Someone on Twitter asked me last night if I’d heard about what was happening in Minnesota with the poor. I didn’t, so they sent me a link to Crooks & Liars that talked about a law proposed there that would make it illegal for poor people to carry more than $20 cash!
(Note : It’s a total lie, but play along with my fake outrage for now.)
Look!!! Here’s some headlines. Wow!!!
Minnesota GOP wants it to be illegal to carry cash if you're poor
Minn. to Make it a Crime for Poor to Have More Than $20
And here’s what the first couple of paragraphs of the Crooks and Liars piece says...
First Susie Madrak writes...
They're not just crazy, they're evil -- and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn't last a week:
And then quotes an article that says...
St. Paul, MN – Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. This represents a change from their initial proposal, which banned them from having any money at all.
Wow!!! It would be a crime for people
on public assistance to have more than $20 in cash in their pockets any given month! A crime!
And the article continues and there’s a ton of outraged comments, too – starting with Karoli,
who I’ll talk about in a minute.
So that’s the claim. I sort of skimmed it and thought to myself “Sounds like a serious charge. “ Up until quite recently, I would have left it at that because Crooks and Liars was one of my go-to sites for information.
Now I think they might want to shorten their name to the more concise and appropriate Liars
After a few minutes, I did some research. The name of the law in question is House File 171, so I did a Google search on that. I found the story was making quite a stir in the left wing blogosphere – you can see that from the headlines I quoted above.
You can do a Google Blog search yourself for House File 171 – here are screengrabs of what I found.
That’s a lot of left wing blogs from Marxist ones to 'moderate left ones. One interesting thing is that they repeat the same story – like, literally cut and pasted. That’s what I would call ‘lockstep liberalism’ but it’s gone beyond that to mindless copycat liberalism.
Did anyone question the story at all or even read the law? Four pages, at the bottom – I found someone. A right winger who quotes the Bible and has a Hillary Clinton ‘Joker’ picture on his blog. The sort of fellow that liberals would call a right wing nutjob, if they were being kind.
Guess what? That’s the guy who had the story right. Hundreds of liberals get crazy about this story, with smugly violent comments about how stupid and evil the Republicans are...and a lone right winger absolutely nails the story. I present to you, The Catawissa Gazetteer.
, Tom Usher.
He quotes the law itself, including this relevant portion...
During the initial 30 calendar days of eligibility, a recipient may have cash benefits issued on an EBT card without the recipient's name printed on the card. This card may be the same card on which food support is issued and does not need to meet the requirements of this section.(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), EBT cardholders may opt to have up to $20 per month accessible via automatic teller machine or receive up to $20 cash back from vendor.
Then he gives his opinion. Tom’s reading of the law is the same as mine...
...does it appear to you in any way that the Republicans are trying to limit the amount of cash anyone is allowed to carry? No. They are merely limiting the amount of cash that can be withdrawn from the state issued debit card.
Yep. That’s exactly what the law says. It doesn’t say (as Crooks and Liars reported) that it’s “a crime for people on public assistance to have more than $20 in cash in their pockets any given month. “
Tom closes with a statement I couldn’t have said better myself...
The internet is a wonderful way to stay on top of the issues of the day but all people, regardless of political persuasion, need to check their facts before running with a story. It's way to easy to become party to the spreading of lies meant to harm one group or another.
The C&L story and all the left wing blog posts had it totally wrong. They had either not done basic research or they just didn’t care. Oh, man. Depressing.
A quick note about the law – I don’t know if this is a good law. Do some cash restrictions make sense? I think so but $20 seems a bit low given laundry or bus fare or whatever. There’s room for reasoned debate – except that’s not what the left wing blogs I read are doing. It’s all insults and lies and hype. So, while I am unsure about the law, I am 100% sure about the lie.
So I tweeted this info and got into a nice conversation or two about it. I wondered if Crooks & Liars would post a retraction or (more importantly) if their fans would ask for one, since the story was 1) blatantly misleading and 2) widely repeated. Nope.
In fact, the opposite. Karoli wrote a fast blog post about this called (ironically?) Because reading comprehension seems to be at a premium.
