How The Right Wing Media Built Mitt Romney's 47 Percent Line

The right-wing media's assault on struggling Americans found its way in to GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's recently revealed remarks disparaging 47 percent of Americans “who pay no income tax” to a group of wealthy donors, once again demonstrating the conservative media's central role in the GOP.

Romney Dismisses 47 Percent Of Americans That “Believe Government Has A Responsibility To Care For Them”

Mother Jones Reports On May 17 Recording At Romney Donor Dinner. In a September 17 post, Mother Jones reported that Romney disparaged those who don't pay income taxes and receive govenment benefits in front of an audience of wealthy donors. Mother Jones quoted Romney as saying:

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what...These are people who pay no income tax.


[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. [Mother Jones, 9/17/12]

Right-Wing Media Crafted Romney's Attack On The 47 Percent

Romney: “These Are People Who Pay No Income Tax”

Fox's Doocy: Should The “47 Percent Of Americans Not Paying Taxes ... Be Allowed To Vote?” During the July 28, 2010 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy teased a segment by asking if those 47 percent of Americans who don't pay taxes should be allowed to vote. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/28/10]

Fox's Carlson: Hyped Blog For “The 53 Percent That Are Paying The Taxes” Versus “The 47 Percent Who Don't Pay Federal Income Taxes.” During the October 11, 2011, edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson detailed an effort by a right-wing blog to counter the Occupy Wall Street protests. Carlson highlighted this blog's claim that it represented the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income tax as compared to the Occupy Wall Street protesters who are part of the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay taxes. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/11/11]

Fox's Hannity: “50 Percent Of American households No Longer Pay Taxes.” During the April 9, 2012 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity claimed that 50 percent of American households don't pay taxes and then asked “What does that mean for America if you have a voting electorate that's not paying any taxes?” [Media Matters, 4/9/10]

Romney: The 47 Percent “Are Dependent Upon Government” And Are Unlikely To “Take Personal Responsibility”

Limbaugh: “47 Percent Of The Population Is Content To Be Slovenly, Lazy Takers.” During the November 22, 2011 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, host Rush Limbaugh attacked those who do not pay income tax, claiming they are “content to be slovenly, lazy takers.” [Premiere Radio Network, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/22/11]

Limbaugh: Do Low-Income People “Even Want To Work?” During the April 21, 2011 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show, Rush Limbaugh claimed that low-income people “don't know anything” before asking if low-income people “even want to work?” [Premiere Radio Network, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/21/11]

Romney: The 47 Percent “Believe That They Are Entitled” To Government Aid

O'Reilly Railed Against “Prospering” “Entitlement Mindset” In America. On his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly demanded to know “why this mindset” of acceptance of government aid “has taken root.” [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/20/12]

Fox's Charles Payne Expressed Regret That People Feel They Earned Government Assistance. On the Fox Business show Varney & Co., Fox Business' Charles Payne said that while anti-poverty programs “are good programs,” people should feel shame for using them and expressed disappointment that Americans feel they are entitled to these programs:

I think the real narrative here, though, is that people aren't embarrassed by it. People aren't ashamed by it. In other words, there was a time when people were embarrassed to be on food stamps. There was a time when people were embarrassed to be on unemployment for six months, let alone demanding to be on it for more than two years.

I think that's what Stu is trying to say, is that when the president says Wall Street is at fault, so, you are entitled to get anything that you want from the government, because it's not really your fault, no longer is the man being told to look in the mirror and cast down a judgment on himself. It's someone else's fault. So food stamps, unemployment, all of this stuff, is something that they probably earned in some indirect way. [Media Matters, 5/19/11]

Romney: The 47 Percent “Will Vote For The President No Matter What”

Limbaugh: It's “Obvious” That Obama's Campaign Is “Aimed At The Welfare State.” On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said: “It is obvious that this Obama campaign is aimed at the welfare state and what we are affectionately calling the stupid -- maybe ignorant is better.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 4/4/12]