In another example of “fake news,” several left-wing journalists have spread unconfirmed speculation from a government agency to attack Breitbart — and, unsurprisingly, they were 100% wrong.
A USDA spokesperson told Washington Post writer Erik Wemple (pictured) that a Breitbart News article may have been the basis for a now-retracted Fox News story about food stamp fraud.
“We reported that back in 2016, $70 million were wasted on food stamp fraud. That was actually incorrect,” Fox and Friends co-host Abby Huntsman said Friday, correcting a report she made on Tuesday.
Huntsman’s retraction came at the behest of the USDA, according to Wemple.
“We are not quite sure where this came from,” a USDA spokesperson reportedly told Wemple, adding “We saw that there was a story on Breitbart. We have not issued a report on this recently. There is no new rate that we’ve published. So we’re not quite sure why they’re so interested in stirring this up.”
The USDA spokesperson was correct; Breitbart News did recently publish a piece about food stamps titled: “Under Obama, 10.7 Million More Use Food Stamps—A 32 Percent Jump.”
However, nowhere in that article does the word “fraud” appear — not once. Wemple did not bother to mention that fact.
Within hours of Wemple’s report, several journalists with Verified Twitter accounts used the quote from USDA to call Breitbart the “source” of Fox’s false report.
Fox News falsely reported on a non-existent gov study, and you'll be SHOCKED by who the source was pic.twitter.com/RaAITwHYa1
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) December 30, 2016
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) December 30, 2016
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) December 30, 2016
These outraged individuals did not produce a link to any recent Breitbart article claiming record food stamp fraud — before accusing the site of having “zero credibility” and trafficking in “sham journalism.”
whoa this is a very serious charge, can u specify the link where that happened so we can fix https://t.co/hh185351KX
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 30, 2016
So far, only Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum appears to have investigated the claim, concluding that “the recent Breitbart piece didn’t even mention fraud. I checked.”