As yours truly noted on April 12, actress Gwyneth Paltrow made a bit of a splash earlier this month when she announced that she would add her name to the list of ignorant politicians, advocates and celebrities taking on the deceptively designed "Food Stamp Challenge."

The idea is to "try to survive" eating for a week on the average benefit a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient receives. The objective is to prove that it really can't be done, thereby "proving" that food stamp benefits are too low. Of course, that's what Paltrow claims occurred, with MSNBC.com hyping how she "succeeded by failing." As was the case with an Indiana journalist several months ago, based on the spending figure Paltrow herself disclosed, she was not failing at all. Based on how the program really works, she would have succeeded had she stuck with it.



On Saturday, MSNBC’s Alex Witt hosted Washington Post reporter Elahe Izadi to blast a new Kansas law that would limit what items welfare recipients could purchase using their taxpayer benefits. Izadi asserted many call the law “mean spirited” and then touted how “some advocates feel like lawmakers are basically saying the poor can't be trusted to manage their own money."



On Saturday, CNN hyped actress and self-appointed "lifestyle guru" Gwyneth Paltrow's participation in the "Food Stamp Challenge." This is the fundamentally dishonest campaign which has been working for at least eight years to convince Americans that benefits provided under the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are inadequate.

As usual, Paltrow has taken up the challenge to get by for a week on a drastically understated amount which does not reflect the program's real provisions. As has almost always been the case with journalists covering politicians, celebrities and others who have taken up the "challenge," CNN's Jareen Imam didn't question the correctness of the weekly amount involved:



The Fiscal Times is a generally strong and informative online publication. That said, it has occasionally exhibits symptoms of what could be seen as either serious leftist bias, quite disappointing ignorance, or both.

One such example arrived in my email box early this morning. It contained the following headline and opening tease for a story about the food stamp program:



As President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown continue to extol the wonders of the alleged economic recovery of nation and the Golden State, respectively, stories of significant growth in homelessness continue to rain on their parades. The latest example comes on the heels of reports on Seattle's burgeoning problem and the city's apparent willingness to allow officially sanctioned outdoor encampments to serve as a "temporary" (yeah, sure) solution.

In a Saturday item in the Los Angeles Times about the expansion of "homeless camps" outside of what had been known as the LA's "skid row," Times reporter Gale Holland apparently learned not to repeat a revealing disclosure she made in a December Times report covering the situation in San Jose. Her coverage was remarkably vague, failing to provide specifics I believe she could have relayed with little effort, especially given that homelessness and poverty is her assigned beat. Excerpts follow the jump.



At the Lafayette, Indiana Courier Journal, reporter Mikel Livingston, that paper's social policiy reporter, set out to try to pass the Food Stamp Challenge.

The idea, in his words, was to "survive for one week on $29.69," because, he says, that is "what the average recipient of SNAP benefits, commonly called food stamps, receives each week in Indiana." By Day 6, he claimed, "faced with the possibility that eating all my remaining food on the final day would net me just 619 calories, I realized I had failed." What he really proved is that he was well on his way to succeeding with room to spare.



Far be it from me to talk a leftist columnist out of an ignorant, self-satisfied position which might, if anything, cause his fellow travelers to hit the accelerator a little less aggressively in future political campaigns.

At the Atlantic on Monday afternoon, Richard Reeves, policy director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, claimed that the left shouldn't be so glum after Tuesday's election results, because "progressive policies are working." His very first graph makes a mockery of his claim:



On Thursday, President Barack Obama did something Republicans have inexplicably been reluctant to do. He nationalized the impending midterm elections by telling a friendly audience at Northwestern University that "I am not on the ballot this fall ... But make no mistake: These policies (of my administration) are on the ballot -- every single one of them."

That evening on Fox News's Special Report hosted by Bret Baier, in video seen after the jump (HT Real Clear Politics), George Will was ready with some facts and a deadly redistributionist riposte on how Obama's policies have worked out in the real world, including in the President's home state, during the past six years:



Following President Obama’s speech on the economy on Thursday, the PBS NewsHour offered a 48-second news brief on the subject, in which co-anchor Gwen Ifill offered no opposing viewpoint to the President’s claim in his speech that “by every measure, the country is better off than when he took office.”

The show then played a soundbite of the President, in which he lamented that “millions of Americans don't yet feel enough of the benefits of a growing economy where it matters most, and that’s in their own lives and these truths aren't incompatible. Our broader economy, in the aggregate, has come a long way, but the gains of recovery are not yet broadly shared.”



The GOP wildly exaggerates problems like voter fraud because its solutions would move the country to the right.



In today’s Biased Headlines department, see today’s Reid Wilson report on the Washington Post website from Wednesday: “Nevada is about to pass the biggest corporate tax giveaway in its history.”

But has the Post recently described welfare programs or food stamps as a "giveaway"? It doesn't look like it.



The press is good at putting the most positive spin possible on the monthly job-market news. But at the same time, many of its members still claim that food stamp enrollment remains as high as it is because of the lingering effects of the (Bush did it) recession.

On Friday, following the release of August's employment numbers, Obama administration Labor Secretary Tom Perez celebrated how "businesses have added more than 10 million jobs over the last four and a half years," and have done so for "54 consecutive months of private-sector job growth, the longest streak on record." All true, though average job growth during that time has resembled an underperforming baseball player who somehow manages to go 1-for-5 or barely better every day. Meanwhile, food stamp enrollment has increased by 6.8 million.