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The War On Fox News: Fox Gaining Allies?

Posted by Mats on 25/10/2009

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In the continuing saga of the White House taking on Fox News, it appears that Fox is gaining allies.  First we have of all people Helen Thomas pointing out the foolishness of taking on fox.

From the Weekly Standard:

Well, it’s not the first time the Grande Liberal Dame of the press corps has had words for the Obama White House, but today Helen Thomas is voicing more unlikely sentiments by telling the White House attack dogs to heel in the Fox News fight.

In an interview with MSNBC, the columnist — who is promoting her new book on presidents and their campaigns — also stressed the White House ought to “stay out of these fights.”

“They can only take you down. You can’t kill the messenger,” said Thomas, who has covered every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.

Then shocker or shockers The New York Times chimes in:

The New York Times also joined the chorus of folks telling the White House to chill this weekend. The Grey Lady may be in danger of being labeled a “wing of the Republican Party,” for using such uncharacteristically sharp language in criticizing the president, but I’m sure they’ll scrub the offending parts when the White House rings. In the meantime, enjoy:

Even though almost all the critiques contained a kernel of truth, in each instance the folks who had the barrels of ink, and now pixels, seemed to come out ahead. So far, the only winner in this latest dispute seems to be Fox News. Ratings are up 20 percent this year, and the network basked for a week in the antagonism of a sitting president. ...

It could all be written off as a sideshow, but it may present a genuine problem for Mr. Obama, who took great pains during the campaign to depict himself as being above the fray of over-heated partisan squabbling. In his victory speech he promised, “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

Or not. …

Tactics aside, something more fundamental is at risk. Even the president’s most avid critics admit he exudes a certain cool confidence. The public impression of him is that if anyone were to, say, talk trash on the basketball court with Mr. Obama, he would not find much space for rent in Mr. Obama’s head. …

People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of power dynamics to “punch up “ — that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a “truth-o-meter” against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify. As it is, Reality Check sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue.

The American presidency was conceived as a corrective to the royals, but trading punches with cable shouters seems a bit too common. Perhaps it’s time to restore a little imperiousness to the relationship.

The Nation at CBS also had a few words:

The Obama administration really needs to get over itself.

First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox Newsbecause the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.

Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.

These are not disconnected developments.

An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants.

Finally we have our favorite closet conservative Jake Tapper pointedly asking White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about not calling Fox News a news organization.

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC –

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

Could it be that some in the fringe media are waking up to the fact that now that they sold their souls to Obama, he expects them to do his bidding and freeze out Fox News?  Surely they are starting to realize that if Fox goes down [ain’t gonna happen], they with their lesser ratings could easily be next.

As I stated before, going after Fox News is foolish. Just like when the administration tried to go after Rush Limbaugh, it blew up in their face and gave Rush a bigger audience.  The same will happen to Fox News especially now that the electorate is souring on Obama.

By the way did you notice the time slots that Gibbs referred to? Are Beck and Hannity the ones that give the White House the most gas?  Beck already has a couple of notches on his belt from ousted White House members and he seems to be itching for another one. Hannity is clearly gunning for that wacko safe schools czar Kevin Jennings.

Allahpundit at Hot Air, believes that the White House wants to “contain” Fox News. Allah states the administration is worried about stories that start out on Fox often spreads to the other news organizations.  While there is some truth to that, a bigger part of Fox News stories spreading has a lot to do with the Internet. It was mainly Fox and the net that opened the Van Jones, ACORN and NEA stories up to a wider audience. Only after that big spread did the fringe media finally pick up on it.

One Response to “The War On Fox News: Fox Gaining Allies?”

  1. Let me just ask what your definition of “a war on Fox News” is.

    The White House hasn’t denied any of their reporters credentials, and hasn’t tried to take Fox off the air. They just don’t feel like sitting down and having to deflect massively spun questions, distortions and half-truths from what they’ve rightly described as the propaganda wing of the GOP.

    (As for this current mania for calling this whole thing “Nixonian”? Look up Roger Ailes’ background sometime.)

    This “war” is entirely in the drug-addled mind of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. The White House’s “attacks” are to merely say “nope – don’t want to be interviewed by you.” The remainder of their input is to explain this reasonable policy, when asked. It’s Fox making the actual attacks.

    So, how is this a war? I’m just curious.

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