Media Matters Attacks NPR for Exposing Entitlement Abuse


Media Matters Attacks NPR for Exposing Entitlement Abuse
by Wynton Hall


Media Matters is scrambling to discredit a much-discussed report on America’s disability program by journalist Chana Joffe-Walt that was featured on Chicago’s Public Radio This American Life and National Public Radio’s (NPR) All Things Considered.

Media Matters researcher Hannah Groch-Begley attacked NPR by breathlessly warning that a “misleading NPR report has become fodder for a right-wing media campaign to scapegoat federal disability benefits, despite the fact that the rise in disability claims can be attributed to the economic recession and demographic shifts.”

Joffe-Walt’s six-month investigation into America’s disability program found a record-high 14 million Americans receiving disability checks in a system rife with fraud and dependency-inducing abuse that costs taxpayers $260 billion a year—more than food stamps and welfare combined.

I completely favor blue-on-blue wrangling like this! So, MMfA’s standard for what should be reported is perceived partisan advantage rather that what is true? Well, here’s another partisanly unpleasant truth: the $260B wasted by fraud in just this one program (or set of programs) is triple the paltry $85B the Eeeee-vile Sequester supposedly saved!


How can disability claims be attributed to anything other than - ah - um - disability? How is disability caused by “recession and demographic shifts”?


Susanna: I have become personally aware of many “causes” of disability in my experience as a teacher. Adults who have been diagnosed with attention-deficit syndrome, hyperactivity, nerves, insomnia, pimples, allergies, depression, and a whole host of emotional and mental problems seems to qualify anyone getting disability. My grandmother a few years before she died (she was 89 when she died back in 1988), tried to get food stamps. She was on a very fixed income only receiving my grandfather’s retirement pension and a small amount from social security, but she was denied. Why? Because she owned her own home. They expected her to sell her house in order to eat. My father and his brother then provided the extra money each month so that she could purchase food for herself. Outrageous.


I think thats the PC way of saying that latinos are inferior stock and need disability more than other races. Its amazing how blatant and disguised the left’s racism is all at once


That must vary; every time I’ve been on food stamps, it’s been when I owned my own home. And the last time, it was even paid off. I guess some states figure that you have to live somewhere . . . or it might be politics by the local public aid office.


Don’t know, but I remember my father and uncle expressing their outrage over this.


Hey, I listened to this piece!

Basically, there’s a town where 25% of people are on disability. Many of them have back pain or something minor, but the doctor in town often puts them on disability because they don’t have any education, and therefore, in his opinion, “unfit to work.” That’s messed up already, right, abusing the system? They ask a woman on disability why she doesn’t just get a job where she can sit down, and she honestly can’t think of a job like that, because this is a poor town with poorly educated people. So basically, the changing economy is leaving them behind, and disability pay has become the place they go to when they can’t get a job. Several other people who have lost jobs in the recession from outsourcing or plants shutting down have similar stories, giving up going back to school and possibly getting a $15,000 job for the last few years of your life for $12,000 in disability pay.

You should listen to it, I really liked it, and it introduces the notion that the economy is much worse than the unemployment numbers show, because disabled people are not shown on any other worker-related figures. Listen to it:

This American Life — Trends with Benefits


That is AWFUL!!! We are breeding generations of lazy, stupid, and useless citizens. I knew that people with disabilities are also given medicaid. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 30 years or less, this country will be destroyed by all of this. And, we’re doing it to ourselves. I’m glad I’ll be dead by then.


The problem is the same across the developed world, in an economy dominated by the service sector, people from traditional industrial areas/backgrounds are losing out with the transition to a knowledge economy. Creating a class of people who haven’t/can’t adapt to the way the modern economy works, particularly in Eastern Europe due to change from a command economy to mostly highly liberalized economies. The issue is that this issue is nearly impossible to solve, as entire regions become stagnant, investing in them becomes unattractive and government created public sector work just treats the symptoms of their economic symptoms rather than curing it.


Good points, but I think as Americans, especially given the situation our country is in at present, we need to focus on getting our nation back on its feet morally and financially. Here in the U.S., there are hundreds of thousands of schools and/or opportunities for people to upgrade their skills. That’s how I got into computer operations and programming. I managed to pass a typing and grammar test when working as a credit reporter (which was done manually by searching hundreds of file drawers). I was the only one in a department of over 100 people who managed to pass the typing test. The others were offered typing lessons, but they decided they didn’t want to invest the time or effort, so they lost their jobs. I went on to become a computer operator and eventually a programmer through on-the-job training. That was back in the late 60’s, so I know advancement opportunities and skills classes are even more abundant now. There is a program called “Job Corps” for adults between the ages of 16 and 22. It is FREE and it even provides living quarters and other help. I tried to get one of my students who had dropped out of school to attend. She decided she’d rather hustle on the streets. She found herself pregnant and on welfare within 2 years of dropping out. The problem is that people don’t want to work for anything. They want to be handed something for nothing. Even when they are handed something for nothing, it is never enough.


That sounds like a similar state to Italy, the north is part of the European economic core, with some of the highest standards of living in the world and then we have southern Italy, which is just corrupt, backwards, lazy and crime ridden with mafia and the black economy. I find it odd that since neo-liberal reforms have come in, people have become more lazy, which I believe relates to me original point of the transforming economy leaving people behind and naturally they feel disenfranchised. I like what the welfare state to a degree, I wouldn’t ever seek to expand it, but it helps me help myself, the sad problem is that people both on the top and bottom of society abuse the systems of government which exist, for better or worse. I’m currently on a semester abroad studying in Sweden, whilst there is a huge welfare state here which seems insane to me, people here are very hard working, honest and productive. I’d imagine the lack of want to work comes from a mixture of upbringing, culture and socio-economic background, rather than how involved the government is in your life.


Very interesting! I wouldn’t want to live or work in Sweden–isn’t that one of the countries which legalized drugs? I read a report a few years back that it was one of those nordic countries that had legalized drugs (even heroin and other hard drugs) and the country was going to hell in a handbasket. When you talk about southern Italy, are you referring to the mainland or Sicily? Interesting…where are you from in Italy?


Sweden has a zero tolerance drug policy, the country isn’t a bad place to live at all I don’t think. The economy has problems due to the slowing down of the Eurozone, but it’s still growing but there aren’t any major problems that I can think of. People here are really respectful, but at the same time they’re very cold, like their climate. I’m referring to them grouped together, which is ignorant on my behalf. I’m from the Northeast, Veneto to be more specific.


Have you ever heard of a group of boys called “Il Volo”? I love them! They remind me of the Three Tenors before Pavarotti died.


[quote=“Susanna, post:2, topic:38923”]
How can disability claims be attributed to anything other than - ah - um - disability? How is disability caused by “recession and demographic shifts”?
[/quote]Lets play devil’s advocate for a moment. Yes recession can cause people to seek disability because the fact is because of economic conditions employers will get rid of those who have disabilities. Those unfortunate to lose their job for legitimate reasons also find that employers do discriminate against those with disabilities when they try to find work. I have experienced this myself.