Pelosi shot a new video for Real Time — this time at a welfare office in New York City.
Totally false equivalence. Right there.
When Maher mentioned “apples and oranges” he was absolutely correct, but that doesn’t forgive the misleading nature of the clip he aired. By Maher’s own setup, polling has confirmed the observations from Pelosi’s Mississippi video. The Mississippi people aren’t outliers. They’re a majority representation, and Pelosi’s sampling was accurate.
Second, there are more whites on food stamps — as a percentage of the white population — than blacks on food stamps. To single out several black people (one or two were obvious addicts, if not drunk/high on the video) is extraordinarily unfair to all the people who legitimately need food stamps and welfare. And who even knows if those guys were actually granted welfare checks and stamps. This was never clarified. Yes, some people are abusing the system, and it seems like Pelosi inadvertently illustrated conservative stereotypes against social safety nets: welfare is for lazy, shiftless black people who don’t want to work. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The attitudes on the Mississippi video aren’t exclusive to toothless rednecks. The same opinions are expressed on thousands of radio stations and Fox News every day. And in a disappointingly self-conscious effort to appear balanced, Pelosi cherry-picked a miniscule sampling of people on the opposite end of the continuum, and, in the process, totally misrepresented what the social safety net is all about.
Additionally, the Mississippi guys were walking contradictions — opposing President Obama who is actually trying to help them. My big take-away from the Mississippi video wasn’t necessarily the racism or the toothlessness, but the remarkable contradictions: I’m on food stamps while being against food stamps, etc. I thought the contradictions were supposed to be the point of the video. Conversely, an illustration of the “other side” should have been, likewise, liberals inexplicably voting against their best interests, too. Something equaling the Mississippi contradictions. (I’m not sure where she’d find such people — perhaps liberals who support Ron Paul? I don’t know.) Instead, and to repeat, Pelosi only succeeded in illustrating the far-right’s inaccurate and racist stereotypes about blacks. HBO was right in its attempts to stop her from airing it. She so totally missed the point.