Fox News hosts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity recently attacked MIT economist Jonathan Gruber for referring to the “stupidity of the American voter,” but both have repeatedly derided “low information voters,” who they blamed for electing President Obama.
Gruber Referenced “The Stupidity Of The American Voter”
Gruber Referred To “The Stupidity Of The American Voter” While Discussing The Affordable Care Act in 2013. From CBS News:
One of the architects of the health care law was caught on camera saying the bill was written specifically so as not to be viewed as a tax. He then goes on to call American voters stupid, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.
He was one of the most senior advisers helping to create the health care law, and that's why people could not believe he said this:
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage, and basically, you know, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass,” Jonathan Gruber said at the Annual Health Economics Conference. [CBSNews.com, 11/13/14]
Gruber Apologized For Comments. Gruber said that he had been “speaking off the cuff” adding, “I basically spoke inappropriately, and I regret having made those comments,” during a November 11 appearance on MSNBC. [MSNBC, Ronan Farrow Daily, 11/11/14]
White House Disagreed “Vigorously” With Gruber. When asked about Gruber's comments during a White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “I disagree vigorously with that assessment.” [WhiteHouse.gov, 11/13/14]
Fox News Figures Took Offense With Gruber Comments
O'Reilly: Gruber “Lit The Fuse” By “Saying Americans Are Generally Too Stupid To Figure Out What The Obamacare Situation Really Is.” From the November 18 edition of The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: The Obamacare controversy grows. That is the subject of this evening's “Talking Points” memo.
As you may know, MIT Professor Dr. Jonathan Gruber had said some very interesting things about the Affordable Healthcare law. Let's run them down. Dr. Gruber says in order to pay for Obamacare you have to impose a new tax on Americans. He also says the Obama administration did not want to admit additional taxation was necessary, so it hid that part of the equation. The doctor opines there was little transparency in the run up to the vote of Obamacare. And then the MIT professor really lit the fuse saying that Americans are generally too stupid to figure out what the Obamacare situation really is. So I'll let you decide on the credibility of the last statement.
Now “Talking Points” applauds Dr. Gruber for telling the truth apart from the stupid stuff. But I also believe he was an active participant in a big con. So, on the one hand he is truthful. On the other hand he is deceptive. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 11/18/14]
Hannity: After Gruber Called “The American People Stupid,” His Comments “Should Be Condemned By Our Representatives In Washington.” On the November 18 edition ofHannity, Sean Hannity played a video of Gruber's “stupid” comment and said “videos that have surfaced” show “Gruber calling you, the American people, stupid.” He said that “Statements like those should be condemned by our representatives in Washington, not condoned,” and demanded to know if Gruber “talk[ed] about the stupidity of the American voters” during meetings with the White House to discuss health care reform. [Fox News, Hannity, 11/18/14, via Nexis]
Hannity Sent Camera Crew To Confront “The Guy Who Called Americans Stupid Over Obamacare.” On November 17, Hannity described Gruber as “the guy who called Americans stupid over Obamacare,” and then showed video of conservative talk show host David Webb confronting Gruber on Hannity's behalf to demand he answer the question, “do you really think the American voters are stupid?” [Fox News, Hannity, 11/17/14, via Nexis]
Hannity And O'Reilly Previously Attacked “Low Information” Voters Who Elected Obama
O'Reilly: “Low Information Voters” “Don't Know Anything.” On the October 24, 2013 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said, “The President was not elected on performance. He was elected on personality and apathy. Low information voters don't -- who don't know anything and really couldn't care less about their country broke heavily for the President.” [Fox News Channel,The O'Reilly Factor, 10/24/13, via Nexis]
O'Reilly: “Low Information Voters” Are “Not Interested In The Outside World,” Unable “To Make Intelligent Decisions In Life.” On the August 15, 2013, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly described “an American citizen” who “is not interested in the outside world that person will not be able to make intelligent decisions in life. Those are the so-called low information voters.” [Fox News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/15/13, via Nexis]
Hannity: People With “Low Information Voter Syndrome” “May Cancel Out Your Well-Informed Vote.” On October 29, 2013, Hannity complained about “low information voter syndrome” among people who didn't know that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare were the same.
HANNITY: Oh, boy, low information voter syndrome. Our very own Ainsley Earhardt hit the streets of New York to see if people understand that the Affordable Care Act and “Obamacare” are actually one and the same. And as you just heard, the answers by people are downright scary. And by the way, they may cancel out your well-informed vote -- as we continue tonight here on “Hannity.” [Fox News Channel, Hannity, 10/29/13, via Nexis]
Hannity: “Low Information Voters” Believe “Lying Campaign[s].” On the April 24, 2013, edition of Hannity, Hannity argued that “lying campaigns” that “demonize conservatives” work because of “low information” voters. From Hannity:
TUCKER CARLSON: The idea that any cuts to government will strand people with illnesses without a cure and if we pass this or that bill we will cure Parkinson's or AIDS. It is an insult to people with Parkinson's and AIDS because the truth is, it is not that simple.
You don't flip a switch and these really complex diseases are cured. This is ludicrous and you have to wonder who sat down and wrote this and what the majority leader thought when he read it off the card. Does really he believe this? Is there a single person that buys this?
HANNITY: You know what, Tucker? I think this lying campaign they use it because they think it works. They demonize conservatives all the time.
CARLSON: Anybody who takes what he says value and is moved to vote on that basis should not be voting.
HANNITY: But they are in big numbers.
CARLSON: You are too dumb to vote if you buy that.
HANNITY: Rush calls them low information voters. There are a lot of them. [Fox News Channel, Hannity, 4/24/13, via Nexis]