While the right wing and its mouthpiece, Fox News, claims that liberals are waging class warfare against the "job creators," Fox News is waging class warfare against "welfare" - a word that's guaranteed to generate a true Pavlovian response of fear and loathing in the Fox demographic who associate "welfare" with lazy, dark skinned, drug addled moochers being given free stuff. Last week, Fox ran with a narrative that was being promoted in right wing circles; i.e., a study commissioned by US Senate Republicans which purportedly shows that the government spends more money on welfare than anything else. Not surprisingly, that's not true but that's what Bill O'Reilly and other Fox talkers claimed. But in the alternate reality of Fox News and Bill O'Reilly, as George Costanza said, "it's not a lie if you believe it."
Last week (October 18th) O'Reilly' "Talking Points" began with Bill articulating how the presidential vote is about two different futures of America - the Romney world being one of happy, self-reliant capitalists and the Obama world, a dystopian future of unbridled socialism. He accused President Obama of "using the federal government to impose so called social justice." (While O'Reilly's Catholic Church is mainly focused on abortion and gay marriage, they do actually have a teaching about social justice.) O'Reilly criticized Obama for - wait for it - wanting to help those "who don't have very much" and trying to impose a Western European "government that redistributes income." (OMG, national health care and less income inequality - THE HORROR, THE HORROR!!!!)
After some more whining, Bill framed what was a very deceptive message.
"Right now the federal government spends more on welfare than on any other program. And we're not talking about Medicare or Social Security here. We're talking about payments to the folks stuff like food stamps, housing, medical care and those kinds of things. According to a new study by the Congressional Research Service, the USA spent $746 billion last year alone giving people stuff. That's more than Medicare, more than Social Security and more than non-war defense budget."
Fact Check: What O'Reilly and his right wing Fox propaganda pals aren't saying is that this "welfare" consists of 83 different programs, including Pell Grants, elderly housing, school lunch programs, adoption assistance, breast/cervical cancer screenings, and the Earned Income Tax Credit which is supported by conservatives - although for conservatives like O'Reilly, that's one tax break too far. What is driving up the cost is that a good chunk of this money goes to Medicaid for poor, disabled Americans who, according to O'Reilly, need to get out of those wheelchairs and get a job. "Welfare" as in assistance payments to needy families is only a small percentage of the total expenditures. TANF payments constitute less than two tenths of 1% of the budget.
So once again, Bill O'Reilly is using the "no spin zone" to do some fancy pirouettes. Words do matter and, once again, Bill's words are being used in service of fostering more hate and division directed towards the most vulnerable in our society - an America that, for Bill O'Reilly, is a true Utopia.
1 – Lies
2 – Distortions
3 – Hate Speech
4 – Omission
5 – Innuendo
6 – Ambush
7 – Racism
Not surprizing when you know his boss, Rupert Murdoch, controls a phone-hacking, police & political bribing, corrupt media empire dedicated to glorifying trash.