Fox News’ Varney: Disabled People ‘Gaming the System’
September 16, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—Fox Business News’ Stuart Varney decided to take aim at the disabled today on Fox & Friends. The lead up to his segment, helpfully framed by Gretchen Carlson and Steve Doocy, was that of unemployed fraudsters “gaming the system.” Varney, said the unemployed are claiming fake medical conditions that aren’t provable, like “depression” or “muscular skeletal pain.” This premise fits in nicely with the ongoing Fox News narrative that the unemployed are lazy couch potatoes, who would rather collect unemployment checks than work.
Steve Doocy laid the groundwork to help Varney paint the disabled as con artists:
DOOCY: Stuart Varney “says the jobless situation probably is worsening things and is getting people to game the system. In the history of Social Security, the number of people who are filing for disability has never been higher and you smell fraud!”
Varney said fraud was certainly “possible.”
The right-wing Fox Business news host blamed the fraud on desperation:
“It strikes me that a lot of people are desperate. They lose their job. They run out of unemployment benefits and then they — look, I’m desperate. I’ve got no money. Some people are filing disability claims.”
And he partly attributed the rise in claims to a change in Social Security Disability eligibility rules in the 80s. But this is dead wrong, as pointed out by Media Matters.
“In fact, what led to the increase in claims from 2008 to 2009 was legislation that President Bush signed into law in 2008. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 changed the ways that the requirements for being disabled could be interpreted. The growth in the program is the result of intentional changes to policy, making it easier to qualify.”
And the fact that more disabled workers seek out assistance during times of recession and high unemployment, does not prove that these people are defrauding the system with fake ailments.
Carlson added to the attack on the unemployed and the disabled, by suggesting that their discussion was instructing con artists on how to defraud the Social Security Disability system.
Here is a tip for Varney and the Fox & Friends crew: Most Americans would much rather be contributing to society and the economy by working, rather than trying to survive on subsistence levels on government disability checks.