Thursday, May 17, 2012

O’Donnell slaps Fox for attacking chef’s food stamps challenge

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Greg Gutfeld
Greg Gutfeld

The problem with Fox News isn’t only its crippling lack of editorial standards and journalistic integrity; it’s also that it acts like an irresistible magnet for some of the most insipid dunderheads anywhere. A good representative of this phenomenon is career twerp Greg Gutfeld, last seen claiming liberals want to use birth control to eliminate poor people, responding to criticism with atrocious gay jokes, and generally acting like an insufferable brat given far too many platforms to snivel on. And now, here is is, attacking celebrity chef Mario Batali over the latter’s decision to raise awareness of the plight of people living on food stamps by doing it himself.

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has some choice words for him:

Transcript: (click the [+/-] to open/close →) []

Original transcript via MSNBC; edited for grammar, style, completion, etc.

LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Celebrity chef Mario Batali, whom I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting, is trying to rewrite this country’s understanding of the food stamp program from zero understanding to what it’s actually like to try to feed a family on food stamps.

MARIO BATALI: At the big food bank for New York fund-raiser about a week ago, I challenged everyone to try to walk a mile in a person’s shoes. And that was to see if you could live on food stamps. It really causes us to think about what hunger is, whether the states is responsible for feeding people. What kind of things are going on in politics and what really makes it a great kind of engine for our discussion at the house is we really have to think about what we're eating.

O’DONNEL: Tomorrow, Mario Batali, his wife and two teenage sons will finish the week of eating on the equivalent of a food stamp budget. That’s $31 per person for the week. $1.48 per meal each. On day four of Batali’s life on a food stamp budget, he told the Associated Press, “I’m [expletive deleted] starving.” He said he’s been having rice and beans for lunch every day and figuring out ever-cheaper ways to put food on the table. He said his teenage sons are, quote, “having more peanut butter and jelly than they’ve had in the last ten years”.

Batali has been leading a couple of hundred people who are trying to eat for a week on a food stamp budget. This is an act of discipline and sacrifice that few among us would dare undertake, except of course, those already living on food stamps. Kind of wonderful that a rich and famous celebrity chef, who never has to think about the plight of the hungry, would help raise our awareness. Well, Fox News doesn't see it that way.

GREG GUTFELD: This week, Chef Mario Batali is eating on the equivalent of a food stamp budget, about $1.50 per meal, as a way to protest potential cuts to the benefits program. He said, quote, “we hopefully aren’t pretending or being like a bunch of yuppies saying uh oh, yeah, this is how we do it.” That’s exactly how it sounds. Terry, does this make you want to slap him around?

O’DONNEL: “Slap him around”. Now, Greg thinks that’s funny. In fact, he thinks most of what he says is funny. And it’s meant to be funny. Comedy isn’t comedy if it isn’t funny. His panelists went on for a couple of minutes ridiculing Mario Batali without ever once considering the plight of people who actually live on food stamps.

JAMIE WEINSTEIN: If he wanted to help people that are actually poor is to do what he does well, which is start successful restaurants and hire people. That would actually help some people get out of poverty.

O’DONNEL: You have to be so disconnected from American popular culture not to know that Mario Batali has started many successful restaurants and hired hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands, of people to staff those restaurants. He has 11 restaurants from New York to Los Angeles. He also runs Eataly, a large combination of markets and restaurants under a single roof here in New York. And he’s also created jobs in the television business by his own very successful TV show The Chew on ABC.

GUTFELD: Wouldn’t it be a better idea to donate some food from one of his posh restaurants? Or allow them to use food stamps at the posh restaurant?

O’DONNEL: It’s illegal in most states to use food stamps in restaurants, and as to donating some food – Mario Batali has donated more food than any other chef in America and probably the world. He has devoted years of service to the food bank of New York City. He has been on the board of the food bank for nine years. A food bank that helps feed over 1.5 million people every year. Mario Batali and his wife have been relentless fund-raisers for the food bank. Batali is also a founding member of the Feeding America Entertainment Council. Previously America’s Second Harvest, as it was known. That organization provides nutritious fresh foods to Americans struggling through hunger with local and national food assistance programs. And then, of course, there is Mario Batali Foundation, whose mission is, quote, “to feed, protect, educate and empower children, and encourage them to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today’s world.” One of the many things that Mario Batali Foundation does is teach children and their families to cook healthy on very tight budgets. Kind of makes you wonder what the Greg Gutfeld Foundation has done lately.

GUTFELD: Doesn’t this make you want to slap him around?

O’DONNEL: Mario Batali, directly and indirectly, has helped feed millions of people. And that’s before we get to the very big federal tax bill he pays every year. Some of which goes to paying for the federal food stamp program. And for all of that, these people think Mario Batali deserves to be slapped around. If one of them has ever fed a poor hungry person, they forgot to mention that in their round of ridicule of Mario Batali. You have to wonder what would make them react to Mario Batali this way?

GUTFELD: Does this make you want to slap him around?

O’DONNEL: Why do Mario Batali’s kindness, generosity and concern for the poor, all qualities that Jesus Christ exhibited in abundance – why do they make these people so uncomfortable? It might be time for them to reread what Christ did with the loafs and fishes. And when they are reminded that he gave all the bread and all the fish away to the poor, will Greg Gutfeld say this?

GUTFELD: Does this make you want to slap him around? […] Does this make you want to slap him around? […] Does this make you want to slap him around?

I’m not a big fan of O’Donnell, but he’s as good as anyone when it comes to setting Fox cronies straight. (Not that it’s a particularly difficult task, mind you.)

(via Media Matters for America)