President Obama called out Fox News' dishonest and biased portrayal of the poor during his remarks at a poverty summit at Georgetown University yesterday.
Obama singled out Fox as part of his comments about how class segregation in the United States has lessened a sense of community and commonality between rich and poor. Then he hit on Fox for its distorted portrayal of poor people and the reality of poverty.
OBAMA: What used to be racial segregation now mirrors itself in class segregation and this great sorting that’s taking place. Now, that creates its own politics. Right? I mean, there’s some communities where I don’t know—not only do I not know poor people, I don’t even know people who have trouble paying the bills at the end of the month. I just don’t know those people. And so there’s a less sense of investment in those children. So that’s part of what’s happened.
But part of it has also been—there’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class, and the question has been, who are you mad at, if you’re struggling; if you’re working, but you don’t seem to be getting ahead. And over the last 40 years, sadly, I think there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at folks at the top, or to be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leaches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction.
And, look, it’s still being propagated. 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. (Laughter.) They’re like, I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone -- (laughter) -- 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.
And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues and how people’s impressions of what it’s like to struggle in this economy looks like, and how budgets connect to that. And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.
Naturally, Fox has since hit back. More on that in a later post.
UPDATE: The link to Obama's full remarks was left out of the original version of this post.
“And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues……”
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT Mr. President. In my opinion, there is ONE AND ONLY ONE WAY to change the way the mainstream media reports economic issues:
BRING BACK THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE!