ongoing investigation of Nixon.
In reality, as Ben-Veniste noted in refuting Will's campaign to make Bork a Watergate hero, Bork quickly began undermining the investigation:
Indeed, far from championing an independent investigation that would allow recourse to the judicial process, Bork signed an order on Oct. 23, 1973 -- three days after firing Cox -- abolishing the Office of the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. Bork's support for Nixon's position, if successful, would have kept secret the most devastating evidence against Nixon and his closest associates. It was only after the firestorm of public revulsion following the Saturday Night Massacre that Nixon backed down -- producing seven subpoenaed tapes (less 18½ minutes of deliberately erased conversation on one of them) -- and acceded to the demand to appoint a new special prosecutor to replace Archibald Cox.
Fox News has gone silent after questions emerged casting serious doubt on a Daily Caller report that Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid women for sex in the Dominican Republic, a report that Fox News hyped during at least 22 segments.
The Washington Post reported on March 4 that a woman who appeared in a video claiming Menendez paid her for sex now says that she was paid to make those claims, claims she now denies, as part of an effort to frame Menendez. Menendez has denied the allegations, first reported in November 2012 by the Daily Caller.
Fox News has yet to discuss the latest developments that undermine what the Daily Caller has reported for months. By contrast, Fox aggressively hyped the uncorroborated allegations when they were being pushed by the Daily Caller, discussing them during at least 22 segments since November 2012, according to a search of the Nexis database.
CNN, which also reported on the initial, uncorroborated allegations against Menendez, has reported on the latest developments.
According to the Post, two affidavits have been filed that refute the Daily Caller's story - one by a woman who claims she was paid to give false accounts about Menendez on the Daily Caller video, and one from a lawyer who claims he was misled into getting the woman to provide a false story.
As New York Magazine's Margaret Harmann noted, this is at least the second report from a legitimate news source that discredited what the Daily Caller first alleged.
The Daily Caller has since claimed that the Post spoke to the wrong woman.
Politico reported that the Post is standing behind its reporting.
Tucker Carlson, the Daily Caller co-founder and editor-in-chief, is scheduled to appear on Fox News' Special Report Tuesday night.
Update: During the March 5 edition of America Live, host Megyn Kelly reported on what she called a "new twist" in the story.
Joe Scarborough dishonestly cited Princeton economist Alan Blinder to bolster his campaign to undermine Nobel laureate Paul Krugman and accuse Democrats of being anti-math.
Scarborough has been engaged in a rhetorical assault on Krugman ever since the New York Times columnist appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and called on lawmakers to focus on economic growth and job creation in the short-term, pivoting to long-term deficits only after the economy is stronger. Scarborough has spent weeks mocking Krugman, comparing him to National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre and calling Krugman a deficit denier.
In a February 15 Politico column, Scarborough turned his attention to "bloggers," who he said were "mixing up the most basic concepts of economics" in order to back Krugman. Scarborough took particular offense at what he called "a fabulously misleading Business Insider post that claimed to list 11 economists who shared Krugman's debt-denying views." Scarbough continued:
Never mind the fact that most of the links provided actually undercut Krugman's reckless position and supported my view that the most pressing fiscal crisis is not next year's deficit but next decade's debt.
Blinder, a former Fed vice chairman and Princeton economics professor, warned of "truly horrific problems" caused by long-term debt, health care costs and interest on the debt. Paul Krugman's Princeton colleague even shared my conclusion that the coming Medicare crisis will be so great that Democrats won't be able to tax their way out of it.
Far from supporting Mr. Krugman's extreme position, the link to Professor Blinder's New Yorker article undercuts his Princeton colleague's exaggerated "In-the-end-we'll-all-be-dead" approach to U.S. long-term debt.
It is intellectually dishonest for Scarborough to cite Blinder as a fellow traveler.
Here's what Blinder wrote in the Atlantic piece that Business Insider cited (Scarborough incorrectly sourced the column to The New Yorker):
In plain English, the costs of everything on which the federal government spends money except health care and interest -- and that includes Social Security, defense, you name it -- are projected to fall over time as a share of GDP. The message is clear: America doesn't have a generalized spending problem that requires severe cuts across the board. We have, instead, a massive problem of exploding health care costs.
This is the analysis Scarborough claims totally backs him on long-term debt.
But here's what Scarborough had to say earlier this week taking on what he calls the "debt deniers" with their supposed inability to grasp the seriousness of the country's spending problem:
I think we found like 3 or 4 people in America who think we don't have a spending problem, and they're just writing in circles. But as I said yesterday, Josh, it's funny watching this, because, Josh, I said, you got Republicans who don't believe in science, you got some liberals that don't believe in math. Both ways, not good.
But most Americans understand, when you run trillion-dollar deficits for four years, you probably have a spending problem.
