Dear Daily Caller: Are You All Idiots for Your Irresponsible Report on Food Stamps?

Jul 14, 2012
7:51 PM

As a follow up to a piece by The Daily Caller that suggested that the USDA (and hence, the Obama Administration) is marketing food stamps to "non-citizens" because the government has created a series of Spanish-language "soap operas," we received a letter from veteran journalist Isaac Cubillos, who wrote to The Daily Caller. Cubillos has granted us permission to publish his letter. Below is what Cubillos sent to Caroline May, the reporter who covered this "shocking" revelation. FYI: the USDA did take the ads down on Friday and confirmed that such ads were done in 2008, which was a fact that The Daily Caller's original story did not report, because hey, you gotta make sure you blame Obama for this one.

Ms. May,


I've been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. I started out as a street reporter, moved to become an investigative reporter, covered the military, and exposed government corruption at state and local levels. I've been an editor at several newspapers the most recent with the E.W. Scripps Newspapers. I've also created award-winning online daily news websites. I've received several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and other news associations. I've even done radio and TV covering current affairs on public broadcast and conservative talk shows.
I watched with dismay the antics of your fellow Daily Caller last month on the White House lawn, and now, I've read your piece about the "novelas" dated July 12, 2012.


Are you all idiots at the Daily Caller?


Apparently your degree from Rice University failed you in critical thinking. And to think you tout yourself as an "analyst."


The "novelas" (which by the way, means novels as in fiction), are public service announcements created in 2008 under the George W. Bush administration. The English language translations specifically illustrate commenting about about healthy food choices.

Here some facts for you:


1. According to the Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2010 provided by the USDA's Office of Research and Analysis, 35% of those on SNAP are white non-Hispanic, while 10 percent are Hispanic.
2. Of those receiving SNAP benefits in such states as states such as Maine, New Hampshire and Wyoming, they are white: 96.1%, 88.4% and 73% respectively.
3. To qualify for SNAP you must be either an American citizen, or a legal immigrant who has lived in the country for at least 5 years.
4. The determination on whether an immigrant receives SNAP benefits is the Department of Homeland Security. (Reference: USDA Non-Citizen Requirements for Food Stamp Programs)
4. Of those receiving SNAP 18% of those Americans were under 18 years old, and 16% were over 60 years old. Those American households received an average of $144 in SNAP benefits per month. (That includes my mother who at the time of her death at the age of 85 was receiving $54 per month in SNAP benefits.)
5. The increase in SNAP began in 2001 after China was admitted into the World Trade Organization and lower tariffs sent jobs overseas (Reference USDA report)
6. Under President George W. Bush, the government began distributing SNAP debit cards in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina to those who were affected by the hurricane (1.7 million Americans were added to the SNAP rolls for Katrina alone). SNAP cards are now used for aid, when a governor declares a disaster.
7. Beginning in 2007, there has been a spike in American military service members qualifying and using SNAP. Military families outpaced the rest of the country in SNAP benefits by a considerable margin. According to the Pentagon, military personnel using SNAP increase by 25% from 2007 to 2008.
8. The reason there are more military families on SNAP is because reservists and National Guard units (who were expecting to do a weekend a month and one month on active duty) were being rotated into combat zone in Iraq and Afghanistan for 12 month at a time. They had to leave their jobs, thus reducing the household income to their families.
9. The USDA provide public service programming directed toward helping American service personnel.
10. While there was a 8.1% decline during the Clinton administration of the number being added to the SNAP program, there was a 100% increase in enrollment during the Bush administration. The 18.1% increase so far in the Obama administration is because of the affects of the Great Recession left over from the last 2 years of President Bush. (Reference: USDA Demographic Changes and USDA Disaster Responses).
Anytime you or one of your idiot colleagues, including Tucker Carlson or Jamie Weinstein, want to go head-to-head in a real fact-based debate on national television about this, you can contact me. 
It is your brand of "news" that gives the entire profession a black eye — and America and its future is the worse because of it.
As a note: I don't ever use words like "idiot" or coarse language in my correspondence, but in this case, the label is appropriate.
Isaac Cubillos
"Don't write about war without us."


So the USDA took the PSAs down, but a quick glance of comments from The Daily Caller readers confirms that The Daily Caller knew what it was doing all along: creating a myth that the US government was peddling food stamps to non-citizens and it was all Obama's fault. In the meantime, The Daily Caller will also declare "victory" for "exposing" this story and perpetuating the myth that "those damn illegals" are taking away our tax dollars. We side with Cubillos on this one. We will go with the facts, unlike others who will just believe whatever The Daily Caller publishes.