Target: Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News Channel
Goal: Demand that Fox News end its campaign of misinformation designed to portray recipients of food aid as undeserving
Millions of struggling Americans depend on food assistance to feed their families. They know that jobs are still hard to come by, and will likely pay less than those lost to the recession. But to hear Fox News anchors one would think participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are just plain lazy. President Obama, the network says, is “buying votes” by continuing benefits despite what it calls a “full economic recovery.”
This isn’t the first time Fox News has actively misrepresented SNAP as a program plagued with waste and fraud. Relying on racist stereotypes to whip up viewers, Fox implies that the President is pandering to low-income minority voters and that SNAP benefits are a gift rather than a lifeline for families facing food insecurity. The network suggests–and at times, insists–that poor people don’t want to work. These judgements are clearly false, but with conservatives in control of the House and Senate the push to cut the vital program grows more intense.
Most recipients of SNAP benefits are white, and most households enrolled include at least one adult working full-time. The rate of fraud hovers around 1 percent, or roughly “half the criminality rate of the U.S. House of Representatives,” as reported by TalkPoverty. Eligibility requirements have becoming increasingly, irrationally, strict. Not surprisingly, some of the most conservative states also have the highest rates of food insecurity and SNAP participation.
Demand that Fox News report truthfully about America’s hunger crisis, and stop villainizing the poor in an attempt to justify cuts to the SNAP program.
Dear Mr. Ailes,
A recent article from TalkPoverty spoke out against Fox News’ misleading reporting on SNAP and recipients of food aid. The article correctly blames the rise in hunger on the conservative agenda to cut wages while decimating funding for social welfare programs. “The very conservatives who pushed the policies that sunk our economic ship shouldn’t complain when we are forced to provide life preservers in the form of food for the drowning,” wrote Joel Berg.
Yet the Fox News channel continues to falsely portray SNAP participants as lazy and therefore deserving of their poverty. It characterizes the program as rife with fraud–claims that area easy to disprove. Clearly, the real goal is to sway public opinion in favor of cutting food aid at a time when millions of Americans depend on it to survive.
Shame on you for trying to blame the sad state of the economy on those who suffer most. I must insist that your news network cease its misrepresentation of the SNAP program, and of food aid recipients.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: United States Department of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons