President Obama called out Fox News for portraying poor Americans as “leeches.”
During a discussion at Georgetown University, as part of the school’s Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty, Obama criticized the media for suggesting that poor people are “sponges, leeches, don't want to work, are lazy, are undeserving,” and specifically named Fox News as a particularly prominent offender of such a practice.
“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,” Obama said. “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 like, ‘I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone’ — or whatever. And that becomes an entire narrative, right? That gets worked up," Obama continued. "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."
The discussion, moderated by the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne, touched on the importance of changing public perception of poverty-stricken Americans and how vital that is to changing the views of Republican lawmakers when it comes to how poor citizens are treated.
“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,” Obama said. “And that’s a hard process because that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.”
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