FOX News Spreads Food Stamp Weed Myth, Of Course

Tyler Hansen of Media Matters for America:

Fox News seized on Colorado's legalization of recreational use and sale of marijuana to stoke fears — while offering no evidence — that low-income Americans could use food stamps to buy marijuana. In fact, food stamp recipients are barred from purchasing non-food items, cannot withdraw food stamps as cash, and fraud in the program is extremely rare.

After Colorado a law allowing the legal sale of marijuana went into effect in 2014, an urban myth spread that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps) recipients could use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards to withdraw SNAP benefits as cash at ATMs located in marijuana dispensaries in order to buy marijuana. Colorado senate Republicans introduced a bill to ban the use of EBT cards at those ATMs, but the bill failed after Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about restricting recipients' access to benefits in areas with few ATMs…

Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade introduced the segment [today] by asking, "Can people collecting food stamps in Colorado add marijuana to their shopping lists?" and answering, "Right now the answer is yes." [Pols emphasis]

But as we've been saying ever since Sen. Vicki Marble and the "clown car caucus" of far-out GOP representatives introduced the legislation in question, the answer is in fact no. Federal food stamp funds, or SNAP funds, cannot be used at nonapproved retailers, and cannot be used to purchase nonqualifying products. Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, that of course means no marijuana retailer has been approved to accept food stamp funds. There is the matter of other forms of direct cash assistance that are sometimes deposited into a common debit card account for beneficiaries, but we're not talking about "food stamps" at all.

The biggest problem? This issue was settled days ago. It has been repeatedly clarified in local news reports that food stamp funds never could and can't be used today to buy marijuana. The only way FOX News could have gotten this story so wrong in a report today is if they stopped reading the news over a week ago. Which makes it much more likely that this was fully intentional misinformation.

Next time, we'll just have to consider the source.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    Conservatives are angry because they think everything they hear on Fox New s is true.  I would be angry, too.  Of course, it's only taken a couple of minutes of listening  to Fox before I have heard an outright lie each time I've had the misfortune of tuning in.

    Fox viewers will never hear the facts about this marijuana story or any of the other lies.  I think it would be worth buying ad time on Fox with the sole purpose of debunking the lies.  We have to break through somehow.

  2. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Pretty simple. Fox isn't a news network. It's the GOTP propaganda network. And no, MSNBC isn't the same. Yes it's Dem leaning but it uses actual checked facts.

    • gertie97 says:

      Really, BC? I agree MSNBC isn't as blatant as Faux, but it doesn't do what you'd call a good job of fact-checking. Corrections and/or retractions should be extremely rare, not par for the course.

      The insatiable 24/7 beast. The bane of our existence.


      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        And you're saying they have high rate of corrections? I've seen apologies for things like the remark about what should be put in Palin's mouth, the remarks about an African America childn adopted Romney family child but those are matters of deplorable taste, not factual accuracy.  I'm unaware of anything like the constant parade of simply wrong facts and figures we see at Fox.  Examples of the many I must have missed please?  I find Rachel Maddow, while clearly progressive, quite reliable on facts and stats, most often putting the source documents on screen. Andrea Mitchell is impeccable and can't even be seen as particularly biased. I could go on but I'm interested in all the factual corrections I must have missed that put them in the same ballpark as Fox.

  3. Ralphie says:

    WHy worry about it?  It is what it is.

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