When Fox News conspiracies run out of steam, they simply start on any number of others. Darrell Issa doesn’t need to be investigating food stamps: in light of the poor job Issa’s done getting to the bottom of, well, anything, it’s better if there is no investigation. The truth clouds clouds reporting. Ooh, aaah.
So last week, the reporting turned to food stamp fraud, which works on so many conservative levels. The poor stealing from the rich. Government giveaways that are corrupt. Black folks. The perfect storm of 1980’s southern strategy, now re-packaged as libertarianism.
The number that started this is thirty percent. That would be the estimate of how much food stamp fraud has increased. The number that was not mentioned is one percent. That is the estimate of how much food stamp fraud is occurring in the nation. The dramatic increase is from 1 percent to 1.3 percent, a rise of three tenths of 1 percent. Yes, that is an increase of 30 percent. No, it is not rampant corruption.
This is Fox Spin. You take a story that is not newsworthy, and only tell a little bit of it. You keep telling the little piece of the non-story until you milk it out, and then you drop it. Waiting in the wings at Fox are any number of people trying to hawk books about any conservative subject, and to bolster your faux story, you put a mic on them and give them 90 seconds to help you spin the story up.
The result is a story that is not a story, now a Fox Fact that is ingrained in the viewers mind. Black people are using food stamps to buy drugs. Poor people are just gaming the system to keep from working. The government is taking my money and giving it to people who don’t even want to work.
The reality is that most people on welfare lost their jobs in the crash, and businesses are not hiring them back. They are decent people on their knees because or economy is struggling to recover. They are single moms facing foreclosures, struggling to provide for our next generation. Those bastards.
Are people gaming the system? Yes, and probably more than 1.3 percent of them, cashing in food stamps to pay the electric bill, throwing everything in the pot to make ends meet. Trying to survive until things get better.