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Worst EVER 'Politi-Fact' "In Context" analysis

And a good candidate for the worst reporter ever to be entrusted with the responsibility for providing "balanced and fair, in depth" analysis of complex issues.

....Please, take a minute to click the links on this one.

Even though I'm a big sports fan -- and the coverage in this paper's Sports Section is generally very good -- here's a set of articles that are proof that I can't even consider the possibility of becoming a subscriber again. (With Packers rookie camps and stuff coming up, it's a sacrifice but in good conscience, how do you support deliberate distortions of black-and-white facts, terribly lazy research and one-sided grand-standing for GOP petty, mean-spiritedness?)

Here's the sequence. The rag published this initial (also skewed) report:


An odd coalition of advocates for the needy, local retailers and big corporations is opposing a fast-moving bill limiting junk food for food stamp recipients.

The bill on Wisconsin's FoodShare program comes before the state on Tuesday in the Assembly, where it is expected to pass despite the unusual opposition.

The proposal's lead sponsor, former potato chip salesman and state Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah), wants to require FoodShare recipients to use their taxpayer-funded benefits to buy more nutritious food. Kaufert said his bill makes sense as a response to the stories he hears from retail clerks and others about FoodShare benefits being used for large junk food purchases.

Sounds like a (possibly?) well-intentioned effort to keep borderline or morbidly obese people in line ahead of you in the grocery store from adding chips and nachos and other junk food items that could slow your checkout -- and improve the overall health of the community at the same time. Not unlike that whole "no Super-Size" soda in NYC Bloomberg thing.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The "fast-moving" Republican bill is not being rammed through the Assembly for anything to do with nutrition, or getting more people to make better or healthier shopping decisions in the checkout line.

Here are the guidelines for what is Allowed and what is Verboten:


Among the recommendations:

  • No bagels, pita bread or english muffins,
  • no white rice or wild rice or rice mixes
  • no plain-white flour tortillas or hard shell tacos,
  • no canned peas, soup or chili,
  • no tuna in a pouch or low sodium,
  • no organic anything,
  • no frozen fruit bars or popsicles,
  • no frozen french fries or hash brown potatoes,
  • no potatoes of any kind,
  • no salsa,
  • no salad bar items,
  • no dried fruit or fruit/nut mixes,
  • no spaghetti or pizza or lasagna sauce
  • no shredded or pre-sliced cheese except American cheese (pre-sliced, only),
  • no pickles,
  • no pork and beans
  • no sauerkraut,
  • no ketchup,
  • no black-eyed peas or pinto beans in a can,
  • no beans, peas or lentils with added "seasoning or meat" or in bulk,
  • no bread with double fiber or flaxseed.
  • no anything that has the word "yogurt" or "organic" or "low-sodium" or "low-carb" on the label.

It's an extremely arbitrary list that has one purpose only; to punish, humiliate and inconvenience Food Share recipients as much as possible. (And remove all those "useless eaters" from the social safety net toot sweet.) Add in that many of those Food Share recipients may have health problems or aren't the best cooks in the world. The approved list of foods is heavy on items that require a lot of preparation and cooking knowledge, and the NOT-approved list is equally heavy on easy-to-make or quick-to-eat stuff. The kind of menu favored by elderly widowers, for example, or other folks who might be less adept or capable in making their own food behind a stove.

You'd never know any of that by going to the Politi-FACT "In Context" analysis:


The whole article is a little bit of explanation of the issue, a one sentence paragraph and a second, two sentence paragraph, that characterize the negative reaction as some loons from Twitter, in order to provide extended time for the bill's author to be quoted. (From an interview with a right-wing AM Squawk Radio host, who is totally behind the whole effort and wouldn't ask an embarrassing or pertinent question in a blue moon.)

...Critics of the proposal, which made news from Atlanta to San Francisco, lit up Kaufert on Twitter.

Kaufert wants "big government to tell poor people what to eat," charged one tweet. He wants to "ban food stamp recipients from buying kids cake (and) ice cream" for their birthdays, claimed another...

That's it.

That's the whole sum of the "In Context" analysis. A little straw canary and a big soap box for the bill's sponsor and his paid right-wing P.R. on-air fluffer.

But it's the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

A quick search turned up the same reporter, blogging on his own, using this kind of graphic imagery to "discuss" the exchange between Wisconsin Senator Dumbass (the place-holder in the Upper House who replaced Russ Feingold) and Hillary Clinton:


Edit -- I took out the http:// and the website: www.freakingnews.com ...in that weblink (above) so the image wouldn't pollute this post. Add http://freakingnews.com/pictures..... back in if you want to see it and paste to a new browser window.


But that graphic is all that's missing from the same article, on the Journal-Sentinel website:


Ho-lee cash register, Batman. Senator Dumbass cleaned up.

No wonder Dumbass found the Obama-supported background check bill to be "fatally flawed." (Without any specifics or the least hint of a reason.)

Check out how much his own campaign accounts have benefited from the association with N.R.A. lobbyists:

That's Senator I-Married-the-Boss's-Daughter in 3rd place there, with close to 1.2 million to 'the good' on deposit.

(Tip o' the hat to anonymous poster at Cognitive Dissidence blog earlier today...


That thread includes a video of Wisconsin's Republican place-holder in the Upper House, opining that 'insurers and private medical businesses should have life-and-death power over other Americans,' cuz, you know, it's all about making those cash registers sing. Screw the poor, the sick, and anyone who the health care system might have already bankrupted.)
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