I’ve know Karoli for a few years on Twitter. She’s nice if you agree with her.
Let’s break down how someone who is pretty widely respected in the left wing blogosphere will just blatantly fabricate something. I mean, lie in an easily provable fashion that should be embarrassing to an adult.
Karoli’s post is a lesson in total denial and misdirection. She’s clearly counting on her readers not to check her work, link a link or call her on her bullshit. Here’s the opening to her piece...
See this title? War On The Poor: Minnesota Republicans Want To Bust Poor People Who Carry Cash | Crooks and Liars
Hey, wait! Karoli said ‘Here’s the piece of the article that Susie quoted"’....but she left out something. Something kind of important...
That title was written by Susie Madrak in a post at C&L yesterday. And here’s what Susie said:
They’re not just crazy, they’re evil — and un-Christian, should they have the audacity to claim otherwise. If only we could force them to live like this, they wouldn’t last a week:
Here’s the piece of the article Susie quoted:
“House File 171 would make it so that families on MFIP – and disabled single adults on General Assistance and Minnesota Supplemental Aid – could not have their cash grants in cash or put into a checking account. Rather, they could only use a state-issued debit card at special terminals in certain businesses that are set up to accept the card.”
Here’s a screen grab I did of Susie’s article on C&L, just in case anything suddenly changes. Look at the paragraph I highlight in the screen grab and its position, right at the top of the story.
So, when Karoli says ‘Here’s the piece” – she’s leaving out that piece. That’s the part that says...
Minnesota Republicans are pushing legislation that would make it a crime for people on public assistance to have more $20 in cash in their pockets any given month.
And as I pointed out, it’s just simply not true. It’s a lie that was repeated and now Karoli triples down on it by intentionally leaving it out of her article. It’s nowhere to be found. Huh!
Karoli then says...
Nowhere in that paragraph quoted or Susie’s opener does she say anything about being arrested. She does talk about being busted, and rightly so. However, some have interpreted her post and use of the word “busted” in particular as “arrested”. (Emphasis added.)
Karoli is correct – because she didn’t quote the paragraph that’s at issue and then she creates a totally made up semantic debate about the word ‘busted’ --- an irrelevant point to try and misdirect what the debate is about. And even THAT is load of BS, because – yes, some interpret the word ‘bust’ as ‘arrested’ when the second ‘paragraph’ in your ‘article’ talks about it being a ‘crime’ for people to have more than ‘$20’ in their ‘pockets’ any given ‘month’.
My eyesight is horrible but I can read through that that just fine, thanks.
Over 24 hours after I posted this story at LeeStranahan.com and only Blogger BJ Keefe issues a correction.
And people are still getting it wrong
In my original post
about the “Republicans trying to make it illegal for poor people to carry more than $20"’ lie that is snaking it’s way through the liberal blogosphere, I noted that dozens of blog had fallen for it and repeated the lie. I’ve only heard of one retracting – and it’s not Crooks And Liars. In fact, if you wasn’t some fun check the comments on C&L
and you’ll see that half way down the second page someone actually tries to explain to the C&L mob that they are wrong...
The most inflammatory part -- that it would illegal for Minnesota residents on public assistance to have more than $20.00 in their pockets -- is FALSE! You can read the proposed legislation at: House File 171
There are a lot of things to detest about the proposed legistlation, but it's unhelpful to get upset about an exaggerated/untrue claim. It makes us look hysterical and dumb. Death panels, anyone?
And almost everyone completely ignores this and keeps ranting about Republicans. And if you want real
fun, find the exchange between WIDTAP and Savannah43. Windap patiently tries to explain how debit cards work engage in rational conversation and Savannah43 ends up responding with “will waste no more time on you. Bye.”
I feel your pain, WIDTAP.
So, I just checked Twitter and yep, there are plenty of people still passing it around – including a State Senator from Tennessee. I ReTweeted these on my Twitter feed, too.
Second from the bottom – it’s TNRepParkinson
– a real live elected official repeating a total fabrication. Thank goodness he only has 93 followers.