ABC, CBS and NBC Ignore Shocking Jump in Government Dependents

According to the Heritage Foundation Barack Obama’s policies, in just two years, have resulted in the number of Americans who rely on a federal program spiking by 23 percent to 67 million. Yet there was no mention of this grim figure on the Big Three network (ABC, CBS and NBC) evening or morning news programs. Since the study was released on Wednesday only Fox News and CNN have mentioned the increase in government dependents was the biggest two year jump since Jimmy Carter was president.  

A Nexis search shows the FNC’s Hannity and O’Reilly Factor, in an interview with the study’s author, reported the results on their February 8 shows. There was also a mention (only to dismiss the figure) by Bob Beckel on FNC’s The Five. Even the typically liberal Jack Cafferty gave the study some credence when he reported results on the February 8 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room.

The following excerpts are from the February 8 editions of CNN’s The Situation Room and FNC’s O’Reilly Factor:

The Situation Room
February 8, 2012

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There’s another new study from the conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, that shows the public's dependence on the federal government shot up 23 percent in just two years under President Obama. This comes at a time when fewer Americans, less than half of us, pay income taxes.

Some say the rise independence under President Obama is due to the recession and high unemployment, and no doubt to a degree it is, but others, say that extending unemployment benefits indefinitely actually keeps unemployment rates higher, because it creates an incentive not to work....Here’s the question, what does it mean when half of Americans live in a household that gets government assistance? Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the Situation’s Room Facebook page -- Wolf.

The O’Reilly Factor
February 8, 2012

BILL O’REILLY: “Unresolved Problem Segment” tonight, more than one in five Americans, the highest number in the nation’s history are now receiving entitlements from the federal government, stuff like food stamps, housing, health care, costing the taxpayers, you and me, about $2.5 trillion every year.

In fact, 70 percent of the entire federal budget is now going toward individual assistant programs. That again, at their highest level ever. Now the danger of this is that it can create a permanent entitlement class, people who get by on the government dole and are content to do that rather than improving themselves.

Of course, that’s not everyone. But free stuff is free stuff. It can be addictive.

Joining us now from Washington, Bill Beach from the Heritage Foundation has studied the growing dependence on the federal government. What is the headline of your studies, Mr. Beach?

BILL BEACH, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I think we all ought to be worried about it because the main driver of our big debt crisis right now, which is driving a lot of our economic problems are the programs that you just -- just reviewed. If you look at the drivers of the annual deficit, it's in health care, it's in all these other programs of income support and so forth.

And as this population grows, Mr. O’Reilly, that deficit will grow with it. Suppose one day we have to pull it all back and somebody says “Look you’ve got to cut your debt or you've got to cut your annual deficit. Then are we looking at political push back in addition to fiscal problems with that? I think we are and I --

O’REILLY: Well you are look at -- you’re looking at people in Greece going into the streets of Athens screaming and yelling.

Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.