Obama claims media is 'stoking fear and resentment' in white Americans and 'making people's lives feel threatened'
BARACK Obama has accused "certain right-wing media" outlets of stoking "fear and resentment" among white Americans and making their lives feel threatened.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN, Obama said he believes that some news networks fixate on hot-button topics such as critical race theory in a bid to "monetize" white resentment toward a "changing America."
A large contributing factor, the former president said, was because Americans have not yet "fully reconciled with our history", which can be a "hard thing to hear" – especially for white people.
"You can be proud of this country and its traditions and its history and our forefathers … and it's also true that this terrible stuff happened and the vestiges of that linger and continue," he told Anderson Cooper.
"And the truth is that when I try to tell the story, oftentimes my political opponents would deliberately not only block that story but try to exploit it for their own political gain."
Obama pointed to the fallout that ensued in 2009 after he accused police in Massachusetts of acting "stupidly" when they arrested black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his own home.
At the time, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck called Obama a "racist" who had "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture," the Daily Beast reported.
"Not only did that cause a firestorm but subsequent polling showed that my support among white voters dropped more precipitously after that—what should have been a minor, trivial incident—than anything else during my presidency," Obama said Monday.
The 44th Commander-in-Chief went on to note how much a role he believes the conservative media plays in helping to stoke such outrage among white Americans.
"I also think that there are certain right-wing media venues, for example, that monetize and capitalize on stoking the fear and resentment of a white population that is witnessing a changing America and seeing demographic changes," he said.
"[They] do everything they can to give people a sense that their way of life is threatened and that people are trying to take advantage of them."
He continued: "You would think with all the public policy debates that are taking place right now, the Republican Party would be engaged in a significant debate about how are we going to deal with the economy, what are we going to do about climate change, what are we going to do about — lo and behold, the biggest single most important issue to them apparently right now is critical race theory."
"Who knew that was the threat to our republic?" he laughed.
Obama also blamed the "siloing of the media" as being part of the problem, which he believes has "contributed to that sense that we don’t have anything in common.”
“We occupy different worlds. And it becomes that much more difficult for us to hear each other, see each other,” Obama said.
He also warned about the dangers of cancel culture, adding that society is "just going to be condemning people all the time."
He said his daughters Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22, tell him how “sometimes among their peer group or in college campuses you’ll see folks going overboard.”
Obama said it's important for them to rebel against that by realizing "we don't expect everybody to be perfect."
"We don’t expect everybody to be politically correct all the time. But we are going to call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel if they are, you know, discriminating against people,” he said.
Obama continued that watching his daughters participate in Black Lives Matter demonstrations last year supplied him with "a great source of optimism."
"My daughters are so much wiser and more sophisticated and gifted than I was at their age,” he laughed. "When people talk about … how do I think about my legacy, you know, part of it is the kids who were raised during the eight years that I was president.
“There are a bunch of basic assumptions they make about what the country can and should be that I think are still sticking. They still believe it. And they’re willing to work for it.
“That’s among not just my daughters, but among their white friends,” he added.
Elsewhere in the interview, Obama slammed Republican lawmakers for not standing up against Donald Trump's election "falsehoods".
He also blamed the GOP for the January 6 election and voiced concern about the current state of democracy in the US.
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