The fact that the President's 50th birthday was an economic non-starter didn't strike many people as worthy of a headline. Most people's 50th birthdays don't create jobs. They create anxiety, light depression, a sensation of life's passing one by and the realization that one's bird of youth has finally and irretrievably flown, not employment opportunities.
This reporter contacted a fellow member of the third estate, a spokesman for Fox, who agreed to speak anonymously. He admitted the headline was a little aggressive. "We're worried people are not hating the President for the right reasons," the source said.
It was pointed out to the Fox representative that people find plenty of reasons to be displeased with Obama. He's running two wars and a crummy economy, presiding over a sliding stock market and has to deal with the fact that the country, due to the debt crisis, instead of having its usual gold-plated MasterCard to charge government expenses on, now has to beg for credit from Orchard Bank.
"True, but some people might remember that the Republicans started the wars, crashed the economy and precipitated the debt crisis. God knows Fox isn't going to remind anyone of that, but if they recalled it on their own, they might not hate Obama for causing those problems."
That would be a crisis for Fox. How does criticizing the President for having a birthday party help?
"Not a birthday party. A hip-hop barbecue. Nobody would blame Obama for throwing himself a birthday party. And, frankly, no one would blame him for having a barbecue. Everybody loves a barbecue. It's the hip-hop we're nailing him on."
A lot of people listen to hip-hop. Why would people hate Obama for the music he enjoys?
"Hip-hop is simmering with sex and bad language."
So is HBO. What if Obama likes watching that?
"Don't be obtuse. Look, things look bad for Obama now, but it's still more than a year before the next election. The economy could come back some. The price of gas could drop. He could win both wars and send the Seal Team Six on a scavenger hunt for Qaddafi's pillbox hat, with his head still in it. Fox still has to be bitterly opposed to him for something."
You think saying he listens to hip-hop will work?
"Absolutely. What kind of people listen to hip-hop?"
Young people, mostly.
The Fox guy fairly bristled. "You're just not getting it. What kind of people make hip-hop?"
"Look, I'm going to be patient with you, because obviously, you don't get your news from Fox. Look at this picture we ran with our story. Who's in the picture?"
This reporter recognized Obama, Chris Rock, Charles Barkley and Jay-Z.
"Notice how the skin tones of all four men closely resemble each other?"
You mean because they're all…
The Fox spokesman put his finger on my lips.
You want us to hate Obama because he's…
The Fox guy put his cupped hand over this reporter's mouth. It smelled vaguely of plastic and metal, as if he'd been hacking into phones recently.
"Don't say it," he said. "Just remember it. As long as people do that, Fox is doing its job."