Some right-wing blogs have been pushing a USA Today analysis — which found that counties that supported President Obama in the election are getting more stimulus money, per person, than counties that backed John McCain — to claim that the stimulus is actually “an Obama-supporter-payoff scheme.” Steve Benen noted, though, that the conservatives crowing about this article clearly didn’t read all of it, as it includes these sections:
Much of [the money] has followed a well-worn path to places that regularly collect a bigger share of federal grants and contracts, guided by formulas that have been in place for decades and leave little room for manipulation…The imbalance didn’t start with the stimulus. From 2005 through 2007, the counties that later voted for Obama collected about 50% more government aid than those that supported McCain, according to spending reports from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Adam Hughes, the director of federal fiscal policy for the non-profit OMB Watch, explained that “it would be almost inconceivable for [the spending imbalance] to be the result of political tinkering.” But did this stop Fox News from picking up the story and promoting it in the exact same way as the right-wing bloggers? No, of course not.
Today, Fox News’ Stuart Varney premised an entire segment on the right-wing’s false claim, and wouldn’t concede the point, even when former Texas Rep. Martin Frost referenced the above sections of the USA Today story. Watch it:
A fair reading of the article supports the simple conclusion that economically-distressed areas voted for Obama.
This is not the first time that Fox has picked up a conspiracy theory from conservative blogs and run with it. But it’s a particularly egregious example since the second paragraph in the referenced article counters the conspiracy. Sean Hannity sent out a tweet about the non-story today.
Cross-posted at The Wonk Room.