Fox News devoted an entire segment on the January 21 edition of its morning show Fox and Friends to outrage over people in Colorado who use food stamps to buy pot. Colorado, along with Washington, is one of the two states where selling and using marijuana for non-medical purposes became legal this year.
Fox News interviewer Brian Kilmeade introduced the dizzyingly misleading segment by asking, “Can people collecting food stamps in Colorado add marijuana to their shopping lists?” Media Matters reported.
Then Kilmeade answered his own question. “Right now,” he declared, “the answer is yes!”
Actually, the answer is a quite resounding “no.” Despite what Fox News reported, use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds, still known informally as “food stamps” though the benefits have been electronic for more than a decade, is restricted to purchase of food items approved under the program, and then only from authorized sellers.
SNAP recipients are prohibited by law from purchasing alcohol or tobacco — or marijuana — with their benefit funds. So-called food stamps cannot be used in restaurants, either, except in rare and highly regulated cases.
Nor can electronic benefit cards on the SNAP program be used to withdraw cash from ATM machines. All of the rules are spelled out clearly on the United States Department of Agriculture web site. The USDA administers SNAP.
But what is even more extraordinary about the Fox News claim is that it started as a hoax, or more accurately a joke, on the phony news site National Report, which published an article three weeks ago headlined, “Colorado Pot Shop Accepting Food Stamps – Taxpayer Funded Marijuana for Welfare Recipients.”
The bogus news story was picked up in all seriousness by a conservative web site and even linked from a Colorado Republican county committee’s site, Think Progress reported. Then a Colorado GOP state senator, Vicki Marble, introduced a bill in the state legislature to ban food stamp recipients from buying weed with their benefits, though it was already against the law.
Additionally, there have been no known accounts of food stamp recipients in Colorado attempting to use their SNAP benefits to purchase legal marijuana, CBS Denver reported.
Certainly the staff at Fox News must be aware that the “food stamps for pot” story is a hoax. Yet they ran with it anyway. What’s up?
Well, maybe Fox News didn’t figure out that the story was fake after all. Last October, during the prolonged government shutdown, Fox News fell for another National Report story, this one entitled, “Obama Uses Own Money To Open Muslim Museum Amid Government Shutdown.”
Are Fox News reporters simply the most gullible people in America? Or do they latch on to stories that somehow fit the conservative political agenda of Fox News, even if the stories are fake? What do you think?
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