The poor are lazy. They are entitled. They suffer from apathy. They want a free ride.
That about sums up the Fox News dialogue when it comes to poverty in America. Bill O’Reilly, in an attempt to rebuke claims that Fox News spends much time bashing the poor, attempted to backtrack on such statements by… continuing to say them. Of course, his rebuttal still painted the poor with a brush of “lack of personal responsibility” and failed to even acknowledge the very real, very devastating impact extreme economic inequality has had on our nation.
President Obama recently called Fox out on their tactics saying:
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. 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.
Naturally, because this realistic scenario of the working poor in our country doesn’t fit within the Fox News script, Bill O’Reilly stepped up to the plate, as defensive as ever.
O’Reilly cited an article that appeared in the New York Times which stated,
In 2012, O’Reilly listed what he called the ‘true causes of poverty’ including ‘poor education, addiction, irresponsible behavior and laziness.’
Of course, he claims he didn’t say that and shares a clip where the exact quote is shared:
“True poverty is being driven by personal behavior, not an unfair economic system.”
In the clip, he then goes on to speak about babies being born out-of-wedlock being a contributing factor to poverty. It’s single parents’ fault for choosing to what, to have sex? Perhaps if things like birth control and contraceptive were available and affordable… oh wait, conservatives oppose that as well.
He then says:
Addictive behavior, laziness and apathy all override social programs. Every child on this earth can learn. But, parents must drive that process by forcing children to perform in school.
But see, this is where O’Reilly fails to see the big picture. He seems to really think we live in a world where one can simply look at a wealthy person and see an individual that made all the right choices and is a “hard worker” and in turn look at a poor person and claim they simply didn’t behave correctly and are “lazy.”
But that isn’t the world in which we live. Some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met are those that struggle day in and day out working low -paying jobs and never getting ahead. These are the people who serve you in restaurants. They are mothers working shifts at the local Wal-Mart, barely making enough to feed their families. They are nursing assistants working to take care of your parents. They are the daycare providers that watch your children. This is what President Obama was trying to point out.
The things that actually feed into poverty in America? Well, all things point to a combination of stagnate wages, cuts to educational spending, costs of being poor, and well, down right greed on the part of the “haves” who don’t fairly share the wealth and success (in the form of fair wages) for the “have-nots.”
There are many, many factors that feed into the complex issue of poverty in our country. It isn’t just “welfare queens and laziness.” This isn’t so much about personal responsibility or poor choices. This is about lack of opportunity and resources for those that have the least. It’s about being dependent upon a trickle, when what is needed is a stream.
Watch O’Reilly’s defensive b*llshit below and then consider this: Mr. O’Reilly was paid at least $28 million last year and has an estimated net worth of $70 million. Yeah, he should totally keep harping on the impoverished, he knows all about it. Perhaps it’s easier to live with your own addiction of money and greed if you demonize those that weren’t presented with the same luck you experienced.
Featured image via video screen capture