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Your World with Neil Cavuto

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  • Sebastian Gorka responds to criticism by calling his own quotes "fake news 101"

    Gorka: “I was admonishing the journalists of the fake news industrial complex

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, immediately ran to Fox News to downplay comments he made criticizing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Gorka blamed the media for misinterpreting his comments.

    In an interview with BBC radio, Gorka called it “nonsensical” for Tillerson to discuss military action against North Korea, saying that it was the job of Secretary of Defense James Mattis to discuss military options. Later that day, Gorka appeared on Fox News and addressed the controversy, denying he uttered those words.

    Buzzfeed transcribed Gorka’s original comments to BBC Radio:

    During the radio interview, Gorka also pushed back on more levelheaded comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Americans should "sleep well at night" and "have no concerns" over the the threat of attacks from North Korea. Tillerson isn't in charge of defense strategy, he said.

    "The idea that Secretary Tillerson is going to discuss military matters is simply nonsensical," Gorka told the BBC.

    "It is the job of Secretary Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, to talk about the military options. And he has done so unequivocally," said Gorka.

    When confronted with these comments hours later on Fox News, Gorka denied having ever described Tillerson’s comments as “nonsensical,” claiming he “never said that” and attacked the media for reporting his direct quote, calling it “fake news 101.” He pivoted again in the interview and claimed that he "was admonishing journalists" for "forcing our chief diplomat into a position" to make a "statement regarding military options." From the August 10 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto (emphasis added):

    ELIZABETH CLAMAN (GUEST HOST): I would be remiss if we didn’t bring up what just happened at the secretary of state’s spokesperson’s meeting before the press. This morning, and let me just back up here for our viewers who might not know, I believe this morning you gave an interview to BBC Radio during which you said that “it was nonsensical for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss military matters” and that he was “out of line.” Let’s hear what –

    SEBASTIAN GORKA: Never said that.

    CLAMAN: You’ve never said –

    GORKA: I never said that secretary of state was -- that’s fake news 101.

    CLAMAN: Well there’s audio of you saying the word “nonsensical.”

    GORKA: I have the audio. I have the audio as well, thank you.

    CLAMAN: So you’re denying that you said it’s inappropriate, perhaps, for Rex Tillerson to have told the American people to calm down?

    GORKA: Absolutely, absolutely. No, I never said that, I said for reporters to force our chief diplomat, the amazing Rex Tillerson to give details of military options is nonsensical. He is the secretary of state, that means you don’t understand what the words secretaries of state means. It is fake news, classic example.

    CLAMAN: Well, diplomacy does sometimes work hand in hand with military actions.

    GORKA: Absolutely, absolutely but there’s a secretary of defense and there’s a secretary of state.

    CLAMAN: It’s now big enough that Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for Rex Tillerson was asked about it, she even said as she was walking to the press event there that she was told about it.

    [...]

    GORKA: I was admonishing the journalists of the fake news industrial complex who are forcing our chief diplomat into a position where they are demanding he makes the military case for action when that is not the mandate of the secretary of state. That's why we have a Department of Defense. If a journalist doesn't know the difference between the secretary of state and the Department of Defense they should hand in their credentials, it's just absurd lack of understanding. He is our most senior diplomat and he has done an amazing job to get 15 nations of the U.N. Security Council to tell North Korea enough is enough. But when reporters try to force him to make statements regarding military options, they have no idea what they're talking about and if they think that's a story, they're not journalists.

  • Fox News can’t believe 44 million Americans qualify for food assistance

    The number of food stamp recipients is roughly equal to the number of people living in poverty, far below number who qualify for assistance

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    Fox News contributors and hosts defended President Donald Trump’s draconian budget request for fiscal year 2018 by coalescing around a talking point also voiced by the White House that spending cuts for nutrition assistance programs are justified because of their gut feeling that too many people are using them. In the real world, the number of food stamp recipients is roughly equal to the number of Americans living in poverty, which has remained elevated since the last recession ended.

    During a May 23 press conference discussing Trump’s budget request, NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander asked Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to defend the president’s decision to cut programs like Social Security and Medicaid that he had promised to protect during the campaign. Mulvaney falsely claimed that no person who “really needs” assistance will be removed from the programs, and turned to Trump’s proposed new restrictions to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as “food stamps,” as an example. Mulvaney noted that the number of SNAP recipients “spiked during the recession” to over 42 million and complained that it remains high today “eight years removed from the end of the recession.” Mulvaney ended his remark by wondering “why is the number still that high?”:

    Mulvaney’s unfounded gut feeling that the number of people receiving SNAP benefits is too high was endlessly reiterated by Fox News and Fox Business personalities who have a long track record of attacking the program. On the May 22 edition of America’s News Headquarters, contributor Mercedes Schlapp bemoaned the so-called “entitlement mentality” of Americans who might oppose unnecessary cuts to food assistance. Later that day, on Your World with Neil Cavuto, host Cavuto complained the number of SNAP recipients has “ballooned to over 44 million today” (it’s actually 42 million), baselessly suggesting it was “not sustainable,” while conservative columnist Carrie Sheffield falsely claimed that federal food assistance has “crowded out the private sector.”

    Fox returned to the complaint on May 23, dedicating time on Fox Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast and Risk & Reward to the same talking point that 44 million SNAP recipients seemed like too many and therefore the program must be cut. On Making Money with Charles Payne, host Payne and guest Liz Peek falsely argued that food assistance programs are meant only to be “emergency programs” while lamenting the number of users. During that day’s edition of Your World, Cavuto returned again to his complaint about the number of people enrolled in SNAP, remarking that if 44 million Americans are really in need of food assistance “we’re Mozambique, we’re not America.” Moments later, Cavuto was joined by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who defended adding new restrictions to food assistance programs and agreed with Cavuto’s characterization that there is no way so many people truly qualify for assistance.

    Contrary to this misleading characterization, the number of SNAP recipients is actually lower than the number of people who qualify for the program and is roughly equal to the number of people living in poverty (see graph below). One would expect the number of SNAP beneficiaries to largely mirror the number of Americans living in poverty because the program is available, with some restrictions, for individuals earning up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level.

    For much of the program’s history, the number of people who actually participated in the federal food assistance program was far less than the number who struggled with poverty and the number who potentially qualified for assistance. That began to change during the Bush and Obama administrations, when technological improvements and a bipartisan effort to tackle stigma helped get more deserving families and individuals enrolled in the program. Rates of waste, fraud, and abuse in the system have actually fallen as participation increased and, according to a November 2016 report from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the program, the gap between the number of Americans who qualify for assistance and the number who receive it has been narrowing for years: