Obama: We Have to Change How Fox News Reports on Poverty

Tuesday at Georgetown University President Barack Obama discussed poverty at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit and argued Fox News intentionally divides the country by  highlighting poor people who make even him mad by asking for free “Obamaphones.”

Obama argued if we are going to end poverty, “We’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.”

“Where you’ve got the middle class and question has been, who are you mad at?” Obama said. “If you’re struggling — if you’re working but 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 be mad at folks at the bottom. And I think the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, 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. They’re all like, ‘I don’t want to work. I just want a free Obamaphone,’ or whatever.”

“And that becomes an entire narrative 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,” he continued. “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. That’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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