I really wish Roger Ailes, Fox News’ high-profile CEO, wouldn’t say things like this.
Lewis then read Ailes a summary of the flap over Democratic operative Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney, mother of five, had never worked a day in her life. Ailes spun it without hesitation. “Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn’t public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.”
Certainly, any time an older white Republican starts throwing around words like “lazy” to condemn the nation’s first African-American president, the criticism carries a racial component. It’s happened before, as Ailes probably knows.
But even if we put that aside, the rest of the anti-Obama smear is just bizarre. First, according to Ailes, Obama hasn’t made money in the private sector. That’s simply wrong – Obama worked a variety of private-sector jobs growing up, worked at Business International Corporation, and even worked at private-sector law firms. Shouldn’t the head of a news network know this before attacking a president?
Second, even if Obama had only worked in the public sector, that doesn’t mean he’s “never worked a day in his life.” Plenty of hard-working Americans – police officers, teachers, firefighters – get paid “public money.” Does Ailes assume they’ve “never worked”?
Third, it’s true that the president attends fundraisers and occasionally takes recreational breaks, but so what? George W. Bush had the lightest daily schedule of any modern president and took more time off than any president on record. I don’t seem to recall Ailes whining, “He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.”
Maybe you’re inclined to like the president; maybe you’re not. Perhaps you agree with him on issues, perhaps you don’t. Either way, as an objective matter, Obama worked hard to get to the White House, and as best as I can tell, works hard in office. Obviously, I don’t begrudge Republicans for going after him with as much ferocity as they deem necessary, but it’s time to retire this “lazy” garbage.