GOP Push To Cut School Lunch Funding Echoes Years Of Conservative Media Attacks

5/22/14
 
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from Media Matters,
5/21/14:

A new GOP push to dramatically cut federal spending for summer school lunch programs comes after years of right-wing media misinformation about and attacks against funding for school lunch programs.

On May 19, House Republicans proposed an agriculture budget that would cut the summer lunch program for low-income schoolchildren in urban areas and would require the Agriculture Department to “establish a waiver process for local school districts who have found it too costly to comply with tougher nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs,” according to Politico.

These proposed cuts echo years of right-wing media attacking the need for summer lunch programs, and school lunch programs in general. As far back as 2010, radio host Rush Limbaugh challenged the Summer Food Service programs, suggesting hungry children from low-income families can “dumpster dive” for food.

Fox News has also voiced opposition to the summer lunch program and attempted to gin up controversy about the program by baselessly speculating that it was a “come one, come all” invitation for taxpayer-funded meals that ineligible children would exploit. Last year, Fox’s Stuart Varney criticized summer lunch programs, ignoring the fact that such programs play an instrumental role in reducing child hunger.

The right-wing media’s campaign against school lunches extends beyond summer. Fox and others have previously asked if children should work for school meals and claimed free school meal programs hurt low-income kids, yet ignored their usual lunch stance when it involved students who usually pay for their lunch.

Food insecurity affects millions of children — 10 percent of households by USDA data– and reports hold that hunger is on the rise in many U.S. cities. Studies show that child hunger impairs their academic achievement, facts that right-wing media overlook in coverage that provides public cover for harsh GOP cuts.

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