The Louisiana media still adores Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards (D-Amite). So it was only natural that when Edwards said he would be dropping the food stamp requirement which would mandate able-bodied recipients to work part-time for a living, the media would portray him as a saint of the poor.
Per Journalism 101, the Louisiana media knows that half the time, readers only read the headlines of articles or perhaps the opening sentence of an article. Therefore, a slew of Louisiana media outlets made sure they got their narrative across that Edwards is a saint coming to save the state.
Take for instance, the Times Picayune, the most obvious offender of being biased with the food stamp/Edwards story.
The Times Picayune published a piece early in the month about how Edwards was looking into “restoring food stamp benefits benefits” as they wrote in their headline. And this was the opener for the article:
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has decided not to re-apply for a waiver that allows out-of-work residents to apply for food stamp benefits after they’ve been on the program for three months.
But because Louisiana’s unemployment rate is above the national average, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards could decide to apply for the waiver once he takes office Jan. 11. Doing so could restore food stamp benefits, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to as many as 64,000 Louisianians who have been unable to find work.
Here’s the takeaway narrative: ‘John Bel Edwards is trying to feed the hungry and nurse the sick, while the evil Gov. Bobby Jindal is trying to leave people out in the cold.’
Then, when Edwards announced that he would remove the work requirement for some food stamp recipients, the Times Picayune rejoiced with this headline: “John Bel Edwards wants to restore Louisiana food stamp benefits.”
The headline alone, accompanied with a picture of a man holding a sign that reads “Food is a human right!” makes Edwards seem like a kind of savior to the poor.
And the opener for the article was even more biased:
Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards said Monday (Dec. 21) that he’s asking the federal government and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services not to interrupt food stamp benefits to about 31,000 residents. As of Jan. 1, those residents faced the possibility of losing the assistance because Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration decided not to apply for a waiver that would have allowed the federal benefit to continue in Louisiana.
Not one single mention about the fact that the requirement Jindal was enacting would simply make able-bodied 18-49 year old welfare recipients work for a living.
Instead, the Times Picayune opted for the ‘interruption in food stamp benefits’ narrative, failing to mention that the work requirement does not interrupt food stamps for recipients, unless those recipients refuse to get a job.
The New Orleans Gambit followed the same narrative as the Times Picayune, not mentioning the work requirement in their headline or their opening sentence:
On Dec. 21, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards asked the state’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as the federal government, to prevent the interruption of Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) benefits that are set to expire at the beginning of the year, after Gov. Bobby Jindal denied a federal waiver extending those benefits in October.
And WBRZ followed suit as well. Do these guys get together and decide what the narrative for the story will be?
‘Okay guys, the narrative for Edwards not making people work for their food stamps will be that Jindal is trying to screw over the poor and Edwards wants to stop the interruption of welfare benefits. Ready. Set. Break!’
WBRZ published what looked like a fair article about the food stamps/Edwards story on Dec. 21. The headline included the work requirement Edwards would be dropping and the opening sentence did the same.
Then, the following day, WBRZ published a piece about the same food stamp work requirements, claiming that Jindal did not provide statistics which showed that a work requirement for food stamp beneficiaries helped them get work.
The headline read “Jindal sells his food stamp plan, but can’t support it with data,” and the opener reported that Jindal “claimed mandatory work requirements spurred poor people into the job market but he didn’t offer data to support his argument.”
Did WBRZ ask Edwards if he had proof or statistics that dumping the food stamp work requirement actually helped recipients find work in the future? There were no statistics cited by the Edwards-transition team with their announcement, but WBRZ didn’t demand proof from them.
Though, a media double standard for Democrats and Republicans isn’t all that shocking these days.