A short while ago, President Obama criticized Fox News for their repeated attacks on poor Americans. The response from the crowd at Fox was somewhere between, “I know you are, but what am I?” and “I am rubber and you are glue…” Or, in other words, the
fairly unbalanced “fair and balanced” crew said, “Who? Us? We never said anything bad about the poor!”
The good folks at Media Matters have put together a video that shows that not only do the on-air hosts and guests at Fox News constantly ridicule the poor, their comments about poverty fit into a five-point plan that tells poor people what they should do to avoid being poor.
1. “Get a job.”
Conservatives totally miss the fact that many of the poor already have jobs. In fact, they work a lot harder than some of the rest of us, and definitely harder than anybody at Fox News.
2. “Be ashamed you are poor.”
Fox commentators think the problem is that there’s no shame attached to being poor any more, so more people are willing to live in poverty. Bill O’Reilly says it’s due to a lack of “personal responsibility,” which is what conservatives always blame for your circumstances, except when they’re blaming your lack of religion.
3. “Don’t take government help.”
Conservatives want you to believe that people who accept help from the government when they experience hard times are just “moochers.” Recently, they have been attacking those who receive Social Security disability payments. Charles Payne claims that you can get a disability check just by walking into the Social Security office and saying you’re crazy. Not quite.
My father applied for disability in 1971. He was a truck driver, and because of poor circulation in his legs, he couldn’t drive any more. It took him over a year, and multiple visits to multiple doctors before his disability application was approved. He died the day before his first check arrived. Since that time, requirements to receive disability have been significantly tightened. Nobody is walking into a Social Security office and walking out with a check because they say they are “crazy.”
4. “Don’t be a single mom.”
If you’re a single mother, it’s your fault that you’re poor. It doesn’t matter that your husband left you, or is in prison. It’s your fault.
5. “Convince yourself you are rich.”
The poor have so much going for them — they’re living the mythical “life of Riley” on your dime, don’t you know? OMG, 82 percent of the poor have a microwave! A majority have more than one tv! Of course, this plays into the conservative notion that people who receive welfare benefits do so forever. Over three quarters of welfare recipients receive benefits for less than five years. TVs, microwaves, air conditioners, and such typically last longer than five years. How do they know that those poor people didn’t get those things before they became poor? Do the folks at Fox want the poor to sell their TVs and other appliances if they need welfare?
Yes, the numbers of the poor have increased in recent years. But not for the reason conservatives want you to think. It has a lot less to do with people being “lazy,” and a lot more to do with a loss of good-paying jobs, and a minimum wage that is so low that many people who work full-time still qualify for welfare. Many of the poor work harder and longer hours than any conservative commentator, but don’t waste your breathe trying to convince your crazy uncle of that.
Here’s the video, via Media Matters/YouTube:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdHM0HTERY]
Featured image via Josh Swieringa/Wikipedia