Fact vs. Fiction About ‘Obamaphones’

A festering rightwing meme has turned an old, Republican program that benefits private cell phone companies into an Obama giveaway for poor (black) people.

By Erin Zipper Apr 08, 2013

Tea party Republicans have used race to demonize a longstanding government phone subsidy, saying it’s an example of "wasteful spending." But the program’s an important one for millions of subscribers living in poverty. "Without this program, 15 million low-income families would literally be choosing between feeding their children or going without a dial tone," says FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, an Obama appointee. Read Jamilah King’s explanation of how the program became one of the right’s favorite memes about poor, black people—and how, as a result, it finds itself facing the budget ax. Below, Erin Zipper separates myth from reality.