Fox News responded to being called out by President Obama by suggesting that poverty would be solved if African-Americans would stop being lazy and go get jobs.
Yesterday, while participating in a roundtable about poverty, President Obama called out Fox News for spreading lies about the poor.
President Obama said, “I mean, I have to say that 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 like, I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone — or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative — right? — that gets worked up. And 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.”
Fox News responded by doubling down on racism and falsehoods about poverty.
Video via Media Matters:
Fox News’s Stuart Varney blamed President Obama’s policies for poverty. Varney said, “I think the president is spinning the failure of his own policies, and I think he is blaming us, and I think we are an honest messenger.Look at food stamps for a second. We’ve been asking why is that after six years of so-called recovery there’s still twelve million more people on food stamps today than when the president took office. Surely, that’s the failure of the president’s policies. What about Obama phones? Why is it that we’re giving away thirteen million phones after six years of recovery. Why are we doing that?”
Varney then trotted out the favored Republican attack of accusing President Obama of creating a culture of dependency.
The “Obama phones” program was not created by President Obama. “Obama phones” came from the administration of George W. Bush, via a private company created with grants during the Clinton presidency. The statutory authority for the program dates back to FDR and Woodrow Wilson. In other words, there is no such thing as an Obama phone.
Steve Doocy added, “The speech yesterday was all about poverty. If you don’t want to be poor, usually, you wind up with a job. , that is the answer, but if you look at the black unemployment rate, it’s staggering.”
In 2014, the United States government estimated that 10.6 million workers were poor. These people have jobs, most of the time more than one, yet they are still poor. The simplistic conservative answer to poverty is based on the assumptions that poor people are lazy, and that jobs pay enough to lift workers out of poverty. Doocy took it a step beyond by trying to link the African-American unemployment rate to a willingness to get a job.
Fox News was doing all of the spinning. They were trying to cover up the fact that their audience is more likely to receive government benefits than African-Americans. The propaganda spewed by Doocy and Varney was not only racist and classist. It was also 100% factually incorrect.
People aren’t poor because they are lazy, but blaming others while slumming in the worst stereotypes is the Fox News way.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association