Scarborough's problem is that one of the people in America who says we don't have a spending problem is Alan Blinder.
Fox & Friends used a 60 Minutes interview to reanimate the Fox smear campaign to relentlessly mock Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and accuse her of fabricating a concussion to get out of testifying before the U.S. Senate about the tragic September terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade pointed to Clinton's joint interview on 60 Minutes with President Barack Obama and criticized CBS' Steve Kroft for not digging deeper into Clinton's December health issues. During the interview, Kroft asked Clinton about her health and recovery.
Clinton reportedly suffered a concussion after fainting in December, a result of dehydration. Fox News came under fire after the organization led a campaign to cast doubt on whether Clinton was faking her concussion.
These words defined Rush Limbaugh in 2012 after he smeared Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress about women's health care. Limbaugh's misogynistic attack, which spanned three days of his radio show, did incalculable, long-term damage not only to Limbaugh's brand, but also to the right-wing talk-radio format he helped to build and the conservative movement he has shaped for decades.
Limbaugh's attacks on Fluke led to a paradigm shift in talk radio, as advertisers reassessed their support for inflammatory hosts. Limbaugh's toxic rhetoric helped shine a glaring spotlight on the broader conservative movement's policies toward women, focusing public attention on the radical right-wing effort to dismantle reproductive rights and the social safety net.
Limbaugh's unique brand of misinformation was not limited to sexist rhetoric. Throughout 2012, Limbaugh was an architect of the right-wing bubble that pushed conspiracy theories and denied reality, notably helping to create a false narrative that Mitt Romney was on the verge of winning a landslide election. As that right-wing bubble collapsed, so, too, did Limbaugh's four-year campaign of hoping - and trying to ensure - that President Obama would fail.
It is for these reasons that Media Matters recognizes Rush Limbaugh as the 2012 Misinformer of the Year. Past recipients include: Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (2011); Sarah Palin (2010); Glenn Beck (2009); and Sean Hannity (2008).
On February 23, 2012, Sandra Fluke testified before a congressional panel about women's health care and the benefits of insurance coverage for contraceptive care. During her testimony, she spoke about a woman who needed birth control pills to treat a medical condition, but who was denied coverage by her insurance company and couldn't afford the medication.
On February 29, Limbaugh began a series of attacks on Fluke, pointing to her testimony and calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute." In a complete distortion of Fluke's actual testimony that was shocking in its ignorance, Limbaugh claimed that she was essentially asking to be "paid to have sex":
LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.
She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
Limbaugh continued his screed against Fluke the next day, saying: "If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch." Over the course of the March 1 and March 2 editions of his radio show, Limbaugh spent nearly six hours directing a hate-filled tirade at Fluke, saying that she was "having so much sex it's amazing she can walk," saying that she had boyfriends "lined up around the block," and saying that Fluke admitted she was "having so much sex that she can't pay for it."
Limbaugh's sexist tirade quickly found support throughout the right-wing echo chamber. CNN contributor Erick Erickson wrote on his blog, RedState, that Fluke "really believes that American tax payers should ... pay for her birth control pills so she can have sex." Conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch wrote on Breitbart.com that Fluke was "testifying that she simply cannot stop getting it on and her inability to control her urges constitutes infringing upon everyone else for a bailout." Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes posted more than a dozen comments on Twitter supporting Limbaugh's attacks. Blog posts at National Review Online, Hot Air, and NewsBusters also defended Limbaugh's points.
But outside the right-wing media bubble, Limbaugh was savaged from a variety of sources. Republican and Democratic congressional leaders as well as commentators from the left, right, and center all offered criticism for what Sen. John McCain called comments that were "unacceptable in every way."
Limbaugh was quickly forced to offer an apology, if an inadequate one. But the damage was already done.
Under heavy criticism, Limbaugh posted a statement to his website on Saturday, March 3, addressing the controversy: "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." Limbaugh opened his next radio show by explaining his decision to apologize:
I don't expect -- and I know you don't, either -- morality or intellectual honesty from the left. They've demonstrated over and over a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda. It's what they do. It's what we fight against here every day. But this is the mistake I made. In fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them.
Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was my error. I became like them, and I feel very badly about that. I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point that I was trying to make, and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.
But Limbaugh's attack was not limited to "two words." He launched 46 personal attacks on Fluke over the course of three days. Many media and political figures agreed that Limbaugh's apology could never make up for the outrageous nature of his attacks.
But the real damage was only beginning. On March 2, Carbonite CEO David Friend issued a statement saying that he was "offended and very concerned" about Limbaugh's comments. Friend's statement was notable because it came from a key sponsor of Limbaugh's show. And his reaction to Limbaugh's apology the next day helped set in motion a chain of events that continues to reverberate throughout the radio industry:
No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have decided to withdraw our advertising from his show.
