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FOX Friends gets it wrong on pork barrel spending

Reported by Chrish - April 3, 2008 -

Brian Kilmeade and Alisyn Camerota had a few comments on newly-released reports of 2008 earmarks, or "pork barrel spending," this morning on FOX and Friends First 4/3/08. Of course the fact that Congress is now under Democratic leadership was mentioned multiple times, leading viewers to revisit the meme of big-spending Democrats. But the facts don't support that talking point.

The report, put out annually by Citizens Against Government Waste, names Alaska and Hawaii as the two biggest porkers. As far as I can tell, numbers are not adjusted to reflect cost of living differences; everything is more expensive in those non-contiguous states.

Camerota introduced the segment saying "If you thought that with the Democrats in charge of Congress that (pork barrel spending) would go down, because many of the Democrats campaigned and at least railed against all of the big pork projects, well..." She continued and said the pork-barrel spending under the Democrats this year has "gone up higher than ever before to $17.2 billion spent on pork projects." Kilmeade claimed to have done the math and said "it's up 30%," but from what, he didn't say. He named the top five Congressional spenders, getting #1 Thad Cochran (R-MS) wrong (Kilmeade said Missouri); neither of them noted that the top 3 were Republicans and #4, Mary Landrieu, is still trying to put New Orleans back together after Katrina.

Addressing Camerota's blatant falsehood: the CAGW website lists totals for all years since they began tracking in 1991. The numbers ballooned in the mid-nineties, into double digit billions, and then exploded from 2000 through 2006. When the Democrats took over again in 2006, pork was cut by more than half, back to mid-nineties levels; the increase of 30% Kilmeade read about still brings it in under 2000 levels. "Higher than ever before"? Not hardly. But F&FF viewers will probably just add that inaccurate "drip" to the flood of anti-Democratic smears.

The two reported earmarks requested by the presidential candidates: Clinton was #13 with $296m; Obama was #28 with $97m, and McCain requested $0. The two segued into a little praise-fest for McCain, who keeps getting re-elected "without screwing us;" he must be doing something right.

Kilmeade's choice for worst offender was CAGW's "Porker of the Month," James Clyburn (D-natch-SC) whose project is to bring golf to poor kids. When the project was denied by Congress, Clyburn attached it to the Defense Spending Bill, of which we've heard nothing on F&FF. Heads might roll if viewers were informed that

"A congressional report released Tuesday said the U.S. Defense Department's spending on weapon systems has surged to a record high of $1.6 trillion in 2007 from $790 billion in 2000"
and that the Bush administration wastes trillions on worthless weapons.

Camerota's favorite was the $188,000 for the Lobster Institute of Maine; we already know all we need to know, they taste good with butter. (The scientific community thinks there's more to it.)

All in all, just another disinformational smear of Democrats.