Fox News is again using its own bogus narrative to stoke fears of a civil war in the U.S. between “makers” and “takers,” after repeatedly pushing the argument that people who receive government benefits are “takers” and pitting them against “makers.”
In a January 3 op-ed, Fox News columnist Arthur Herman wrote that riots in Argentina foreshadowed “a coming civil war between makers and takers” in the U.S. Herman revived former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's infamous 47 percent remarks to argue that that the government is creating a dependency nation of people “unable to fend for themselves -- and increasingly resentful of those who can.” He added:
When the economy tanks and the government checks have to shrink, their only alternative is to take to the streets. That's what happening in Argentina, and in Greece; and that's where the growth of government is taking us here, as this current budget deal increases handouts -- and more and more Americans are finding that an unemployment or Social Security disability check is their only life line.
But the concept of society being divided into “makers” and “takers” is a manufactured distinction, one that Fox has pushed aggressively.
In February 2012, Fox host Eric Bolling hyped a study by the Heritage Foundation to complain that the “makers” had less power than the “takers.” Bolling's The Five co-host Greg Gutfeld also used the distinction to pit the Occupy movement against the Tea Party in November 2011. In May of 2011, Fox ran a week-long attack on the social safety net by labeling beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as “takers”:
Fox News also seized on Mitt Romney's 47 percent comments to revive the "makers vs. takers" argument during the 2012 presidential election to claim that people who voted for Obama did so because he gave them "stuff." Fox continued to use Romney's remarks even after he apologized on the channel, telling Fox host Sean Hannity that “I said something that's just completely wrong.”
This is not the first time Arthur Herman has invoked such rhetoric. He claimed in a July 2012 FoxNews.com op-ed that “another civil war is coming” between “the Makers and the Takers,” with “the 2012 election as its Gettysburg.”