Bill O’Reilly said on his Fox News show Monday night that food stamps allow “parasites” to "take as much as they can with no remorse."
O’Reilly has long been critical of President Barack Obama’s “entitlement” programs. A Fox News program called “The Great Food Stamp Binge” follows a surfer in La Jolla, San Diego, named Jason Greenslate who utilizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP). O’Reilly spoke with reporter John Roberts about Greenslate, who he said is “eating on the taxpayers dime.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 99 percent of those who participate in SNAP are not defrauding the system. O’Reilly, however, attributes the uprising in food stamp subsidies to “scandal.”
“The food stamp scandal, right now, 15 percent of the entire American population receiving food subsidies," O'Reilly said. "In the year 2000, just 6 percent were getting those, and some of those people are conning the system.”
He said Obama changed the regulations for receiving food stamps and allowed “anybody to get them if they know how to game the system.”
“I don’t have a paycheck coming in, so I qualify” Greenslate told Roberts on the one-house special.
When asked what the headline for the story is, Roberts said, “if you have a federal program that has grown to be this huge, that has grown so rapidly that it costs $3 billion a year just to administer, just to hand out food stamps, a guy like Jason in La Jolla is almost inevitable.”
He said Greenslate is not “gaming the system” and is receiving food stamps legally. O’Reilly suggested, however, that he is receiving a paycheck and is not claiming it on his taxes.
“I take one look at this guy and he’s making money off the books,” O’Reilly told Roberts. “Now I’m not going to make any accusation on national television about how he’s making money, but this guy’s not just surviving on food stamps. Alright? He’s making money. The rat life entails a lot of different things. But this guy is a parasite. And my contention is that the Obama administration is encouraging parasites to come out and, you know, take as much as they can with no remorse. And this is how a country declines. This is how we become a weak nation,” he said.
Media Matters called the “The Great Food Stamp Binge” special a wild misrepresentation of SNAP.
Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, who was featured in the report said “the Fox show is a tour de force of half-truths, distortions and outright lies. In fact, were it not for the half-truths, the report would have no truths at all.”