The White House vs. The Fox
It seems that the battle has ben joined, so to speak. On one side, we have the Fox News Channel and on the other, the Obama White House. There is an interesting cast of characters as well as several interesting observers.
Ms Dunn is the point person for the White House and went on rival CNN on Sunday to launch a few broadsides. She told CNN’S Howard Kurtz that “ let’s not pretend that Fox is a News Network the way CNN is.” That’s a good line to start the assault. But there was more. She said that the way we( presumably the Administration) view Fox is as a wing of the Republican Party . What was almost hysterically funny is a promo that ran during her interview. It was publicizing Anderson Cooper 360 and here is what it said. A woman’s voice says , “I’m a lifelong Democrat and that’s why I watch Anderson Cooper.” The promo continued that Cooper is a person that can be counted on to hold “right-wing” conservatives accountable. Interesting slant on objectivity, is it not?
Ms Dunn serves officially as White House Communications Director and unofficially as the head of the Call ‘Em Out Patrol, aiming to counter what the White House considers wrong or erroneous reporting.
Outside observers from both political persuasions say that the battle the White House has enjoined is not necessarily a wise one. David Gergen, who worked in the Clinton Administration said it is a risky strategy and can easily backfire. Tony Blankley, a former press secretary for Newt Gingrich, agreed, saying that it was his experience that going after a new organization is always a losing proposition. A non partisan observer from Politico, Nia Malika Henderson opined that the administration’s approach would tend to only benefit Fox.
Even the president himself engages in the battle. On September 20, he appeared on five new shows, declining to appear on Fox’s Chris Wallace show. On Sunday, Dunn admitted tat it was a sort of payback. Just last week, Press Secretary Gibbs said Obama would not be on Fox until some time in 2010. Just a few months ago the President told CNBC’S John Harwood that there was one television station entirely devoted to attacking the administration. Bet it wasn’t ESPN to which he was referring.
This all brings to mind a couple of things. One is a quote by Bill Clinton, “Never pick a fight with people who by ink by the barrel.” And what Republican president had a paranoia with the press? Does the name Richard Nixon sound familiar? He would recognize the Obama approach and probably advise even stronger tactics.
One word to Anita Dunn and her folks, check out the ratings for any Fox News show-O’Reilly, Beck, etc and compare to Cooper, Olbermann, etc. The results may be worth your review.
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