Nina Totenberg Says ‘Facts Don’t Matter’ to Gingrich After She Claims More People Were on Food Stamps Under Bush

In a delicious example of irony, NPR’s Nina Totenberg on Friday falsely claimed that there were more people on food stamps under George W. Bush than are using the food assistance program today.

This marvelously came seconds before she told the panel of PBS’s Inside Washington that “facts don’t matter” to Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (video follows with transcript and commentary):

NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: You know, Newt knows how to play this game. And as Charles said, he is in his own backyard, right next to Georgia, and he is incredibly glib. It doesn’t matter that, you know, that there were more people on food stamps under George W. Bush. It doesn’t matter that his suggestion is that minorities are the ones who get food stamps, that far more white people get food stamps. It doesn’t matter that working people get food stamps in order to feed their families. Facts don’t matter to him and it makes for great, it makes for great talk.

Facts don’t matter to him?

Well let's start with the fact that far more people are on food stamps today than when George W. Bush left the White House. Heck, even the perilously liberal Huffington Post got this one right with its November 3 report:

USDA data released this week shows that the number of Americans receiving food aid from the Supplemental Nutrional Assistance Program (SNAP) hit another all-time high in August. 45.8 million people -- almost 15% of the country -- were enrolled in the program, which replaced Food Stamps in 2008. This is only a slight increase from July, when 45.3 million Americans were receiving SNAP help -- but a massive 31% jump since June 2009, when the National Bureau of Economic Research declared the most recent recession over.

Notice the phrase "all-time high?"

Totenberg obviously didn't, nor did she see the handy chart the Post included in its piece:

Look like more people were on food stamps - now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - than under Bush?

In fact, the most recent data from the USDA show 46.2 million on SNAP as of October 2011. This compares to 32 million in January 2009, a 44 percent increase since Obama was inaugurated.

The website offers an even longer view of this issue:

And Totenberg thinks "facts don't matter" to Gingrich.

But that wasn't her only error. According to the USDA, 35 percent of SNAP recipients are white. That means that 65 percent are minorities or are of unknown race or ethnicity.

So much for her claim, "It doesn’t matter that his suggestion is that minorities are the ones who get food stamps, that far more white people get food stamps."

Despite the fact that Gingrich is suggesting nothing of the sort, it seems in Totenberg's world, 35 is greater than 65.

And this woman is given a daily platform on a taxpayer supported radio network to spout such nonsense.

Just another example of how poorly the government spends your money.

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