Amid reports of rising poverty, two Fox News contributors claimed that anti-poverty programs have done nothing to alleviate poverty. In fact, federal government programs such as food stamps, Social Security, and other measures created or boosted by the stimulus billhave kept millions out of poverty and lowered the poverty rate.
From the July 21 edition of Fox News' Cavuto on Business:
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Neil Cavuto continued Fox News' long tradition of denying that food stamps and unemployment benefits stimulate the economy, asking, "What is more stimulative? Kate Upton or this: lovely granny promoting food stamps from her fridge."
Cavuto was ridiculing House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's statement that food stamps and unemployment benefits stimulate the economy. But economists agree.
On Tuesday, Hoyer responded to a question about extending the Bush-era tax cuts for incomes above $250,000 by stating: "If you talk to economists, they will tell you there are two things that are the most stimulative that you can do -- one's unemployment insurance, the other's food stamps, okay?"
After first comparing the stimulative value of food stamps to images of Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Upton in a bikini on Your World, Cavuto disparaged the effect that food stamps and unemployment benefits have on the economy, leaving out the fact that Hoyer was contrasting the stimulative value of these benefits to the effect of extending the Bush tax cuts.
But economists agree that food stamps and unemployment benefits are more stimulative in a struggling economy than extending the Bush tax cuts.
From the July 18 edition of Fox News' The Five:
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From the July 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Fox's Steve Doocy today complained that congressional Republicans are "demonized" over attempts to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly known as food stamps - "a little bit." But the GOP has attempted to cut SNAP several times and put essential benefits for millions of low-income families at risk as a result.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy claimed "there are times when people do need help, but some have suggested 'I'm sure there's some scamming going on out there.' " Doocy went on to point out that "the number of people who are on food stamps has dramatically increased" and complained "remember, we told a story, I think, about two weeks ago about how a Republican senator was trying to just scale it back just a little bit. And he was demonized. You can't touch the food stamp money they said."
Doocy is significantly downplaying efforts to cut the program. Congressional Republicans have tried over and over to slash the program, including plans to slash billions from the program which experts have noted would take benefits away from millions of low-income families.
A USA Today editorial is downplaying poverty and food insecurity in America, and using Fox News talking points to justify a push to cut vital and effective anti-poverty programs.
In June the Senate voted to reduce spending on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, by $4.5 billion. Conservatives in the House are pushing for deeper cuts to the program, despite the fact that food stamps reduced the poverty rate by 8 percent during the depths of the recession.
In championing those cuts, USA Today offered a shockingly uninformed dismissal of the problem of food insecurity -- a term researchers say is more accurate than hunger. Pointing to increased use of food stamps in recent years, the editors opined:
These numbers are not driven by a rise in hunger. Indeed they have come about at a time when Americans -- particularly those on the lower-income rungs -- are struggling with obesity.
This analysis is nonsense. As Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger told The New York Times: "Hunger and obesity are often flip sides to the same malnutrition coin." The Food Research and Action Center explains: "food insecure and low-income people are especially vulnerable to obesity due to the additional risk factors associated with poverty." Minnesota Public Radio further detailed the interaction between food insecurity and obesity in a January 27, 2012, report:
Recent research from the University of Minnesota finds parents who struggle to get enough food eat fewer fruits and vegetables and drink more sugar-sweetened beverages than other parents. That is largely due to poor access, said Mary Story, a dietician in the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health.
"What we know is that fruits and vegetables cost more, whole grains cost more," Story said. "And many low-income people live in neighborhoods or communities that lack access to a supermarket."
USA Today's apparent ignorance of the connection between obesity and food insecurity casts doubt on its call to "nudge the numbers back toward where they were in the mid-'90s."
But their embrace of Fox News' bullying tactics underscores the pernicious aspect of the campaign to demonize and cut food stamps.
After detailing efforts over the past decade to expand SNAP eligibility, the editorial argued:
Adding to the growth, the Agriculture Department has begun advertising the program more aggressively, and it has removed many of its inconveniences (and its stigmas at the cash register) by replacing coupons with cards that look and function much like debit cards.
This type of poverty-shaming has been a constant drum beat on the right. In June, New York Post columnist and Fox News regular Michael Goodwin discussed increased SNAP enrollment and lamented: "The sense of shame is gone." Goodwin's commentary echoed other Fox figures who have castigated SNAP beneficiaries for lacking an appropriate level of shame.
Perhaps tomorrow USA Today will explain how easy it is to feed a family on a diet of rice and beans.
Right-wing media are attacking a program designed to increase awareness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) among the elderly, saying they hope the effort "come[s] to a quick end." But SNAP outreach programs have been crafted and employed by previous administrations, hunger is increasing among all groups, including the elderly, and the elderly are under enrolled in SNAP.
Right-wing media have once again attacked the federal food stamp program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), this time by misleadingly citing a projection that the program will cost $770 billion over the next decade. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that both food stamp enrollment and costs will decline during that period as the economy improves.
Fox is helping the GOP eviscerate vital antipoverty programs by characterizing the poor "as actually living the good life." In fact, as incomes have stagnated and income disparity between the rich and working class have grown, such drastic cuts would mean "ending assistance for millions of low-income families."
Right-wing media are hyping discredited conservative activist Lila Rose's latest Planned Parenthood smear video which purports to implicate the organization in a rampant problem with sex-selective abortion in the United States. But the facts debunk Rose's latest attack on Planned Parenthood, and Rose and her group have repeatedly whittled away any credibility with previous smear campaigns against Planned Parenthood.
Fox's John Stossel claimed that it's a "myth" that "the poor are getting poorer" and that they are actually getting "richer." In fact, incomes for the bottom fifth have shown almost no growth in recent decades, and the numbers Stossel used to support his argument were cherry-picked.
From the May 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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In strikingly one-sided reports, Fox News assailed an anticipated regulation protecting streams from mountaintop coal mining waste. Among other misleading claims, Fox accused the Obama administration of punishing a contractor who said the rule would kill jobs, when in fact, extensive evidence indicates the contract was halted simply because the firm did shoddy work.
Following the Obama campaign's ad highlighting Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, right-wing media are hysterically calling the ad an attack on private equity and even "an attack on capitalism" itself. But the ad clearly and specifically targets Romney's own work at Bain Capital -- which Romney and his campaign have repeatedly touted as crucial experience for dealing with the economy -- not private equity or capitalism as a whole.