We’ve always found breitbart.com, one of the nation’s most popular conservative websites, be lively and provocative. But it has bellyflopped into the world of unfair and unfounded smears in a recent article written by John Hayward.
Hayward sets the tone with this opening paragraph:
As CBS News in Denver is careful to note, it’s not really fair to refer to the amazingly foolish and corrupt “Lifeline” program – free cell phones for Food Stamp Nation – as “Obamaphones,” because the program existed long before the current presidency began.
After browsing some of Hayward’s earlier articles at breitbart.com, we can only assume that his specialty is writing intentionally sensational, deeply negative articles. Consider the headlines on some of his earlier work at the same website: “The U.S. Postal Service gets hacked”, “The stupidity of the Affordable Care Act”, “Obama gets rolled everywhere from Beijing to Tehran”, and “Google sued for cheating employee out of hourly pay and overtime.”
The angry words seem to spew out of Hayward like poison from the fangs of an anaconda:
People use that term because a very agitated Obama supporter referred to them as such during the 2012 campaign, apparently under the impression that free cell phones were a personal gift from the Oval Office. Based on anecdotal evidence, I think the term has spread far beyond those who actually saw the “Obamaphone Lady” viral video, and even those who follow politics closely. As one who thinks this program should be killed with fire, and who is not generally an admirer of this President’s works, I’ve always thought it was unfair to call them “Obamaphones,” and it might even be counter-productive, because this dopey excrescence of the welfare state is still going to be wasting tons of money long after he’s gone.
Hayward’s hate continued to flow with these personally-penned gems:
… They were thunderstruck to discover that each and every paying cell phone customer is indeed forking over a surcharge to finance ‘free’ cell phones. Furthermore, the program is positively riddled with fraud and abuse…
..Following the public outcry in 2012, assurances were given that dramatic reforms would be implemented to cut down on abuse … How’s that going? Not so great, at least not in Denver:
… over and over, wireless phone company representatives proved eager to bypass federal rules so they could hand out phones.
… People abuse the hell out of ridiculous government giveaways, especially when the contractors have financial incentives to help them commit fraud? Color me shocked. Who could have seen that coming?
… “Completely free. I didn’t pay a dollar, not a dime, not a nickel,” said the man. “That’s what everybody calls them in the ‘hood, Obamaphone,” laughed the man.
… Apparently the only trick that didn’t work was printing a dummy food stamp card on paper off the Internet, with “TRAINING CARD” printed as the name of the beneficiary. An agent at one of the free phone tents obligingly tried to get Mr. Training Card a free phone anyway, but the system actually rejected that application, so at least we know there’s a theoretical limit to how stupid this obscene raid on taxpayers can get.
An invitation to John Hayward
Please understand, Mr. Hayward, that we fully realize that fraud, waste and abuse corrupt the noble goals of the Lifeline Assistance program. But we do believe it is a noble program that needs to be cured of its problems, not killed.
No one has raged about fraud, waste and abuse in the Lifeline Assistance program nor crusaded against it more than FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net. No one. Search our site for the words “fraud” or “waste” or “abuse” and you’ll see numerous articles in which we not only condemn those who are guilty of those abuses, but prod those who are aware of those abuses to report the perpetrators.
Yet, we also understand the vital role this program plays in the lives of America’s neediest citizens. The desperately poor desperately need a way to communicate with potential employers, their families and medical professionals if they are to succeed in today’s world.
Please, Mr. Hayward, peruse the comments section of FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net. You’ll see the hopes and dreams of thousands of people who need — yes, need — this program to thrive and even to survive. We think you’ll be touched by their personal stories.
And we hope you’ll reconsider the harsh words in the breitbart.com article that prompted us to write this response.
Certainly, you’ll see an occasional comment from a taker who revels in scamming the system. But they are few and far between. We urge you to reconsider your harsh opinion of the Lifeline Assistance program.