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Fox News wonders if school dinners will ‘destroy American families’

By Daniel Tencer
Saturday, October 23, 2010 20:30 EDT
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Is there any act of compassion that Fox News doesn’t believe to be a plot against America?

It’s hard to say the answer is yes when a discussion on a proposed school dinner program in Washington, DC, is introduced as a “nanny state plan” that may “destroy American families.”

“First it was school lunches, then school breakfasts. Now, school dinners?” Fox on Forbes host David Asman said as he introduced the segment. “A new nanny state plan that some say won’t only destroy American tax dollars, it’ll destroy American families too.”

Strangely, none of the Forbes editors and reporters on the panel went on to make the argument that both American tax dollars and American families would be destroyed by a program launched in Washington, DC, to provide dinner to 10,000 schoolkids in one of the country’s poorest school districts.

But Forbes‘ executive editor came the closest.

“How this helps families is beyond me,” Neil Weinberg said. “I have a friend — he’s a fervent Obama supporter — he says first we had school lunches, then we had school breakfasts. He says the result is parents drop off their kids and they feel no responsibility.”

The Washington Post reports that the $5.7-million program is designed to both help undernourished children and to encourage participation in after-school programs.

The program … comes at a time of heightened concern about childhood poverty in the city. Census data show that the poverty rate among African American children is 43 percent, up from 31 percent in 2007 and significantly higher than national rates.

Officials describe the dinner initiative as having three goals: hedging against childhood hunger, reducing alarming rates of obesity and drawing more students to after-school programs, where extra academic help is available. It is also part of a broader effort, mandated by recent D.C. Council legislation, to upgrade the quality and nutritional value of school food with fresh, locally grown ingredients.

Forbes associate editor Victoria Barret pointed out that children who participate in schools’ after-care programs may be in school as late as 6:30 p.m., and “if they’re there until [then] we should give them a meal. A lot of them weren’t getting a meal when they got home. We’re talking about really poor areas in Washington, DC. So I don’t think in this situation that you punish the kids for their parents’ flaws.”

The following video was broadcast on Fox News’ Forbes on Fox, Oct. 23, 2010, and uploaded to the Web by MediaMatters.

 
 
 
 
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