Carbonite was not alone. Advertisers began fleeing Limbaugh's show on March 2. By early April, more than 60 companies had publicly announced that they would no longer advertise on Limbaugh's program. Entertainment news website Deadline reported on March 30 that "sponsors considered him so radioactive that Premiere ordered about 600 stations that carry his show to suspend national barter spots for two weeks." Soon after the advertiser exodus began, veteran radio and advertising journalists suggested that Limbaugh had created a long-term problem for his show.
The damage created by Limbaugh's comments spread throughout the industry. Major companies asked Limbaugh's syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, to avoid placing their ads on radio shows with content "deemed to be offensive or controversial." A March 9 memo to traffic managers specifically identified Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Michael Savage as hosts with programs now considered too toxic for major advertisers. At the same time he was losing advertisers, Limbaugh also began losing radio affiliates.
While Limbaugh began publicly denying that his show was suffering from the loss of advertisers, privately he was going into crisis management mode. The New York Times reported in March that he hired a reputation and crisis manager. And while Limbaugh was bragging about his ratings on the air, Politico reported in May that his show "took a significant radio hit in some key radio markets" in the wake of his Sandra Fluke attacks.
Limbaugh's partners were soon losing millions of dollars as a result of the loss of advertisers. The New York Times reported that less than two weeks after his attack on Fluke, Premiere Radio Networks had lost nearly $2 million in advertising revenue. In May, Limbaugh affiliate Cumulus Media reported losing several million dollars in revenue over two quarters. In August, Cumulus suggested it had lost more than $5 million on its top three radio stations alone due to factors related to the Limbaugh advertiser boycott.
As Daily Beast columnist John Avlon noted: "Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it."
At the same time Limbaugh came under fire for his slut-shaming campaign against Sandra Fluke, it became impossible to separate his misogynistic comments from a larger critique of the conservative movement.
In targeting Fluke, Limbaugh was specifically reacting to testimony about the benefits of using health insurance to expand access to contraceptive care. That testimony came as conservatives were fighting against efforts to require insurers to provide this basic health care coverage to women. Limbaugh, long identified as a leader of the conservative movement, explained the opposition by likening health insurance coverage of contraception to a woman knocking on his door in the middle of the night and demanding money so she could "have sex with three guys tonight." Sean Hannity echoed Limbaugh's explanation of the movement's opposition, saying that requiring insurance companies to provide coverage for contraceptive care amounted to "the taxpayer bearing the cost of the sex life of students at Georgetown University law school."
Throughout the year, as questions were raised about the negative effects fringe conservative positions would have on women, Limbaugh was at the forefront. In February, when conservative lawmakers in Virginia came under fire for pushing legislation that would have required women to undergo an invasive ultrasound prior to seeking an abortion, Limbaugh downplayed the concerns. When Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin came under fire for saying it was "really rare" for women subjected to "legitimate rape" to become pregnant, Limbaugh first called on Akin to put the country first in weighing whether to remain in the race. But as it became clear that Akin was going to remain in the race, Limbaugh was quick to move on, touting polling numbers suggesting the Republican Party had forgiven Akin for the comments.
After women voters helped to reelect President Obama, Limbaugh lashed out in typical fashion, saying that one way to get women to vote for conservative candidates was to have them marry men:
If they stay single, then they are going to turn to government to provide what they want.
The more Limbaugh talked in 2012, the more difficult it became for him to mount a convincing case that the "war on women" was contrived.
"Everything - except the polls - points to a Romney landslide."
So said Rush Limbaugh on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, an election that has come to be defined by the right-wing media's absolute denial of reality and embrace of paranoid conspiracy theories in order to convince themselves that Obama would fail to secure a second term.
When conservatives accused the Labor Department of cooking the books to make the unemployment rate seem lower than it was in order to help reelect Obama, Limbaugh was there. When conservatives warned that pollsters were colluding to unfairly bias their samples in favor of Obama, Limbaugh was there. Limbaugh pushed poll trutherism so far to the fringe that he began stoking fears of violence in the aftermath of a Romney election victory.
On Election Day, Limbaugh did offer a helpful hint to listeners should his predicted Romney landslide fail to pan out:
You know, I could be proven tonight to be so wrong and so all wet that nobody should be listening to me.
Rush Limbaugh did not react well to being proved so wrong and so all wet. The day after the election, he told his audience that "we're outnumbered" and "we've lost the country." He also suggested that "one of the most outrageous thefts of an election in the history of elections has taken place." On November 15, Limbaugh declared that "freedom did not win in this election."
Limbaugh also blamed Romney's defeat on voters being swayed by the promise of free stuff from government:
Small things beat big things yesterday. Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It's just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.
Limbaugh's reaction to Obama's reelection came after a failed, four-year campaign to bring down the Obama administration. Days before the 2009 inauguration, Limbaugh famously said of the incoming president: "I hope he fails." He elaborated:
Look, what he's talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, to the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don't want this to work.
