Of the many things liberals hated about Ronald Reagan, few excited more spasms of outrage than Reagan’s use of the image of the “welfare queen.” Reagan gave an example of a person in Chicago who illegally collected welfare benefits under multiple names:
“She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran’s benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000.”
Liberals hooted and hollered and cried “racism!” about this theme, which, curiously, Reagan made in his 1976 campaign, but not in his 1980 campaign.
The Wikipedia entry notes it is probably based on an actual case:
Despite claims that the woman never existed, the story seems to have been drawn from newspaper reports at the time. In 1976, the New York Times reported that a woman from Chicago, Linda Taylor, was charged with using four aliases and of cheating the government out of $8,000. She appeared again in the newspaper while the Illinois Attorney General continued investigating her case. The woman was ultimately found guilty of “welfare fraud and perjury” in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
One thing to note is the asymmetry in media coverage of conservative versus liberal arguments. During Reagan’s presidency the media acted as an adjunct of the Democratic Party, always rushing to the front page or on the evening network broadcasts a story about an individual who would be hurt by a proposed Reagan budget cut. (Not surprisingly, there was seldom any follow up to see what happened to these purported victims.) Aside from the one case referenced in the Wikipedia entry above, the media seldom if ever did stories on welfare fraud, or about any other failure or scandal of government social programs.
And if you need more confirmation that most of the leading lights of the media see themselves as protectors and guardians of liberalism, look no further than this amazing story on Breitbart about how HBO got all nervous about a documentary that casts a negative light on Obama, from, of all people, Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of the former Speaker:
Alexandra Pelosi debuted a video she made for HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” last night. The video shows multiple welfare recipients in New York City proclaiming they were at the welfare office to get their “Obama bucks” and that they supported Obama because he “gives me stuff.” Pelosi reported that people at the HBO headquarters in New York had said to her “you can’t show this” even though just last week they ran a controversial video showing Mississippi voters saying inflammatory things against the president.
To her credit, and to Bill Maher’s, they showed the video and openly discussed how liberals would hate it. Pelosi said “I didn’t have to go far to find ‘freeloading welfare queens.’” They were, in fact, right across the street from her New York City home.
And then, of course, let’s not forget Peggy Joseph’s reason for supporting Obama: