Obama says Fox News viewers and New York Times readers are living in utterly different worlds

Jaimie-lee Prince
Nov 29, 2018
12:43 P.M.
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Former President Barack Obama has expressed his thoughts on the polarisation of news outlets. He said that people watching different media live in separate realities.


Obama sat down in Houston for the celebration of the Rice University Baker Institute's 25th anniversary. He spent an hour doing a Q&A session in front about 1,000 attendees.

The Tuesday event saw the President give his take on a loss of consensus with news outlets in modern times. He explained that the media now is unlike anything in the past.

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Obama said:

"In 1981, your news cycle was still governed by the stories that were going to be filed by the AP, Washington Post, maybe New York Times, and the three broadcast stations."

He continued:

"Whether people got their news from Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley, they tended to agree on a common set of facts. That set a baseline around which both parties had to adapt and respond to."


Then Obama called out a certain news outlet by name to make his comparison relevant:

"By the time I take office what you increasingly have is a media environment in which, if you are a Fox News viewer, you have an entirely different reality than if you are a New York Times reader.”

It wasn't the first time that Obama had spoken on Fox and how their reflection of him drastically differs from others. In 2016, he told Bill Maher on HBO's "Real Time:"

"Look, if I watched Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me either. You’ve got this screen, this fun-house mirror through which people are receiving information. How to break through that is a big challenge.”


And in January earlier this year, he again stressed on the completely different minds of those who watch Fox News. During an event at the City College of New York, he said:

"If you watch Fox News, you are living on a different planet than you are if you are listening to NPR."

Recent polls seem to support the President's claims. A Politico/ Morning Consult poll found that 64 percent of Americans believed the media played a part in dividing the nation.

Meanwhile, 54 percent of Americans who were surveyed blamed Trump for the division. Obama also spoke on Trump during the event on Tuesday.


He called out several members of Trump's administration who are going through serious accusations. A couple have already been indicted.

Obama said:

“Not only did I not get indicted, nobody in my administration got indicted — which, by the way, was the only administration in modern history that can be said about.”

Obama also appeared to blame Trump and his selections for the legal troubles he appears to be going through. 


"In fact, nobody came close to being indicted, probably because the people who joined us were there for the right reasons."

Yet during the mid-term elections, Trump cleverly pointed out that it's all about him sometimes. And that that would explain why Republicans lost the vote for the senate house.

Regardless, Fox News viewers were displeased by the network's coverage of the rallies around that time. They accused Fox of giving more air time to Obama over Trump.

Trump promised his fans he would "see about" the matter as they took to Twitter to vent their frustrations. It looks like even Fox is sometimes unsure as to where they are trying to guide viewers.