Some of my favorite moments in politics the last few years have been when President Obama directly calls out Fox News, because it drives them nuts. While most of the hosts on the right-wing network spend a good amount of time saying and doing whatever they can to slander this president, they often get quite defensive whenever he dares to take a jab at their ridiculousness.
Well, he did so again at a poverty forum at Georgetown University on Tuesday, slamming the network for almost constantly pushing propaganda that often vilifies and demonizes what it’s like to be poor in America.
The president started by speaking in general terms, saying Republicans and the media often like to “suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving.”
But then he went at Fox News directly.
“If you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu… they will find folks who make me mad, I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like ‘I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obamaphone.’ Or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. Very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress which is much more typical, who’s raising a couple of kids and is doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills.”
He’s right; Fox News is constantly highlighting people like the “Food Stamp Surfer” Jason Greenslate as their main example to push their anti-poverty rhetoric. Because what better way to slander the poor than by digging around to find a surfer who readily admits that he doesn’t want to work and likes getting “free food”? It’s the purest form of using a straw man’s argument I’ve ever seen.
Another common belief often pushed by many on the right is just how “good” the poor have it in American. The “logic” behind that ridiculous belief is that people in developing countries would love to be “America poor.” That’s not only a false equivalency, it’s just stupid.
Does welfare abuse happen? Absolutely. Both sides need to come together to find common sense approaches to trying to curb that abuse.
But what many Republicans – and conservatives in general – love to do is simply blanket most of the poor as lazy moochers who simply don’t want to work. That’s an absolute lie. In fact, most welfare recipients are children or the elderly and a lot are people who have jobs, but simply don’t make enough to support their families.
It goes back to a desperate need in this country to raise the minimum wage… another issue most Republicans strongly oppose. It’s like I’ve said before, GOP policies are literally making many of the problems they whine and complain about worse.
But I’m glad President Obama took a jab at Fox News on this issue. Because while a lot of the media is guilty of often not properly representing the realities of what it’s like to be poor, the conservative entertainment network often goes out of its way to do whatever they can to slander, demean and marginalize the struggles tens of millions of Americans deal with every single day.
And it’s time more politicians start calling them out for doing so.
Watch his comments below at around the 1:10:00 through 1:13:00 mark (although the entire summit is very good if you have some spare time) via The Washington Post: