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Use Media Literacy to Understand a Fox News Story about Obama
This lesson on Using Media Literacy to Understand a Fox News Story about the Obama's will help us better perceive information from Fox News.

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Ira Gorelick

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May 5, 2022

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To thrive in our 21st century hyper-connected digital world we need to use Media Literacy to Understand our world.  A story came across my desk that is worthy of study.  The headline was Obamas under fire from the left for never-ending, sizzling ultra-luxury vacations.”

The “Facts” detailed in the Headline are: 1) Obama’s are under fire from the left, and 2) Obama’s take over-the-top “sizzling ultra-luxury vacations.

Use Media Literacy to Understand Fake News

Using this Fox News Story, let’s see if can use media literacy to understand Fake News in general.

#1 – Are the Obama’s under fire from the left for taking luxury vacations?

Fox News, picks a guy, Pat Caddell, calls him a “left-wing” and then extrapolates this to mean that all of us on the left are criticizing Obama big time about this.

The Democratic base is growing increasingly frustrated with former President Barack Obama’s actions after leaving office, including a seemingly endless tour of millionaire and billionaire luxury retreats, according to Democrats and activists contacted by Fox News.

That was news to me and I stay pretty current with liberal activism. So, I wondered, just whom did Fox get the conclusion from? After several paragraphs about the luxuriousness of Obama’s vacation Wallace got around to the “frustrated base”:

“These trips are like the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” said Democratic strategist Pat Caddell. The former adviser to ex-President Jimmy Carter believes that President Obama’s vacations are unprecedented, and a far cry from how Carter spent his first few months out of office.

“I think the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, when they see President Obama, whom they instinctively want to defend being the corporatist president, I think it makes the base uneasy,” said Caddell.

Calling Caddell a “Democratic strategist” is probably even even more disingenuous than labeling Republican Dick Morris a “former Clinton advisor.” It’s possible Caddell has done some strategizing on behalf of Democrats in the 40 years since Carter left office but in the present, Caddell is a long-time confidant of Donald Trump adviser and former Breitbart chief Stephen Bannon. In other words, Caddell has shown himself to be a Trumper through-and-through. Wallace is either shockingly ill-informed or deliberately trying to pull the wool over Fox readers’ eyes.

Clearly, Wallace had to dig pretty far to find other attackers of Obama. We heard from someone in the Houston Socialist Movement, not exactly a huge force in liberal politics, and comedian John Oliver who is much more prominent. But Wallace quoted Oliver from a comment made in February:

“I’ll tell you who should kick back a little less,” said HBO host John Oliver in an interview with Seth Meyers on Late Night Monday. “This might be controversial – I’m a little sick of seeing photos of President Obama on vacation with Richard Branson. Just tone it down with the kite-surfing pictures. I’m glad he’s having a nice time – America is on fire.”

If Wallace had bothered to think about what Oliver was saying, he would have realized that Oliver was not complaining about the lavishness of Obama’s vacation but the fact that the former president was taking it easy during a time when the country needed him.

Not surprisingly, Wallace didn’t mention that Trump is on pace to spend more on travel in his first year than Obama did in eight.

So how much longer will Fox be whining about Obama’s vacations? Probably right up until there’s another Democrat in the White House. At that time, I predict Fox will suddenly become very concerned with how much the president is spending again.

Watch The Five attack Obama’s last vacation, from the January 17, 2017 show.

Clearly, you see the problem right?  This is also a great example of a “Strawman Argument.”