When Fox News isn’t bitching about how President Obama has fouled up the economy and caused severe hardship for the American people, they switch over to their completely contrary view that there isn’t really any hardship and that the poor in America are luxuriating in a virtual paradise.
To hear Fox News tell it, the real problem with America is that the greedy poor have too much and the long-suffering rich have too little. Consequently, the poor should lose benefits that assist them with trivialities like food, housing and education, while the rich should get more tax cuts, subsidies, and relief from regulations that protect everyone’s air, water, and safety.
That’s the position taken today on Fox’s community web site, and truth mangling, Fox Nation. Their article on the state of Americans living in poverty suggests that being poor is like a pleasure cruise with all the amenities included. Their source is an article on CNSNews, a subsidiary of the uber-rightist Media Research Center. The article cites data from a 2011 census report showing that most households living below the poverty live have non-essential extravagances like phones and refrigerators. The presence of these opulent goods is evidence that poor people are enjoying prosperity at the expense of the hard-trodden wealthy.
A deeper look at the details of this alleged abundance reveals that, in most cases, appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, and air conditioners, come with apartment living and are owned by the landlords, not the tenants. Cell phones and microwaves are inexpensive items that hardly connote wealth. Yet the Fox Nationalists begrudge low-income working people for having access to things like televisions that they might have bought years ago, before the Bush meltdown.
This is typical of the Fox mindset. They regularly report this same fallacy with minor updates. Last April they hosted Robert Rector, a Heritage Foundation analyst, who whined to the addled-brained Fox & Friends crew that the poor “have no hardship whatsoever,” and that poverty measurements are just “an advertising tool for expanding the welfare state and for spreading the wealth by pretending there’s a massive amount of hardship that really doesn’t occur anymore in our society.” Well, I feel better already.
Rector has been spewing that nonsense for more than a decade, and Fox has been helping him to promote it. They generally leave out pertinent facts such as that the people they are disparaging are not the recipients of welfare who they routinely characterize as moochers. They are working people who are struggling to provide for themselves and their families in the face of adversity. And Fox ignores the obvious when they assume that just because you reside in an apartment that has a stove and a laundry room, that you also have enough money to buy groceries, clothes, medicine, and other necessities.
This is a perfect representation of the insensitivity of selfish elitists in the media and the GOP (Greedy One Percent) who recently removed food stamps from a draft of the Farm Bill, but retained the hundreds of millions of dollars that goes to wealthy agribusiness interests. In their world the rich are always unfairly put upon, and the poor are lazy scam artists. It’s a perverse and twisted version of reality that keeps good people down.