A new inspector general report documenting overpayments in farm subsidies challenges Fox News' reporting on the farm bill, which has focused on demagogouing food stamps and their recipients.
Fox has endlessly campaigned against the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked the program after another USDA report showed the rate of food stamp trafficking, or selling benefits for cash, had risen from 1.0 percent in 2006-2008 to 1.3 percent in 2009-2011. Fox also produced a special report titled "The Great Food Stamp Binge" that focused on the story of a California musician who takes advantage of SNAP benefits, explicitly attempting to make the musician "the new face of food stamps." Fox is reportedly distributing copies of the special to members of Congress in anticipation of a vote on a bill that would reduce SNAP funding.
A report by the Department of Agriculture's inspector general showed the USDA "paid out $20.3 million more than it should have last year to farmers and other aid recipients," according to Politico. The article went on to report that "the USDA sent out more money than it should have for subsidies and that other farmer assistance rose by 67 percent in 2012."
Food stamps and farm subsidies have historically been contained within the same bill, but earlier this year Republicans led an effort to cut SNAP from the bill, a move that Fox defended but which could jeopardize the program's survival.
The low rate of fraud and abuse in the SNAP program -- which kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011 -- has not stopped Fox from regularly attacking the program. Given its history, don't expect the network to devote anywhere near the same amount of coverage to farm bill overpayments that have nothing to do with SNAP.