USA Today practiced a “rip and read” of liberal talking points on winter heating costs with it’s headline for Richard Wolf’s December 12 story, “Some may face choice: Whether to heat or eat." Wolf’s article centered on critics of the Agriculture Department’s (USDA) decision to deny the requests of five states for a boost in food stamps spending.
The self-declared “nation’s newspaper” cribbed from a December 12 press release by America’s Second Harvest, whose headline read, “Heat or Eat? Millions of Americans Forced to Make the Choice This Winter; Energy Costs and Food Insecurity Reach Record Highs.”
An Internet search netted a few relevant hits for “heat or eat.” The top item in a Google search yielded a study by the liberal National Bureau of Economic Research from June 2002 labeled “Heat or Eat? Cold Weather Shocks and Nutrition in Poor American Families,” while the fourth item yielded an October 2005 commentary entitled “Heat or eat?” in the People’s Weekly World, an online socialist newspaper.
While his editor may have come up with the headline, it was Wolf himself who loaded his story in favor of liberal activists lobbying for increased social spending. The USA Today reporter tagged critics of the Bush administration as “advocates for the poor,” subtly suggesting big government programs are an aid to the poor while efforts to restrain spending increases are anti-poor.
There's no word yet on when CBS's Jim Axelrod will get the memo and cover the "heat or eat" epidemic. Yesterday the Free Market Project documented how Axelrod exaggerated the impact of rising energy prices on the middle class.