Media Ignore The Government Subsidies Helping Joni Ernst's Family Farm

Media coverage of Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst's Republican response to the State of the Union failed to explain that Ernst's family farm has benefited from large government subsidies, despite highlighting her upbringing on her family farm and calls to cut government spending.

Ernst Delivers GOP Response To State Of The Union

Ernst Begins GOP Response With Stories About Her Childhood. Sen. Ernst's response to the State of the Union focused in part on her childhood in Red Oak, Iowa, where she “plowed the fields” of her family farm, “worked construction” with her dad, and saved for college by working at Hardees. Ernst cited these events as representative of the many families “who feel they're working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.” [Politico1/20/15]

Central Idea Of GOP Response Is To Cut Government Spending. Throughout her remarks, Ernst highlighted the GOP position that a main focus of Congress should be “not [to] pay for more government spending” and to “cut wasteful spending.” [Politico1/20/15]

Ernst's Family Farm Received Over $400,000 In Government Farm Subsidies

Ernst's Family Farm Benefited From Substantial Farm Subsidies. Ernst's family farm in Red Oak, Iowa received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2006. Family members received conservation payments, commodity subsidies, and agricultural aid. [The District Sentinel, 1/12/15]

Media Neglect To Mention Ernst's Family Farm Benefited From Federal Subsidies When Highlighting Her Upbringing And Desire To Cut Federal Spending

CNN's Carol Costello: “Let's Listen To Her Story Of A Hardscrabble Upbringing On An Iowa Farm.” During the January 21 edition of CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello talked abouthow Ernst represented “a new face” and “a new image” for the GOP with a “populist message.” Before playing video of Ernst's response, Costello said, “Let's listen to her story of a hardscrabble upbringing on an Iowa farm.” [CNN, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello1/21/15]

National Journal: Ernst's Response Invoked “Her Own Humble Upbringing.” National Journal's piece on the GOP response argued that Ernst gave the GOP a “fresh face” and highlighted her focus on her “humble upbringing”:

Invoking her own humble upbringing in rural Iowa, Ernst recalled having to wrap her “one good pair of shoes” in plastic bread bags to protect them on rainy days. Though her parents didn't have much, she said, they “worked hard for what they did have.” She lamented that families today have “less and less to show for” their hard work. [National Journal1/20/15]

The Hill: “Joni Ernst Goes Folksy In GOP Response.” The Hill described Ernst's response as folksy, claiming, “the Iowa Republican worked in plenty of smiles and more than a few folksy references to her modest middle-class upbringing.” [The Hill1/20/15]

NBC's Natalie Morales: Ernst Promised GOP Would “Cut Wasteful Spending.” In a report on Obama's State of the Union and the GOP response during NBC's Today, co-host Natalie Morales aired a short clip of Ernst's speech and stated, “Sen. Ernst also brushed aside the president's call for higher taxes on the wealthy, vowing that Republicans would cut wasteful spending and propose meaningful tax reforms.” [NBC, Today1/21/15

Wall Street Journal: Ernst Should Have Talked Even More About Spending Cuts To Federal Government Subsidies. The Wall Street Journal acknowledged Ernst's criticism of federal spending and suggested Ernst's spending comments didn't go far enough. An article on Ernst's State of the Union response highlighted the senator's previous vocal opposition to “federal government subsidies,” noting that tough talk on spending propelled Ernst to her current position. The article failed to make any mention of the role federal government subsidies played in supporting her family farm. [The Wall Street Journal1/21/15]