Race, Drudge, and the Obama Phone

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 27 2012 5:46 PM

Race, Drudge, and the Obama Phone

Here I was about to check into the Drudge'd, meme'd, Limbaugh'd video of a black woman saying she loved Obama because he "gave me a phone," and what do you know -- Ellie Reeve has done all the hard work already. The Drudge Report's video, and that woman, referred to a free-phones program that's existed since before Mitt Romney was born.

The universal service program dates back at least to the Telecommunications Act of 1934. The Lifeline program specifically was started in 1984 under President Reagan and was expanded in 1996 under President Clinton to allow qualifying households to choose to apply the benefit to either a landline or a cell phone. So no, it's not an Obama handout.
Shockingly, despite the bipartisan origins of the service, the idea of an "Obama Phone" for the undeserving has existed for a long time.

You know what else has existed for a long time? The Drudge Report hyping up tabloid news that makes black people look like violent dopes who'll do anything for more goodies from Obama. Three years and 11 months ago, Drudge led with an unconfirmed story about a McCain volunteer who'd been "attacked and mutilated" in Pittsburgh, a "B carved into her face" by a black man. McCain himself called the volunteer, Ashley Todd. And then her story fell apart. Drudge (I'm referring to the man and his staff) knows its audience, and knows that stories of Black People Gone Wild will light up the Internet. We've got six weeks until the election, but this will by no means be the last such story on Drudge -- and by extension, around the conservative 'spheres. The trick for Republicans will be to avoid the McCain blunder, and back slooooowly away from this.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.