Fox News Blatantly Distorted New Statistics on Government Programs to Fear Monger Against the Poor

ebt-food-stampFox News’ incessant fear mongering against the poor never ceases to amaze me. The Republican party as a whole displays such obvious disdain toward those living in poverty that it absolutely blows my mind that tens of millions of impoverished Americans actually vote for Republicans.

So knowing how Fox News seems to enjoy slandering the poor, my curiosity was obviously peaked when I recently ran across an article on their website with the headline Census figures show more than one-third of Americans receiving welfare benefits. 

Shocking, right?

Well, that is until you actually look at the census information. Which, of course, they didn’t link back to in their story. I guess we wouldn’t want people reading it to be able to look at the numbers for themselves to see how blatantly misleading the headline of this article is.

In fact, the only data from this census information this joke of an article even mentions is the number of people on Medicaid (82 million) and food stamps (51 million).

The article goes on to say:

Though the programs were created to help those in need, some analysts worry that the way they’re designed is, increasingly, incentivizing people not to work.

Though they failed to mention that this information shows that many of the people counted in these numbers are children, the disabled and the elderly. Not exactly individuals I would call “moochers of our government programs.”

And let’s not forget how many of our veterans (and even families of active service members) rely on some of these programs as well.

In fact, when you look at the entire scope of these numbers from the census, food stamp recipients only account for 16 percent and Medicare 26 percent of the 153 million total.

By comparison Social Security accounts for 17 percent, Medicare 16 percent, WIC (Women, Infants and Children) 7 percent, and SSI at 6 percent.

So in the grand scheme of Americans relying government programs, 46 percent are senior citizens, children and the disabled.

And again, many of those same people (senior citizens, the disabled and children) are also included in the food stamp and Medicaid numbers this Fox News article clearly tried to use to perpetuate their common talking point of “poor people are just lazy moochers looking for a handout from hardworking Americans.”

Though I don’t think you’ll find many sane people who would categorize children, the disabled or the elderly as people who are being “incentivized” from looking for work.

But what this article was clearly trying to do was ratchet up the usual Fox News fear mongering against Americans living in poverty by blatantly distorting these census numbers.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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