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President Obama on the skewing of race and politics

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“…if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we are going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we are going to have to change how the media reports on these issues…”

In a recent interview with Media Matters for America, a politically progressive media watchdog, President Obama discussed how conservatives, including Fox News, have slanted and skewed the issues to confuse and divide American sentiments along racial and political social stratification.

Herewith is a portion of what the president had to say.

“There’s always been a strain in American politics where you’ve got the middle class and the questions has been, ‘who are you mad at?’ if you’re struggling and you’re working and don’t seem to be getting ahead. Over the last forty years, sadly, I think, there’s been an effort to either make folks mad at the folks at the top or be made at folks at the bottom. The effort to suggest that the poor are sponges … leeches that don’t want to work, are lazy, or undeserving, got traction. It’s still being propagated. I have to say, if you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu [where] they will find folks who make me mad — and I don’t know where they find them — they’re all like ‘I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obama phone,’ or whatever, and that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up and very rarely do you hear an interview [with] a waitress, which is much more typical who is raising a couple of kids who’s doing everything right, but still can’t pay the bills. And, so, if we’re going to change how [Republican House Speaker] John Boehner and [Republican Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell think, we are going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we are 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, and it’s a hard process that requires a much broader conversation than typically we have on the nightly news.”

There were numerous responses to President Obama’s comments from across the nation. The following represent a sampling.

“My husband and I are middle class, but my kids all have college degrees and all spouses work. My one daughter has two jobs and they all barely get by,” says Cynthia Hopper of Dallas, Tex. ” [The] price of food has doubled in the last three years; we share our heads and wonder how anybody working [for] minimum wage makes it. He’s right—he’s absolutely correct.”

Said Kathy Cantrell, who works in the movie industry in Yakima, WA, “Once again my president hits the nail on the head and points out the stupidity of Fox News, and how they are really at the top telling others we must be even harder on the weakest in this country,”

Randy Murray of Phoenix, AZ, comments, “Regardless of your political slant, the issue the president raises is one of the most important silent issues of our time. ‘We The People” can not make smart decisions about the future of our nation if we are not informed in a factual, non-biased manner. Fox news has severely damaged the Fourth Estate, the journalist watchdog function of our government. We need to turn away from FOX News forever and search out real journalists.”

Veronica Bracho of Wood Dale, IL, said, “Oh my gosh, I must admit I used to have my reservations about [President Obama] initially, but damn, I couldn’t be prouder of my president now.”

James Fouche, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: “Being able to be called news should be a privilege, not a right. I say there should be a law that states if you’re perpetuating false information and not correcting the information when revealed to be false, you should be legally forced to drop the news from your name. Aka the FOX show, [be]cause it’s not news.

Thomas Rush of Citra, FL, decried, “He is a lying worthless excuse for a president. He is doing his best to ruin this country. The divide is bigger than it has been in a long time. And the double standard is becoming more prevalent every day. All women and men should be treated the same. No more affirmative action, and it’s time to ensure women receive the same pay as men. The United Negro College Fund is racist; were it a Caucasian college fund, there would be riots! Time to stop the double standard and start working together. I spent over 20 years serving this country and not once did I see my peers as any different than I. We didn’t judge by skin color, race, religion, creed, sex, or anything else. It worked. And we all built each other up. It’s time we started sticking up for our own race, that would be the human one!”

James Fitzhugh of Malvern, KS., had this to say: “I worked minimum wage, two jobs, paid my bills and paid my way through school. I [and my wife] didn’t have children because [we] couldn’t afford them. So, the argument, while each news source stretches it as far left or as far right as possible, doesn’t work for me. If I can do it so can others. Some people need help, sure, but there are still [many] people who abuse the system.”

Apryl Prunty Webb of Daytona Beach, FL, commented, “Fox news has always, in my opinion, seemed racially biased. As the president pointed out, they seek out people of color who make people of color look bad. Just about everything they broadcast about people of color [is] negative. I stopped watching a while back for that very reason.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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