In a post-election interview with “Rolling Stone,” President Obama blamed his party’s failure to reach out to blue-collar workers on the proliferation of 24-hour cable news — specifically Fox News Channel.
Labor, which has always turned out en masse for the Democratic Party turned this year to Donald Trump and his message to bring jobs back to the United States. Obama, however, discounted this reasoning and looked to Fox News as the culprit for the Democratic Party’s loss at the polls. Obama told “Rolling Stone’s” Jann Wenner:
In this election, [white blue collar workers] turned out in huge numbers for Trump. And I think that part of it has to do with our inability, our failure, to reach those voters effectively. Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country, but part of it is also Democrats not working at a grassroots level, being in there, showing up, making arguments. That part of the critique of the Democratic Party is accurate. We spend a lot of time focused on international policy and national policy and less time being on the ground. And when we’re on the ground, we do well.
This isn’t the first time Obama has taken pot-shots at the cable news giant. He brought up that theme in the past after suffering prior losses. The president also found blame in social media and the reportage of “fake news” stories.
One of the challenges that we’ve been talking about now is the way social media and the Internet have changed what people receive as news. I was just talking to my political director, David Simas. He was looking at his Facebook page and some links from high school friends of his, some of whom were now passing around crazy stuff about, you know, Obama has banned the Pledge of Allegiance.
“This is not simply an economic issue,” Obama concluded. “This is a cultural issue. And a communications issue.”
2016 marked the third election cycle in which the Democratic Party has suffered major losses. In 2010, two years into Obama’s presidency, the House of Representatives went from Democratic to Republican rule in what he called a “shellacking.” In 2014 the Senate fell to Republican control.
2016 was predicted to have been the year his party retook the Senate, possibly the House as well as retaining the presidency. It didn’t happen.
While the unemployment rate has dropped remarkably in the last eight years, the labor participation rate has also tanked, indicating that an increasing number of people have given up on the labor market.
Instead of blaming Fox News and social media, Obama should perhaps look to the man in the mirror.
Read the full interview here.
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