Republicans Sink To New Low By Using Fox News Special As Fact In Committee Hearing

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faux news we make it up

Fox News is so pervasive, and apparently so convincing, that a misleading special of theirs has made it into a House committee hearing on SNAP benefits as evidence of widespread fraud within the system. According to Media Matters for America, Fox News aired a special in 2013 about a California guy on SNAP who surfs, eats lobster, and doesn’t work. They then sent the video to certain Republicans, who apparently ate it up as absolute truth.

Fox tried to make the surfing freeloader “the new face of food stamps.” In other words, they were specifically looking to demonize people who receive SNAP benefits by making them all look like freeloaders living off of hardworking taxpayers.

Media Matters said that the hearing was to address the past, present and future of SNAP. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) referenced Fox News’ special as evidence of the fraud within the system. Rep. Todd Yoho (R-FL) also mentioned it, saying that he hears stories like that from his district every single day.

Many of the anecdotes that these people hear are likely from people making a snap judgment of someone based on what they see in the store. They assume that the person buying steak with the food stamps does it all the time. They assume that they’re wearing expensive designer clothes, when those clothes might be knockoffs from a thrift store, or borrowed for a job interview. They assume that the fancy car belongs to that person, instead of being borrowed. And so forth. Those are usually the stories that fly around, and the people telling them have zero evidence that their assumptions are actually true.

To hear our elected representatives referencing something said on Fox News as if it’s fact, though, when Fox News is known to tell the truth less than 25 percent of the time, is a sad, sick, and sorry testament to the reality of the Republican Party.

The GOP paints poverty as a moral failing, and vilifies poor people as lazy moochers who don’t pay taxes, who don’t contribute to society, and who live off of hardworking Americans who do pay taxes. Someone on food stamps likely prepared that latte they’re drinking, that hamburger they’re eating, or that quick-lunch they grabbed. The Senate cafeteria cook is on food stamps, and it’s a foregone conclusion that Republican Senators occasionally eat in the dining room there. One has to wonder if they give a passing thought to these people.

Even if fraud were widespread, the answer wouldn’t be to cut benefits across the board, which is what Republicans want to do. That would be hurting families who need the benefits, just to get the fraud out of the system. Congress needs a better way to address fraud if that’s their real concern. It’s not, however; they just want to try to legislate away the poor so they can claim victory over government spending, and other things.

They’re using the Fox News surfer special because it fits their worldview that people are only poor because they’re lazy, or there’s something wrong with them. Thankfully, Media Matters reports that Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) stood up for the reality of SNAP beneficiaries by pointing out that the majority of people getting these benefits are children, elderly and disabled, and that those who are able-bodied are generally working already.


Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info