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Monday, January 2, 2017
MRC Defends False Fox News Attack on Food Stamps
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline of Nicholas Fondacaro's Dec. 29 Media Research Center post complains, "MSNBC Analyst Smears Conservatives as Racist for Caring About Food Stamp Fraud." He complains further:

MSNBC’s Ari Melber was up in arms Wednesday night, as he filled in on The Rachel Maddow Show, at Fox News for daring to report that food stamp fraud was up to roughly $70 million in 2016. But the outrage at Fox gave way to outrage at the white working class for falling for the racist “dog whistle” of caring about said fraud. “Why is this all coming up again now,” he inquired to his radical leftist guest Joan Walsh from The Nation.

“Well, why now is because we have Fox News, which is awaiting a President Donald Trump by rerunning their greatest hits,” she declared, “I mean, Fox has done this before. They did it under Obama. They chased this idea of food stamp fraud.” Walsh completely wrote off the facts and pretending like the fraud was not happening, while smearing everyone who brought it up as racist:


Ironically, the whole discussion was started when Melber claimed that Fox News had lied about the $70 million in food stamp fraud. Melber claimed that MSNBC called the Agriculture Department and were told they didn’t know the origin of the number. He cited the radical leftist website Mother Jones as a “fact checker” who found “There's zero evidence that fraud is at an all-time high.”

But according to a Washington Post piece criticizing the Fox News report, the number is not an issue but arguing it requires the end of the program is. 

Actually, according to an update of that Washington Post article, the number is, in fact, an issue. The Post's Erik Wemple reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, was seeking a correction from Fox News because the $70 million number seems to have been plucked out of nowhere.

And as Wemple also points out -- but Fondacaro doesn't admit because it destroys his attack on Mother Jones  as a "radical leftist website" who can't be trusted -- food stamp fraud is not at a record. The latest numbers available show fraud is around 1 percent of the program, down from 4 percent in the 1990s.

The USDA got its correction: Fox News has admitted the $70 million number is incorrect and that "nationally food stamp trafficking is on the decline." Will Fondacaro do the same by admitting by defending Fox News, he's defending a false claim?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:34 AM EST

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