Sean Hannity spent an hour on the radio today continuing to deny the many hardships faced by poor Americans -- including hunger -- by pointing in part to the prevalence of modern appliances and the abundance of cheap foods found on a health website to support his point. At one point he gave this advice to poor households, “Quit drinking soda and drink water.”
This was after spending the majority of his time attacking Media Matters and MSNBC for publicizing his original comments on the issue, when he insisted that “this idea that Americans are going to bed hungry” is not true because “you can survive” off such cheap food staples as rice and beans.
Hannity stated that MSNBC and host Ed Schultz were “lazy” for relying on a Media Matters item that highlighted Hannity's comments to debunk his claim that millions of Americans aren't going to bed hungry.
Fellow conservative talk radio host Mark Levin also called in to defend Hannity from criticism by similarly attacking Schultz. Levin stated: “First of all, Mr. Ed, that you call Ed Schultz, that guy looks like he eats for about three and a half people, doesn't he?” Hannity replied: “Now, be nice. It doesn't look like he missed a meal, I'll say that.”
On his MSNBC show, Schultz criticized Hannity for his comments, calling him “the most out of touch man in America.” Indeed, as Schultz noted in his segment, millions of families and children in the United States suffer from food insecurity. A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on food insecurity in America released in September 2011 found that “in 2010, 17.2 million households in America had difficulty providing enough food due to a lack of resources.” The report also stated:
Food insecurity rates were substantially higher than the national average for households with incomes near or below the current federal poverty line ($22,350 for a family of four), households with children headed by single women or single men, and black and Hispanic households.
But Hannity ignored the facts by claiming that cheap food is readily available. He then illustrated his point by reading a list of cheap foods and their cost per serving from WebMD, a website that provides health information:
Hannity also pointed to a list of consumer items and kitchen appliances that can be found in low-income households to argue that poor households aren't really poor, saying that the typical poor household has a car, air conditioning, “two color television sets, cable and satellite, a DVD player, a VCR,” and other things.
In reality, the poor in America face hardships in areas that deeply affect their lives, such as health, education, housing, and access to healthy food and legal services -- regardless of their ability to purchase a microwave oven.