Speaking on poverty at Georgetown University this week, President Obama took one of his all-too-common shots at Fox News while explaining America’s skewed view of poor people.
“I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving got traction,” the president said. “I mean, I have to say that if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu.” He accused the network of finding atypical examples of poor Americans to put on the air, thus reinforcing the myth that people deserve their own poverty.
“We’re going to have to change how our body politic thinks,” he continued, “which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.”
That comment raised some eyebrows, leading some to suspect that Obama had more on his mind than mere disagreement. It certainly inspired the folks at Fox to sit up and take notice. Later that day, reporter James Rosen sat down with Megyn Kelly to discuss what Obama had said.
“Only one of two things can be true,” said Rosen. “Either this largest of cable news audiences knows what President Obama knows, namely that Fox News is a slanted arm of the Republican Party but still prefers to get its news from such a source, in which case we would assuredly be a center-right nation. Or, this largest of cable news audiences just hasn’t caught on to what is so obvious to the president and his aides, isn’t sophisticated enough to see what they see, in which case the White House is effectively insulting the intelligence of the American people.”
Kelly noted that while President Bush took plenty of heat from the left-wing media, he never stooped so low as to take a shot at the networks for their biased reporting. He knew, she said, that “it was beneath the dignity of the office.”
On the Fox website, columnist Todd Starnes shot back at the president as well. “I’m afraid our constitutional law professor turned commander in chief is not aware of something called the First Amendment,” he wrote. “That’s the one that says, ‘Keep your Saul Alinsky, community-organizing paws out of our newsrooms.'”
Obama’s Willful Ignorance
This is far from the first time Obama has taken a jab at Fox News. The question is whether he seriously believes the government should step in and censor conservative media or whether he is merely encouraging Americans to demand change. Judging by his background, his tenure as president, and his intolerance for conservatism, he hardly deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Why is Fox News so popular? Did they win over the cable audience with flash and sizzle, thus giving them the opportunity to hypnotize viewers with their conservative message? That sounds ridiculous, but what else can liberals believe? They certainly aren’t willing to acknowledge the alternative scenario, which is that Fox is an oasis in a desert filled with liberal outlets like MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC. What Obama can’t see is that conservatives flocked to Fox News because their views were finally represented on television. To argue otherwise is as silly as blaming BET for creating more black people.
If liberals want to make Fox News irrelevant, they can start by cleaning up their own house. Stop portraying conservatism and Christianity as fodder for their derisive amusement. Start showing some respect for people who didn’t grow up in New York City. Stop pretending as though Republicans are ignorant fools clinging desperately to racism and intolerance. Start calling it down the middle, in other words. Fox News would be out of business within a year.
But something tells me Roger Ailes doesn’t have anything to worry about.