A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Spotlight On: John Heath

John Heath said he’s skeptical of claims that portray the government as incompetent.
So, he was suspicious of a recent Web video produced by Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin. The video depicts a program that subsidizes phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
Heath, 28, uploaded the video to Spin Detectors. We found the video goes too far in its portrayal of the program, calling it “taxpayer funded” when it’s not,

Congressman’s Slippery Cell Phone Claim

A congressman’s Web video goes too far when it portrays a program that subsidizes cell phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
The video also misleadingly claims Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin is “reforming” the program. His proposed legislation — the “Stop Taxpayer-Funded Cell Phones Act of 2011” — actually would eliminate the cell phone subsidy.
Griffin’s video focuses on Lifeline, a federally mandated program that reimburses phone companies with a monthly subsidy of $9.25 for each low-income customer who uses a landline or a cell phone.