Poverty

By Tom Blumer | July 12, 2013 | 4:29 PM EDT

This one is a lead candidate for top placement in this week's "Even a stopped clock is right twice day" file.

MSNBC's Michael Smerconish, whose NewsBusters archive exposes him as a Barack Obama-supporting, right-wing conspiracy-mongering faux conservative, had a perhaps surprising reaction to the District of Columbia City Council's 8-5 vote to force Walmart and other big box retailers in the city -- just the ones which aren't unionized -- a living wage of $12.50 per hour. In a Thursday evening column at the network's website, he advised DC Mayor Vincent Gray to veto it, and was actually quite logical about it (bold is mine):

By Jeffrey Meyer | July 11, 2013 | 11:51 AM EDT

Walmart, the nation’s largest retail employer is in the process of building the very first of its planned six brand-new stores in Washington, D.C., but the liberal city council plans to welcome them into the city with new legislation mandating that the company "pay their employees a 50 percent premium over the city’s minimum wage." Yet in his 27- paragraph story in the July 11 Washington Post, staff writer Mike DeBonis ignored how the legislation exempts large retailers with unionized workers from paying the premium minimum wage.

The Arkansas-based retailer has threatened to halt construction on its planned six stores, citing the fact that the added labor costs inject uncertainty about the profitability of the operations given the new law's mandates. DeBonis noted that the law requires "[r]etailers with corporate sales of $1 billion or more and operating in spaces 75,000 square feet or larger would be required to pay employees no less than $12.50 an hour." Curiously, however, DeBonis failed to mention an exemption in the law that shields unionized companies like grocery chain Safeway from the bill.  DeBonis choose to cite union supporters who support the de facto tax on Wal-Mart, without explaining why unions would love a proposed law that would exclude them from its penalty.

By Paul Bremmer | July 9, 2013 | 6:00 PM EDT

Left-wing journalist Bill Moyers made a truly ludicrous attempt on Monday to twist the meaning of a particular two-word phrase. It happened while he was appearing on PBS’s Charlie Rose show to promote an upcoming documentary in which he tells the stories of two struggling families in Milwaukee. Looking the host in the eye, Moyers warned, “Never underestimate the power of learned helplessness.”

Rose appeared confused, so Moyers clarified what he meant: “Learned helplessness. That if you hear propaganda over and again, if you hear ideology over and again, you learn to be helpless because you think there's nothing you can do about it.” That sounds like a good description of what journalists on PBS, MSNBC and other outlets are responsible for.

July 5, 2013 | 9:00 AM EDT

The liberal chorus at MSNBC has made it a relentless mission to attack Republicans as unconcerned about the poor. Evening hosts Chris Matthews and Chris Hayes are just two recent examples, the former claiming the GOP “spent months...trying to keep black people and poor people from voting,” and the latter slamming Republicans for an “anti-food stamp jihad.”

The hypocrisy of these attacks may shine through this weekend, as the network broadcasts live from the Essence Festival in New Orleans, from July 5 through July 7. Now, the Essence Festival’s primary purpose is to “celebrate black culture, music and people,” a mission no one could or should criticize. But the Lean Forward network is choosing to promote their GOP-bashing agenda – which includes criticism for Republicans who want to “tear down the poor” – from a festival where the most affordable tickets are currently more than $60 per ticket, per night.

June 25, 2013 | 4:35 PM EDT

Ed Schultz blasted Republicans on the June 15 edition of his eponymous Ed Show program for “sticking it” to “American families who desperately need” the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. In an interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) later in the program, Schultz griped that there’s “no fat in food stamps, as I see it.”

Well, apparently good ol’ Ed can’t stay on message for more than one week, as the bombastic MSNBC host berated Republicans again for cuts to SNAP on Saturday – but this time because dining with food you can buy from SNAP assistance contains “everything that makes America fat.” Schultz’s tirade, which I debunk later, came in response to a Republican congressional staffer’s success with the SNAP Challenge, a movement by the Food and Research Action Center that challenges Americans to live on a $4.50 per day food budget for one week.

By Jeffrey Meyer | June 24, 2013 | 1:45 PM EDT

Updated below: Kessler responds to post.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker Glen Kessler likes to portray himself as fair and unbiased but has a tendency to scrutinize Republicans a lot harder than their Democratic counterparts. Take for example a June 20  fact-check item when Kessler labeled a misleading challenge by Democratic members of Congress to live on $4.50 a day for food as only partially false, receiving two out of the maximum four “Pinocchios.”

At issue is 30 Democratic congressman who voluntarily chose to live on $4.50 a day for food, the amount the average family receives in supplemental assistance from the federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) program. Despite admitting that the Democrats’ “challenge” is false on its face, he deemed their act worthy of only 2 “Pinocchios.”

By Brad Wilmouth | June 21, 2013 | 5:01 PM EDT

On Thursday's The Last Word on MSNBC, during a segment with food activist Tom Colicchio, substitute host Alex Wagner raised the left-wing activist's stated desire that those who oppose his agenda be labeled as "pro-hunger" as she seemed sympathetic to the idea. Wagner:

By Brad Wilmouth | June 20, 2013 | 6:27 PM EDT

On Wednesday's PoliticsNation show, MSNBC host Al Sharpton charged that Republicans are waging a "full-scale war against the poor" because of GOP efforts to reform the food stamp program, and went on to assert that "This party will stop at nothing to tear down the poor. Just as they have time and time again."

With the words "The Hunger Shames" in the background, the MSNBC host began the show:

By Brad Wilmouth | June 20, 2013 | 4:05 PM EDT

On Wednesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes again claimed that House Republicans are waging a "jihad" in trying to cut the food stamp program, asserting that "the GOP's jihad on those in need gets uglier every single day."

The MSNBC also fretted again over the possibility that violent felons may lose benefits while MSNBC contributor Joy Reid tried to link racism against minorities to the battle over food stamps. Reid:

By Brad Wilmouth | June 19, 2013 | 2:59 PM EDT

On Tuesday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes complained about an "anti-food stamp jihad" by House Republicans, and attacked the GOP for putting on a "shameful spectacle" in trying to cut the food stamp program.

With the words "War on the Poor" and an image of House Speaker John Boehner displayed on screen behind him, Hayes railed:

By Tom Blumer | June 18, 2013 | 11:23 PM EDT

A search at Google News on "households food stamps record" done at 9 p.m. ET (not in quotes, sorted by date, with duplicates and similar items) returned three items. Two are at the Daily Caller (here and here); and the other is at Reason.com. Program statistics for March, the latest month available, show that a record 23.12 million households -- one in every five in the U.S. -- received food stamp benefits. At 47.73 million, the total number of persons receiving benefits was only 65,000 below the record set in December. In 2008, average participation was less than 29 million.

That search result shows, despite the fact that records are supposed to be news, that the establishment press is completely uninterested in communicating the fact that the food stamp program continues to grow, though very slowly, even as the economy supposedly recovers. There is one number that the press has been citing frequently, namely the number of people who might be removed from the food stamp rolls if language attempting to limit the program to people who are truly in need remains in the otherwise bloated disaster known as the farm bill. 

By Brent Bozell | June 15, 2013 | 7:57 AM EDT

Egotistical musicians often exaggerate their political influence, none moreso than the nattering, narcissistic rapper Kanye West. He has compared himself in global stature to Apple founder Steve Jobs, and has titled his latest album “Yeesus.”

Rolling Stone magazine has posted part of a West song titled “I Am a God,” where West raps that Jesus is the “Most High,” but he’s a “close high.”