Since October 10, 2012, a viral anti-Obama facebook post has been going around. It reads:
Woman Admits to Having 30 Free Obamaphones Paid By the Taxpayers
She carries six of them in her purse.
The site linked by this post pretends to be an unsophisticated web site. “I am just a blogger” it says at the bottom. But from the tracking code you see at the end of the link, this operation is obviously a lot more sophisticated than that. It is a plan to flood Facebook with hundreds of provocative stories to provoke anger about welfare and get the recipient to share the link on Facebook to hundreds of their family members and friends. They are tracking people who click on it and “like” it and of course they will be trying to get those people to register to vote and go to the polls on November 5.
[Update: this viral Facebook post has racked up almost 120,000 “likes” after only 8 days!]
The actual number (or percentage) of free-cell-phone cheats under Obama, and how it compares to the same numbers 4 years ago, or 8 years ago, doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that there is cheating going on, the people showing in the video cheating are black, and Obama is black. Therefore, by racist logic, the black president is entirely responsible for this program.
The truth about abuse of free cell phones is that a “lifeline” program does exist, paid for by a surcharge on cell phone fees. It was put in place 25 years ago, and modernized only recently as a response during the Bush administration post Hurricane Katrina. Snopes has a good summary: http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/cellphone.asp. It is ironic that a program so vilified by ReaganCoalition.com, providing poor people with low or no-cost telephone access, was created during the Reagan administration.
None of the funds used to pay for the cell phone “lifeline” system come from welfare programs, or income tax dollars. Actually, according to the Atlantic, Obama’s appointee to the FCC is putting an end to the fraud: ” In January of this year, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed a central database to make it easier to check for double dippers. The FCC found about 270,000 duplicate subscriptions in 12 states alone in 2011. The FCC says its overhaul will save $200 million this year, and $2 billion over three years. It will address the problem pointed to by PacBell back in the 1980s — there was no way for these companies to verify income — by creating ‘eligibility databases from governmental data sources.'”
Right now, the Right, funded in all likelihood by anonymously funded SuperPACs, is getting away with these anonymous, racist attacks. This has yet to be challenged effectively. When will Obama use his debating skills to point out about 100 things that were happening long before he was president that he has been blamed for? When will he ask his opponent to denounce these attacks?
In 2008, the Right was all prepared to wage a campaign against Hillary Clinton and it actually took them by surprise when Barack Obama won the nomination. And social media was in its infancy — catering mostly to college students and college graduates. The Right had neither the time nor the medium to methodically prepare and test racist messages, which if not too obvious, might still produce the same effect on some working-class whites (a well as some Asian and Latino Americans) as the famous 1988 “Willie Horton” commercial against Michael Dukakis. Obama was able to keep the message positive and trust that the election would be decided based on the issues, qualifications, and temperament of the two candidates.
This is not the case this time around. Facebook has reached the masses. They had 4 years to prepare the attack. Activists in the Republican party who buy the argument that Obama is just an “unqualified community organizer” want no punches pulled. They are itching for Romney to roll out at 2012 version of that famous 1988 ad.
Well it looks like they won’t need to wait any longer. The ad is out, except that it is viral and under the radar. It is time to expose it for what it is, a deceptive, manipulative, and intellectually dishonest, racist attack.