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Chart pulled from Fox News in which Fox, showing people on welfare vs. people with full time jobs, has started the y axis at 100 million so that 108.6 million looks several times larger than 101.7 million.

One chart. Three forms of dishonesty. It must be Fox News.

First off, this chart, which claims to compare the number of people on government assistance with the number of people with full-time jobs, starts somewhere around the 100 million mark. The numbers given are 108.6 million and 101.7 million, but the scale of the graph means that the purported number of people on welfare looks several times as large as the number of people with full-time jobs. Anyone glancing at the screen quickly and not thinking about how far apart those numbers actually are will be seriously misled.

Second, Media Matters points out:

Fox's 108.6 million figure for the number of "people on welfare" comes from a Census Bureau's account (Table 2) of participation in means-tested programs, which include "anyone residing in a household in which one or more people received benefits" in the fourth quarter of 2011, thus including individuals who did not themselves receive government benefits. On the other hand, the "people with a full time job" figure Fox used included only individuals who worked, not individuals residing in a household where at least one person works.
A side point that's obvious if you understand the comparison Fox is making here is that many in the 108.6 million receiving government assistance are children, disabled people, or senior citizens—groups that most of us, though perhaps not Fox, don't really expect to be working full time.

Finally, it's not like people working full time and people receiving government assistance are mutually exclusive groups. In fact, a lot of people work full time and also get food stamps or other nutrition assistance, rental assistance, or other forms of aid, thanks to low-wage employers like fast food chains and Walmart.

When you're Fox News and your only interest is in stigmatizing poor people and gutting the safety net, though, little distinctions like these don't matter.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Oct 28, 2013 at 09:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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