Obama goes on offensive against Fox News
Update (at bottom): Senior White House adviser says Fox News ‘not really a news station’
This week, the Obama administration quietly announced their intentions concerning a change in behavior towards Fox News, reports the NYT’s David Carr. No longer comfortable ignoring the animosity the news network directs at the president, “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, said in an interview with the Times.
Until a month ago, the conflict between Fox News and Barack Obama only went in one direction. As soon as Obama was in office, promotion and coverage of tax day ‘tea parties’ was aimed at the new president. More recently, the extreme right-wing statements of Glenn Beck drew attention to the infamous network. The discovery of Van Jones’ past activism and the coverage of the investigation contributed to the dislike between both parties.
Fox News Network’s general offensive against president Obama has been paying off: according to Carr, ratings are up 20% this year.
Obama has much more to lose than Fox News. On the campaign trail, one of his hallmark traits was the ability to take the higher road and be above partisan squabbling. “I will listen to you,” he declared after emerging as the victor, “especially when we disagree.”
But the disagreements that Fox News and Obama’s administration have are just too big to overcome. On September 20th, the president appeared on all the Sunday talk shows except Fox News’. As a guest on CNN, Anita Dunn explained, “What I think is fair to say about Fox — and certainly it’s the way we view it — is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party.”
Additionally, the White House has told Fox News not to expect presidential access until at least 2010.
Update: Senior White House adviser says Fox News ‘not really a news station’
Speaking with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, senior White House adviser David Alexrod explained that Fox News is “not really a news station.”
“It’s not just their commentators, it’s a lot of their news programming,” he said. “It’s not news, it’s pushing a point of view. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate, but understanding that they represent a point of view.”
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel also took time on Sunday to criticize Fox News, saying they are “not a news organization, so much as it has a perspective.”
“More importantly,” he continued, “is not have the CNN’s and the others in the world basically be led and following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization.”
“On ‘Fox News Sunday,’ anchor Chris Wallace said the White House had declined to provide a guest,” Politico reported.
This video is from ABC News, broadcast Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009.
This video is from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009.
Stephen C. Webster contributed to this report.