This Is Why Valerie Jarrett Blames Fox News For Class Warfare


Fox News and its counter-parts in right-wing media pounced on Senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett for pointing out that Fox News has a long history of using "class warfare" to attack President Obama. But despite the attacks from the right-wing media, Jarrett is right that Fox has a long history of resorting to charges of "class warfare"  to attack President Obama while waging war itself against struggling Americans.

During a July 1 appearance at the Aspen Ideas Festival, former Time editor Walter Issacson asked Jarrett about the notion held by "so many business men and others" that Obama is "attacking the rich, attacking people who make a profit, people who make jobs." Jarrett responded by noting that the class warfare narrative may be emanating from a "particular" network, one that isn't CNN and presumably not MSNBC.

Fox News, and other right wing media outlets attacked Jarrett's comments. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren in a July 6 tweet and blog post asked, "is she drinking?" Fox Nation and, both highlighted Jarrett's comments. Newsbusters, a conservative media blog, in a July 6 post went a step further, accusing Jarrett of "reflexively bash[ing] Fox News" and "relentlessly shovel[ing] all the Obama talking points."

But despite the right-wing media's complaints, Fox News has made itself the home of "class warfare," both in their willingness to use the label to attack President Obama, and in their attacks on both the poor and policies designed to alleviate poverty.


  • Fox Labeled A Proposed Minimum Tax Rate Increase For The Wealthy "Class Warfare." Responding to Obama's call to implement the so-called "Buffett Rule" which would have raised the minimum tax rate for the wealthy back to levels before the Bush tax cuts, Fox News figures accused Obama of waging "class warfare."
  • Fox Figures Called Obama's Jobs Bill "Class Warfare." In September 2011, Fox figures responded to Obama's jobs bill by claiming that he was engaged in "class warfare ... one of those soak the rich things" and that Obama "could not help but resort to using the same kind of class warfare."
  • Fox Said Obama's Call For A "Balanced Approach" To Deficit Reduction Is "Class Warfare." In August 2011, Fox figures accused Obama of "conducting what is clearly class warfare" by calling for a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction.
  • Fox Attacked Obama's Speech On Income Inequality By Accusing Him Of "Class Warfare." Fox News figures responded to Obama's December 6, 2011, speech on inequality in America by accusing him of engaging in class warfare.
  • Fox Figures Claimed Obama's Deficit-Reduction Plan Is "Class Warfare." In September 2011, Fox responded to Obama's deficit-reduction plan by accusing him of engaging in "class warfare."

These attacks on Obama often went hand in hand with defending the interests of the wealthiest Americans.


  • Fox Attacked Struggling Homeowners Who Could Have Benefited From A Foreclosure Settlement As "Deadbeat[s]." In February, Fox News figures responded to a $25 billion settlement over alleged foreclosure abuses by attacking the agreement as a "deadbeat bailout."
  • Fox's Varney Accused Low-Income Americans As Lacking "Richness Of Spirit." Fox Business host Stuart Varney hyped a Heritage Foundation study on appliance ownership among low-income Americans as evidence that the "have things - what they lack is the richness of spirit."
  • Fox Business Pitted The "Takers" Of Safety Net Programs Against The "Makers." After a National Bureau of Economic Research study concluded that social safety net programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, were highly effective at keeping people out of poverty, Fox Business launched a week-long series pitting the "takers" of "government handouts" against the "makers" in the economy.
  • Fox Business Host Charles Payne Scolded Poor People For Not Being Ashamed Of Their Poverty. Fox Business host Charles Payne complained that, although some safety net policies were "good programs," poor people participating in these programs should be "embarrassed by it."

While Jarrett's comments may have led to complaints among the right-wing media, given Fox's history, they seem perfectly accurate. 

Posted In
Economy, Poverty
Fox News Channel
Greta Van Susteren
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