On Friday, Fox News viewers were met with something their brains probably couldn’t quite comprehend: A Fox News host issued a blink and you miss it apology for spreading around a despicable bogus story about supposed food stamp fraud that seemed designed to quite literally starve the poor.
Recently, Fox News published a story on their website that claimed “food stamp fraud is at an all-time high.” The piece was titled:
Food Stamp Fraud at All-Time High: Is It Time to End the Program?
The premise was that $70 million was being wasted on people taking advantage of the system. Being that Fox is filled to the brim with heartless assholes, they naturally asked if maybe food stamps should be abolished completely, ignoring the fact that even if this number were true (and we’ll get to that in a second), it would amount to a whopping .09% of the total budget.
But here’s where things go from “typical Fox News misinformation” to “outrageous lies that even they couldn’t support.”
The figure cited as justification from killing food stamps (“an all-time high” of $70 million) appears to have been fabricated out of thin air. In the piece and the subsequent Fox and Friends segment, the cranks at the network cite the “USDA” as their source… but the Department of Agriculture called bullshit.
The Agriculture Department is asking Fox News to correct a report from Tuesday morning’s edition of “Fox & Friends” alleging new heights for food-stamp fraud in the United States….“We are not quite sure where this came from,” a USDA spokesperson tells the Erik Wemple Blog. “We saw that there was a 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.”
To back up their claim, Fox relied solely on Brietbart – a pro-Trump right-wing propaganda site masquerading as a news organization. As has happened many times, Breitbart got the story wrong or intentionally lied about it in the first place, and now Fox is paying the price.
So it was with this epic failure firmly proven that Fox News host Abby Huntsman was forced to issue an on-air apology three days later. The damage will have likely already been done, but the rare gesture of contrition was appreciated nonetheless.
“We reported that back in 2016, $70 million were wasted on food stamp fraud. That was actually incorrect.
“The latest information from 2009 to 2011 shows the fraud at 1.3%, which is approximately $853 million for each of those three years, and nationally food-stamp trafficking is on the decline. So sorry about that mistake.”
However, in a bizarre capper to this story, the segment ends with Fox’s Pete Hegseth telling Hunstman “we forgive you,” as if it were Fox and Friends and not the millions of people living in poverty that they just disparaged who need to forgive Fox for these lies.
Having learned nothing, it seems unlikely that Fox News will stop using Breitbart or other disreputable right-wing rumor mills as its primary sources in future reports. As Trump’s presidency kicks off with more misinformation than ever, Fox knows that these stories – regardless of whether or not they are true – are red meat for their viewers.
Featured image via Fox News