But Fox News' Mission of Yet Again Demonizing the Literally Life-Saving Food Stamp Program Was Accomplished
Fox News' Abby Huntsman this week delivered an entirely false story about food stamp fraud to "Fox & Friends" viewers, sparking a rare request from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture for the right wing cable news giant to issue a retraction. As NCRM reported, Huntsman told viewers that food stamp fraud is at an all-time high and totaled about $70 million in 2016. That would be 0.09% of the total amount of food stamps issued annually, an incredibly low number, actually, but false nonetheless. Fox News also lied; claiming food stamp fraud was at the highest level ever. It's actually not, and it's actually decreasing.
Huntsman did not respond.
So, not one word of the report was true, including the fact that the USDA hasn't issued any numbers on the SNAP program for 2016, or 2015, or 2014, leading to our tweet to Huntsman:
In fact, as Mother Jones' Kevin Drum – who first reported that the Fox News report was a lie – notes, there are no published numbers on food stamp fraud past 2011.
RELATED STORY: Fox News Is Asking if the Food Stamp Program That Helps 44 Million Americans Should Be Ended Because of 0.09% Fraud
“We are not quite sure where this came from,” a spokesperson for the USDA, speaking about the fraudulent statistics Fox News reported, told The Washington Post's Erik Wemple. “We saw that there was as story on Breitbart. We have not issued a report on this recently. There is no new rate that we’ve published. So we’re not quite sure why they’re so interested in stirring this up.”
Wemple reports that the Agriculture Dept. requested a retraction from Fox News, which is rare, and even morerare, Fox News pulled its original report and issued the retraction.
"The statistics reported Tuesday in a 'Fox & Friends' segment about 2016 food stamp fraud were incorrect," Fox News Insider, where the original report was published, noted. "The latest USDA information, from 2009 to 2011, showed $853 million in fraud, or 1.3% in those three years. Nationally, food stamp trafficking is on the decline."
Huntsman also issued a rare on-air retraction.
Fox News' report also was based on the "question" that perhaps the food stamp program, SNAP, should be eliminated, because of fraud.
That suggestion is on its face insane. The amount of food stamp fraud is so minor compared to the number of people it serves (44 million) it barely is worth reporting, especially since it's decreasing, not increasing. Also, 45 percent of food stamps go to feed children, not adults.
But Fox News' mission of yet again demonizing the literally life-saving food stamp program was accomplished; given more people likely saw the initial report and not the retraction.