President Barack Obama has been one of the most unfairly maligned and vilified figures in American History. He has led our country with grace, class, dignity and intelligence for 8 years, in spite of the most spitefully obstructionist congress in our history.
Conservative media outlets like Fox News have long painted a dishonest picture of Obama, and now, as he nears the end of his time in the White House, Obama has spoken out against his unfair treatment.
In an in-depth interview with The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates, Obama explained as follows:
In 2008 I was never subjected to the kind of concentrated vilification of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the whole conservative-media ecosystem, and so as a consequence, even for my first two years as a senator I was polling at 70 percent,” Obama said.
They weren’t seeing some image of me as trying to take away their stuff and give it to black people, and coddle criminals, and all the stereotypes of not just African American politicians but liberal politicians. You started to see that kind of prism being established towards the end of the 2008 race, particularly once Sarah Palin was the nominee. And obviously almost immediately after I was elected, it was deployed in full force. And it had an impact in terms of how a large portion of white voters would see me.
Obama went on to further explain how the “character” conservative media had created of him colored people’s view of him:
And so when people criticize or respond negatively to me, usually they’re responding to this character that they’re seeing on TV called Barack Obama, or to the office of the presidency and the White House and what that represents. And so you don’t take it personally. You understand that if people are angry that somehow the government is failing, then they are going to look to the guy who represents government. And that applies, by the way, even to some of the folks who are now Trump supporters. They’re responding to a fictional character named Barack Obama who they see on Fox News or who they hear about through Rush Limbaugh.
This same media machine that catered to people’s racism to paint this inaccurate picture of Obama is the same one that is trying to now normalize the racism of our next president and his administration, and it is truly shameful.