March 12, 2019

Fox's whole schtick is making punitive public policy seem like a moral good. Take this discussion about drug testing in Alabama, as Brian Kilmeade keeps whining about whether it's too much to ask that people on food stamps not use drugs.

"A new bill proposed in Alabama would require some residents to pass a drug test in order to get food stamps. Is that okay? It requires testing for anyone in the SNAP program if there is reasonable suspicion that the person uses or is under the influence of a drug. As of November 2018, 19.3 million households in America participate in the SNAP program. So does drug testing for food stamps go too far or is it necessary? Here to debate it is registered independent and Democratic strategist Rochelle Richie and Mark Little, a lawyer and vice chair for urban renewal and education. Rochelle, let's start with you, is that too much to ask that you are not on drugs to get free food?"

(I don't know, Brian. Is it too much to ask that someone as brain dead as you gets paid so much just to perform this concerned little dance? And correct me if I'm wrong, but don't addicts also eat, and have children who eat?)

"What the state senator has literally done is criminalized being poor in the United States," Richie said.

"We have to think about this. He has also characterized poor people as being drug addicts and manipulating the system. More than 75% of the recipients of SNAP benefits are families with children. Furthermore, I don't think he really understands the requirements in his own state to receive such benefits. You can actually go to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction and still receive SNAP benefits. Is he going to test these people, if they test positive, guess what? They go to rehab and they get the benefits anyway."

"Mark, what's your sense? Do you think it's too much to ask to make sure people aren't on drugs to get free stuff?" Kilmeade said.

(Oh, if I had dollar for every wingnut who's whined to me about people getting "free stuff while I worked for everything I got.")

"Well, I will tell you she really hit on something that I think is key," Little said.

"First of all, it's important to understand that the states have to work to get people to work and off of dependency on entitlement programs, number one. Number two, the drug testing requirement in this case is fair. It's fair for two reasons. It brings accountability for behavior, number one. and number two, it brings the opportunity to identify people who have a need, a need for treatment. We have an opioid crisis in this country. And when you have an opportunity for the state to partner with CBOs and faith-based organizations, we have an opportunity to bring treatment instead of terminating benefits."

(Sure, Mark, pray away the problem!)

"Rochelle, could you see it be a positive?" Kilmeade asked. (C'mon, Rochelle, say yes! Give a white brother a break!) "They are doing it in 13 other states."

"Providing people with treatment is a positive," she said.

"I don't think it's positive if you are going to tell people that because you smoked marijuana or because you maybe took too much ibuprofen without a prescription that you cannot buy groceries for your family. That's the problem I have. This senator should obviously be addressing the drug, you know, epidemic that we are seeing across the country but I don't think that continuously to monitor people who have overcome addiction or who have paid their debt to society for, you know, their drug convictions should continue to be monitored in this way. At some point it turns into harassment," Richie said.

"Mark, in particular, do you believe that most people on the program want off?"

"Well, I don't know if they want off. But I can tell you something about this bill. The reasonable suspicion language. one, is subjective. And it's really too broad. You shouldn't have to look back five years on somebody's criminal history when, in fact, their probation for their prior offense is terminated. There shouldn't be a look back at all -- I think there are some problems with the bill. I know that people find that there is a stigma in testing. but the state has an obligation and a right to manage a program, an entitlement program in its state.

"You know, Brian, I want to mention one thing, I know one thing that people say about drug testing people as well. if you go to work you get drug tested if you have a job you are drug tested," Richie said.

"Well, I worked on the Hill for Congress, guess what, as a press secretary for the House, we were not drug tested. so, not every single job is drug testing people.

"Certainly it is a standard in the country. We shouldn't hold them to any lesser standard," Little retorted.

Drug testing the cast and guests of Fox & Friends? Why not set an example, Brian?

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.