I watched this morning’s Toolman Interview segment on the WWL morning news with Chick Foret and Sally Ann and openly wondered if TeeVee News is the media format that is most responsible for the dumbing down of America. Yes, Channel 4 is famous for putting spectacularly hot women on the air in a tasteful, non-Faux News like manner but are the viewers actually getting any useful information outside the Traffic and Weather segments? After watching this morning’s 5 minute plus segment on the recent Louisiana Legislative Auditor Performance Audit of the SNAP Program, formerly known as Food Stamps the answer is no. To get a flavor of the inaccurate, sensational journalism being trumpeted by Eric Paulsen and Chick Foret let’s visit with Tania Dall’s report on same for WWL TeeVee.
Eyewitness News has learned more than $1 million worth of food stamps intended for people in need wound up in the hands of convicted criminals.
That is just one type of fraud and abuse that was discovered in Louisiana’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP.
Really Tania? Inmates got a cool million?
Spurred by the inaccurate and sensational reporting that is sure to get the local GOP calling for drug testing of all SNAP participants (with the work steered to testing labs they own) I went straight to the source at the Louisiana Legislative Auditor because it is clear you can’t trust TeeVee news types to report a straight story, and the story that emerged was far more complex and not all bad. You see folks when I see press reports sensationalizing social welfare fraud I think Wall Street Investment Bankers among others because it was the economic crash of 2008 that has caused so many people to end up receiving SNAP benefits after losing their jobs. I missed the segment with Chick Foret on that bunch, which swindled the US Treasury outta hundreds of billions of dollars and imploded the economy but that’s because TeeVee news types are generally cuddled up with that crowd. Since TeeVee news types tend to run in herds a cursory google search reveals Belo’s Channel 4 is not the only offender on this story, they just happen to be the one that botched the story the worst.
Finally, these days in the local Internet congroovancy, balkanized as it is due to the shit storm Steve Newhouse caused down here around a year ago, it is worth noting Laura Maggie told this story straight for NOLA.com. No, she did not drill down into the minutiae but her numbers were accurate. Speaking of minutiae the report had what I thought was good news.
Did everyone get that? Just in case here is what seemingly everyone else in the media left off.
In FFY 2011, Louisiana showed improvement, ranking 25th in the overall payment error rate nationwide. As of November 2012, the DCFS overall payment error rate is now ranked 4th in the nation, representing the second highest improvement among all states in this measure for the current year, which may qualify Louisiana for a bonus payment in the future.
And why the improvement? Because Louisiana hired some auditors that knew how to data mine. That’s neither sexy or sensational and you’d never learn such watching the TeeVee news.