But government did work. Obama's 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been credited by experts with increasing economic growth, creating jobs, and lowering unemployment. The auto rescue was only made possible with the use of taxpayer money to successfully shepherd the three big auto companies through bankruptcy -- saving well over a million jobs. The Affordable Care Act survived Supreme Court scrutiny. And voters opted for four more years.
Rush Limbaugh may still rank at the top of the talk radio industry, but he has also undeniably weakened the very industry he has dominated for so long. The advertiser backlash did not just damage Limbaugh and his business partners short-term; the entire talk radio industry is still suffering massive financial losses due to his utterance of "those two words." Radio Ink reported in November that syndicator Dial Global lost just shy of $100 million during the first 9 months of 2012, which the company blamed in part on "advertisers' response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012." Zimbio reported on November 18 that Cumulus Media, which has carried Limbaugh on many of its radio stations, saw its stock price steadily and steeply decline "ever since" Limbaugh attacked Fluke.
In October, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz delivered a speech at Talkers' New Media Seminar on the impact Limbaugh's attack on Fluke had on the talk radio industry, specifically, "the dwindling advertiser support for conservative talk radio, on a national basis." Discussing the campaign to bring Limbaugh's smears to the attention of advertisers on his show, Pattiz said that "some advertisers were just so stricken by this, that they decided to just blow off talk radio entirely." He went on to say that "a tremendous chunk of advertising revenue was wiped out in terms of support for national talk radio programs." Pattiz highlighted the effect Limbaugh's actions had on the entire industry: "It's not just affecting Rush Limbaugh, it's not just affecting conservative talk radio, it's affecting all talk radio."
Yet despite all the wreckage that has followed his grotesque attacks on Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh pushes on. When reports surfaced in November that Fluke would be a contender for Time's Person of the Year honor, Limbaugh opined that the honor should instead be bestowed upon him, arguing that "nobody would know who she is if it weren't for me."
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
CNN anchor Carol Costello questioned Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker's efforts to raise awareness of hunger in America, asking whether his decision to take the food-stamp challenge amounted to a publicity stunt. But Costello's own reporting on food insecurity sheds light on the need for greater public awareness, even as funding for supplemental food programs faces cuts during the final weeks of 2012.
In November, Booker announced that he would take the food-stamp challenge and live for one week on a food budget equal to that of a New Jersey resident on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. That came after a Twitter user challenged the mayor over the need for federal nutrition assistance. Booker's challenge began Monday and will last a week.
On Tuesday, CNN correspondent Alina Cho reported that Booker was taking the challenge to demonstrate the need for "deeper consideration" of Americans who rely on SNAP benefits and to "reduce the stigma" that often comes with reliance on the program. Costello questioned the long-term impact of Booker's campaign and asked whether it was "helpful or a pointless exercise."
Booker's challenge comes at a critical time for SNAP funding, as House Republicans push to reduce spending on the effective antipoverty program during year-end negotiations over broader spending cuts and the federal farm bill, which includes SNAP spending. Costello herself noted the push to cut SNAP funding during a discussion of the farm bill in September.
And, as Costello herself has demonstrated, public understanding of food insecurity and federal nutrition programs is often ill informed:
In questioning the effectiveness of Booker's efforts to raise awareness of this issue, Costello opined:
I'm not saying Booker is insincere. I'm just wondering what living for just a week in someone else's shoes really proves. It's not like the food stamp challenge hasn't been done before. The mayors of Philadelphia and Phoenix, even super chef Mario Batali have done it. What will it tell us that we don't already know? The talk back question for you today: is Cory Booker's food stamp challenge helpful or a pointless exercise?
Her own reporting on what Americans don't already know about food insecurity provides an answer.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, Fox News pundit Andrea Tantaros mockingly dismissed the plight of hungry Americans, claiming that she would "look fabulous" if she were forced to live on a food stamp diet.
Tantaros' vapid commentary came in response to Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker's pledge to accept the food-stamp challenge and try to subsist on $133 for food per month for an extended period of time, just as food stamp recipients in New Jersey do.
After Fox Business panelists speculated whether Booker's pledge is an effort at "positioning himself for a run for the presidency as a man of the people," Tantaros quipped: "I should try it because, do you know how fabulous I'd look. I'd be so skinny. I mean, the camera adds ten pounds."
Tantaros' comments are appalling and uninformed. While most of us feast on turkey and yams, stuffing and cranberries, on Thursday, millions of Americans will go hungry, just as they do every day. The food stamp challenge exists to demonstrate the struggles that food insecure families face trying to live on their monthly allotment of food.
Despite the difficulty in subsisting on food stamps, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which was formerly known as food stamps, helped keep millions of families out of poverty in 2011.