Only on Fox News would a report about American children being born out of wedlock serve as little more than a thinly-veiled excuse to attack President Obama. But that’s what happened last night on The O’Reilly Factor as “media critic” Bernard Goldberg used that news to accuse Obama of fostering a rising rate of illegitimacy as part of his “class warfare.” What Goldberg really meant was that Obama should be more critical and demanding of the (undeserving and poor) unwed parents and stop asking more of the deserving and rich. As he and Bill O'Reilly decried the situation, the “no spin zone” O’Reilly Factor offered up nobody with any real expertise in dealing with the problem, much less the point of view of any actual unwed mothers.
O’Reilly began the segment by noting that 53% of babies born to women under age 30 are out of wedlock, 73% of black babies born out of, and 41% of all children are now born out of wedlock. O’Reilly introduced Goldberg by saying he’s “been watching the media coverage.”
But, apparently, Goldberg has been watching the politics much more. He gave the New York Times credit for beginning its article on the subject with the sentence, “It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal.”
Goldberg added, “Look, I want to make very clear that what I’m saying tonight has nothing to do with the morality of the situation. We can have that discussion some other time.”
So instead, he discussed the anti-Obama politics of the situation.
Goldberg went on to say that studies consistently show that children born out of wedlock have greater chances of poverty, failing in school, behavior and emotional problems and other problems. Then he moved in for the kill:
"Now here’s an area where the President of the United States can use the bully pulpit to actually try to do some good by talking about this. But he’s made a conscious decision to run for re-election by dividing the Americans, based on how much money they have in their pocket, in their bank account. And he has said, and these are his exact words, that the wealthy have to do their fair share.
Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, and I say this respectfully, you ought to tell these women and their irresponsible boyfriends, that they need to do their fair share. Because this new normal isn’t good for them, it isn’t good for their children and it isn’t good for the country. Because this income inequality that you’re always railing about, they’re contributing to it. The wealthy in this country aren’t the problem. And besides, they’re doing more than their fair share. You know what the problem is? The new normal. The new normal, is what you should be talking about. That’s the problem.”
O’Reilly readily agreed. “It’s a poverty driver,” he said. Ironically, it was O’Reilly who looked past Obama to the media. “It’s not just President Obama, it’s also the media,” O’Reilly said. He accused them of “not making judgments” and “celebrating” the behavior of unwed motherhood.
Goldberg concurred. The two guys then griped about how it’s just not cool to be against unwed motherhood. “You’re a Rick Santorum if you object to it… trying to impose your morality on these poor women,” O’Reilly complained.
But soon O’Reilly joined the Obama pile on. He noted that Obama “did go out of his way” to condemn fathers who leave their children. But, O’Reilly asked, “Why isn’t President Obama now making an issue out of this, saying, ‘Look, if you want to have prosperity in the economic range, you’ve got to be responsible in your own personal life and give yourself a break, ‘cause if not, you’re going to be dependent on government for the rest of your life?’”
“Exactly,” Goldberg said approvingly.
Then Goldberg asked Obama offered up some very peculiar campaign advice to Obama. “If he went after these women in a decent way, I don’t mean hammer ‘em, but if he went after ‘em and said, ‘You’re not doing your share, you’re not holding up your end of things, you’re causing this nation problems, every independent in the United States would vote for him.” That, Goldberg said, would “practically guarantee his re-election.”
But then Goldberg said that Obama’s not doing that because it would hurt his re-election changes.
"The reason he’s not doing that, is because he realizes that if it’s the 1% against the 99%, there are far more voters in the 99% than in the 1%. So he’s decided to wage class warfare which he denies. He decided – this is the man who ran to bring us together – has now consciously decided to run to divide us because he’s done the math. There are far more voters in the middle class than in the upper 1% but he would make a lot more political hay, he would gain a lot more political points if he took these people on and said, ‘You cannot continue to be a drag on society. None of us will tolerate that.’ But he hasn’t done that.”
O’Reilly ended the discussion with words of endorsement. “Good segment.”
But while the two rich guys were carping about poor women (and men) not doing their fair share, they ignored how adverse economic forces also contribute to the problem. The same New York Times article that Goldberg lauded early in the segment also reported this:
The forces rearranging the family are as diverse as globalization and the pill. Liberal analysts argue that shrinking paychecks have thinned the ranks of marriageable men, while conservatives often say that the sexual revolution reduced the incentive to wed and that safety net programs discourage marriage.
Here in Lorain, a blue-collar town west of Cleveland where the decline of the married two-parent family has been especially steep, dozens of interviews with young parents suggest that both sides have a point.
…In Lorain as elsewhere, explanations for marital decline start with home economics: men are worth less than they used to be. Among men with some college but no degrees, earnings have fallen 8 percent in the past 30 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while the earnings of their female counterparts have risen by 8 percent.
“Women used to rely on men, but we don’t need to anymore,” said Teresa Fragoso, 25, a single mother in Lorain. “We support ourselves. We support our kids.”