Last night Jon Stewart delivered a segment that is destined to become classic among the Daily Show archives (video below). The brilliantly produced nine minutes of insight and comedy began with a montage of Fox News squaking heads doing what comes naturally to them: Complaining about President Obama.
On this occasion, the topic of the complaint was that the President did not talk enough about poverty, a subject that Fox News generally regards as a scam run by moochers and Democrats who are either trying to enslave them or are fishing for their votes. But since Fox’s mission is to denigrate Obama at all times, when he talks about poverty he is pandering and when he doesn’t he is heartless and hypocritical.
It quickly became apparent that Fox must have been watching a different President Obama than the the one that inhabits reality. Stewart noticed that divergence saying that Obama has indeed “been addressing those issues his entire presidency,” and that Fox ignored that fact in favor of obsessing over Obama making an unarguably true observation about Fox.
“Yep, just like college students at a four hour commencement, Fox basically paid no attention until they heard their own names. It turns out at one point during this incredibly thoughtful and productive session on poverty, the President made the easily provable and decidedly true point that the Fox News narrative is that poverty is not a function of economic condition, but of character.”
For the record, this what Obama said about Fox:
“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 wanna work. I just want a free Obamaphone.’ 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.”
Stewart accurately noted that the President has a “remarkably firm grasp” on the Fox business model and mocked Fox anchor Stuart Varney’s assertion that they are “honest messengers.” He then laid into what he called a “rich buffet of bullshit” when Varney claimed that Fox never characterized the poor as lazy. What followed was another montage of Fox News callously demonizing the poor in direct contradiction of what they had just claimed.
This caused Stewart to wonder “How fucking removed from reality” is Fox of their own coverage. That is, I assume a rhetorical question. Obviously Fox does not factor reality into their coverage from the outset. Otherwise, how could people like Varney say that the poor “have a richness of things, what they lack is a richness of spirit,” in one breath, and then pretend that he would never say such a thing in the next? Stewart’s response…
“Are these glaring contradictions a product of lack of self-awareness, or cynicism, or stupidity, or evil? I don’t know anymore, and I’m starting to lack a richness of fucks.”
It is easy to understand the sense of exasperation that Fox’s hypocrisy can incite. But the truth is that they have been doing this for years. Take for example this account of how the poor just have things way too good; or this one; or this one. And the funny thing is that all three of those stem from the same source that Fox keeps recycling for years on end. It’s a mantra that surely brings them the inner peace of a Bizarro World Buddha who lusts for ever more material possessions, while condemning anyone who is struggling to survive for wanting just the bare necessities of life.
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