Accuracy in Media

Splinter, a news organization owned by Univision Communications, which serves the Latino market, accused the Trump administration of “a visceral hatred of the poor and the destruction of the safety net. Nothing more, nothing less” after the administration announced a proposed rule that would curtail states’ ability to exempt recipients from work requirements in order to receive federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, also known as food stamps.

Splinter used a vulgar, personal attack to go after President Trump.

“President Donald Trump, a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and then had a fake job doing business deals for like 50 years before stumbling ass-backwards into becoming president, wants to make getting food stamps even harder than it already is,” wrote Splinter writer Paul Blest.

Blest did not acknowledge evidence that work requirements help reduce child poverty.

“As studies have repeatedly shown, work requirements have turned out to be an absolute racist horror show,” Blest wrote. “These policies don’t reduce poverty— in fact, evidence has shown that they push more people into extreme poverty—and they also don’t actually increase employment long-term.”

Splinter failed to include evidence from, for example, Ron Haskins from The Brookings Institution analyzing the effects of work requirements implemented by a Democratic White House (Bill Clinton) and Republican Congress in the 1990s.

“More than 40 studies conducted by states since 1996 show that about 60 percent of the adults leaving welfare are employed at any given moment and that, over a period of several months, about 80 percent hold at least one job,” Haskins reported. “Even more impressive, national data from the Census Bureau show that between 1993 and 2000, the percentage of low-income, single mothers with a job grew from 58 percent to nearly 75 percent, an increase of almost 30 percent. Moreover, employment among never-married mothers, the most disadvantaged and least-educated subgroup of single mothers, grew from 44 percent to 66 percent, an increase of 50 percent, over the same period. Again, these sweeping changes are unprecedented.

“What about income? Census Bureau data show that in 1993, earnings accounted for about 30 percent of the income of low-income mother-headed families while welfare payments accounted for nearly 55 percent. By 2000, this pattern had reversed: earnings had leaped by an astounding 136 percent to constitute almost 57 percent of income while welfare income had plummeted by nearly half to constitute only about 23 percent of income. Equally important, with earnings leading the way, the total income of these low-income families increased by more than 25 percent over the period (in constant dollars).

“Not surprisingly, between 1994 and 2000, child poverty fell every year and reached levels not seen since 1978. In addition, by 2000, the poverty rate of black children was the lowest it had ever been.”

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