On Friday, Fox News aired a report which alleged that food stamp fraud was at an all-time high. Host Abby Huntsman commented:
“Food stamp fraud is at an all-time high…This year, it is estimated $70 million of taxpayer money was wasted on food stamp fraud.”
$70 million! Wow, that’s a lot of money, and a lot of waste. That’s enough to make you very angry. But it also happens to be a complete lie.
The Department of Agriculture told the Washington Post:
“We are not quite sure where this came from. We saw that there was a story on Breitbart. We have not issued a report on this recently.”
Ironically, the most recent data shows that fraud in the food stamp program stands at 1.3 percent. If you apply that to the 2016 SNAP budget of about $70 billion, the amount spent in a fraudulent manner would actually turn out to be $910 million, which is over ten times as high as what Fox reported.
How did Fox respond? Surprisingly, Huntsman looked into the camera and announced:
“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.”
While it’s admirable that Fox corrected their mistake, please note that their new figure of $853 million is still below what the Agriculture Department says. So while Fox was right in saying how wrong they were, technically they were wrong the second time, too. But it’s Fox News. If they were accurate, we’d know something had gone very wrong.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org