Right-Wing Media's Mockery Of Unemployment Proves Necessity Of GOP Memo On Compassion

House GOP leaders reportedly distributed a memo instructing members on how to demonstrate compassion when discussing unemployment. And even as news of the memo leaked, conservative media were demeaning unemployed Americans as “lazy” and calling “hunger” a superior policy to jobless benefits. 

Obama Administration Pushes Extension Of Emergency Unemployment Benefits

Obama Urges Congress To Extend Emergency Unemployment Benefits. In a January 7 speech, President Obama urged members of Congress to extend recently-expired emergency unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs in the recession, refuting the claim that extending benefits will “somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job.” [The Los Angeles Times, 1/7/14]

House Republican Leaders Urge Republicans To Show Compassion For Unemployed 

Washington Post: House GOP Leaders Sent Memo Coaching Republicans To “Show Compassion For The Unemployed.” On January 7, The Washington Post obtained a memo from House GOP leaders coaching members on how to discuss unemployment in light of the proposed extension of unemployment benefits:

House Republican leaders sent a memo this week to the entire GOP conference with talking points designed to help rank-and-file Republicans show compassion for the unemployed and explain the Republican position on unemployment benefits. In the memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post, House Republicans are urged to be empathetic toward the unemployed and understand how unemployment is a “personal crisis” for individuals and families. The memo also asks Republicans to reiterate that the House will give “proper consideration” to an extension of long-term insurance as long as Democrats are willing to support spending or regulatory reforms. [The Washington Post1/7/14]

Meanwhile, Right-Wing Media Continue To Smear Unemployment Insurance And The Unemployed

Fox's Payne: “I Don't Know Why You Think Helping Someone, People Who Were Born And Dying On Food Stamps” Is Admirable. On the January 7 edition of Hannity, Fox contributor Charles Payne attacked the proposal to extend unemployment benefits, saying “I don't know why you think helping someone, people who were born and dying on food stamps, why you think that's admirable.” He concluded, “A lot of people are lazy and a lot of people are becoming lazier. And we're not doing people a favor, by the way, by letting their job skills erode.” [Fox News, Hannity, 1/7/14]

Fox's MacCallum Wonders If Being “Compassionate And Understanding To People In Need And Giving Them Things Is The Way To Improve Poverty In This Country.” During a discussion on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and the president's efforts to extend unemployment insurance, America's Newsroom co-host Martha MacCallum questioned the efficacy of anti-poverty programs, saying, “It's a huge issue in this country, whether or not being, what the president would call, I believe, compassionate and understanding to people in need and giving them things is the way to improve poverty in this country.” [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 1/8/14]

Fox's Kilmeade: Obama Standing With Unemployed Americans During Speech Is “Class Warfare.” During an interview with guest Ann Coulter, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade attacked the president's “little speech” on unemployment insurance, saying, “Let's talk about what's happening with the president's little speech yesterday. About twelve o'clock, he was 20 minutes late. Comes out with all -- a bunch of unemployed people behind him who need long-term benefits. It's class warfare all over again.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends1/8/14]

Rush Limbaugh: “What Is Unemployment Insurance? It Is Paying People Not To Work.” On the January 7 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh characterized unemployment insurance as “paying people not to work,” suggesting that unemployed Americans do nothing to find jobs while receiving benefits. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show1/7/14]

Laura Ingraham: Hunger Is The Best Unemployment Policy. On the January 6 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, radio host and Fox regular Ingraham argued that the nation's unemployment policy should mirror one of her mother's sayings, “when you're hungry, you'll figure out a way to eat,” because “hunger brings drive. Hunger for opportunity, hunger for a paycheck, hunger for actual food, hunger for a lifestyle.” Ingraham added that the unemployed would be more likely to find a job without “an unending safety net.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show1/6/14]

Fox Contributor Steve Moore: Unemployment Insurance Is “Like A Paid Vacation For People.” On the January 8 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Fox contributor Steve Moore smeared unemployment benefits as “a paid vacation for people.” [Fox News, America's News HQ, 1/8/14