Fox News host Steve Doocy says that the White House may have been able to keep White House tours open during automatic budget cuts caused by so-called "sequestration" if the federal government had not wasted so much money on "puppets."
A Wednesday report at the conservative website Breitbart.com had lamented that the White House "disappointed children" by canceling tours, but "the U.S. federal government has spent more on puppets and puppetry-related expenses than it would cost to fund an entire year’s worth of White House tours. "
According to Breitbart's Wynton Hall:
From 2009 to 2013, the U.S. government has spent $1,188,382 on puppetry-related expenses. Some of the expenses include puppet shows for kids on educational topics. Others include puppet-based research. In 2010, the taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation awarded the University of Central Florida a $199,754 research grant for “Efficient Control and Transmission of Digital Puppetry.”
Doocy echoed the report during a Fox & Friends "News by the Numbers" segment on Thursday.
"Next, $1.18 million, that's how much the government has spent on puppets!" the Fox News host exclaimed. "That's enough to pay for more than year's worth of White House tours. The puppet expenses include puppet shows to educate kids and puppet-based research."
"Somewhere a Muppet is cheering," Doocy snarked.
Media Matters, however, pointed out that "the grants and contracts that Breitbart.com cited were all paid prior to 2013."
"A screenshot of the search terms used by Breitbart.com reveals the most recent grants were paid in fiscal year 2012, which ended on September 30, 2012. Sequestration took place on March 1, 2013, almost six months later."
"Despite the claims of Fox News and Breitbart.com, these expenditures have nothing to do with the cancelation of White House tours," Media Matters Hannah Groch-Begley explained. "The spending cited by Breitbart.com did not come out of the budget of the Secret Service, which made the decision to stop providing security for the tours due to its own budget cuts under the sequester."
Watch this video from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast March 28, 2013.