From the October 9 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Fox News repeated the conservative myth that there is an emerging "culture of dependency" and a "culture of entitlement" because of the supposed notion that people would rather collect food stamp benefits than work. In fact, most beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are working-class Americans who already have jobs, and most leave the program after one year.
Sean Hannity dredged up the long-debunked "Obama phone" smear on his radio show by suggesting that a caller was voting for President Obama so he could get a free cell phone. But the program that "Obama phones" refers to was not started under the Obama administration and is not funded by the government or by taxpayer money.
Last week, a video surfaced of a woman who claimed that she received a free "Obama phone." The video was picked up by the Drudge Report and Rush Limbaugh, and it quickly spread throughout the right-wing media. In fact, the current federal program of offering subsidized phone service has nothing to do with Obama - it was created in 1996 and was expanded to cover cell phones in 2008, under the Bush administration. Further, the goal of universal service has been a basic tenet of federal telecommunications policy since 1934, and the program is entirely funded by the telecom industry, not through taxpayer money.
Hannity pushed the false narrative on the October 1 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show while taking a call from someone he identified as "one more Dem in D.C." When the caller said that was voting for Obama and was about to explain the reason he was doing so, Hannity responded: "Let me guess -- you're gonna get an Obama phone."
Hannity's embrace of the "Obama phone" story fits in with the conservative narrative of attacking Obama supporters as lazy and dependent on the state, most recently illustrated by the right-wing media's embrace of Mitt Romney's criticism that "47 percent" of the electorate are Obama supporters who do not pay income tax and refuse to take "personal responsibility" for their lives.
Hannity pushed this theme last month when he asked, "Do you think people are better off on food stamps, or are they better off with a job?" -- even though most recipients of food stamp benefits are working-class Americans with jobs, or are senior citizens or children. Hannity also claimed that Romney's "47 percent" remarks will ultimately "be seen as a godsend" for the candidate.
From the September 25 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the September 24 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' Rush Limbaugh Show:
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On Fox, Sean Hannity asked if people are "better off on food stamps" or "better off with a job." But most recipients of food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, are working-class Americans with jobs, or are senior citizens or children.
After Mother Jones released video of Mitt Romney's controversial comments about 47 percent of the voting public, Fox News defended him, suggesting that Romney made an accurate statement about voting preferences while downplaying the other parts of his remarks. In the video, Romney also attacked supporters of President Obama as "dependent on government" and unwilling to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Since the video's release, Fox News has ignored most of what Romney said to donors in Florida, focusing only on his comments involving the "47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what." On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed "if you see the context of what he says," Romney was "saying 'I don't know if I can convince those people to ever vote for me' but it'll be posed as 'I don't care about those people.'" Later in the program, co-host Gretchen Carlson complained that the "headline throughout the day" would not be "the actual mathematical points that he makes."
But Romney's remarks were about more than who might vote for him. In the video, he disparages Obama supporters, describing them as people "who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them." Romney concluded by saying "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
The right-wing media's assault on struggling Americans found its way in to GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's recently revealed remarks disparaging 47 percent of Americans "who pay no income tax" to a group of wealthy donors, once again demonstrating the conservative media's central role in the GOP.
Fox News' Karl Rove distorted President Obama's record on welfare reform, falsely claiming the administration "will not approve any policies which reduce the level of welfare assistance." In fact, the letter Rove cited as evidence said the administration would not grant waivers to states if their program would block access to the benefit programs. It did not declare that states could not reduce the level of assistance.
In recent weeks, Rove's American Crossroads has been cheering and enabling Mitt Romney's dishonest campaign to accuse the Obama administration of stripping work requirements out of welfare reform. In fact, the waiver program simply grants states flexibility in figuring out how to comply with federal guidelines on transitioning aid recipients to work.
Rove appeared on the August 27 edition of Fox's America Live to discuss the Republican National Convention. After Fox's Juan Williams pointed out that the Romney campaign has made false claims about Obama, including the false claim that "welfare is going to be expanded under President Obama," Rove pushed back. According to Rove, a letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the administration would not approve "any policies which reduce the level of welfare assistance."
Rove's interpretation of HHS letter is a flat out distortion.
From the August 18 edition of Fox News' Forbes on Fox:
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Right-wing media figures are heaping praise on Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan, with one Fox host calling Ryan "Mr. Budget." In fact, Ryan's budget plan would harm many Americans: It increases taxes on the poor while cutting them for the wealthy, drastically cuts Medicaid and other needed safety net programs, and would cost millions of jobs by reducing federal spending during a still-weak economy.
Fox host Megyn Kelly let Lou Dobbs promote the bogus narrative being pushed by Fox News and Mitt Romney's campaign that President Obama's administration is stripping work requirements from welfare reform, even though she noted shortly after the segment that the claim has been debunked by fact-checking organizations.
After the Obama administration announced that it would comply with governors' requests for more flexibility in administering work requirements for people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) benefits, the right-wing media immediately went on the attack, claiming Obama was gutting the work requirements that were passed as part of President Clinton's 1996 welfare reform.
On America Live, when Kelly asked Fox Business host Lou Dobbs for "the truth" about the issue, Dobbs agreed that Obama was gutting welfare reform "by fiat" and claimed he "wants to enlarge the level of dependency in this country of the federal government even farther and wants to do so with those who are so dependent, unencumbered with any sense of responsibility." Dobbs' claim is one that has been pushed by Fox News incessantly over the past few weeks and was even adopted by the Romney campaign despite the fact that Romney himself requested similar waivers as governor of Massachusetts.
But later in the show, after letting Dobbs push the dishonest right-wing narrative on the welfare waivers, Kelly noted that "for what it's worth" the fact-checking website PolitiFact "rated that claim with a 'pants on fire' rating a few days ago."
Fox News continues to attack the Obama administration over welfare reform by claiming that the waiver provision it recently proposed is "illegal" and beyond the scope of President Obama's executive power. In fact, as the Department of Health and Human Services makes clear, there is nothing illegal in the decision; moreover, past presidents have used such authority.
Fox News is again highlighting a misleading chart to distort the debate over welfare reform and to amplify Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's inaccurate message that President Obama is "dismantling" welfare reform. In fact, Obama simply gave states the flexibility they asked for in overseeing the welfare program.
Hemmer stated: "If you take a look at the chart, the number has been rising steadily since 2009."
But the chart's scale is deceptively skewed. The chart's y-axis is 94,000,000, not 0 -- as graphs are conventionally delineated. Here's what a more realistic chart would look like when drawn to scale:
Since Fox's chart provides no actual numbers, the increase can only be roughly approximated, but an increase of 96 million to 108 million is an increase of less than 12 percent.