Axelrod, Emanuel: Fox 'not really news'

Former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove has compared President Barack Obama to former President Richard Nixon, saying the Obama administration's feud with Fox News is proof the White House is creating a Nixonian "enemies list" that "demeans" the office of the president.

"This is the White House engaging in its own version of the media enemies list," rove told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. "It's unhealthy for the country and undignified for the president of the United States so to do."

Wallace had invited Rove and longtime Democratic Party operative Terry McAuliffe to discuss the White House's de facto boycott of the news network ever since the Fox network failed to broadcast the president's speech on health care to Congress last month.

"Fox News carried the speech to the American people," Rove said, pointing out it had been the broadcast network, not the news network, that failed to carry the speech. "There are objectionable things said on MSNBC, every network. ... That ought not be the standard that a White House decides to demonize a news channel as an enemy. They called it a White House enemy. That is over-the-top language. We heard that before, from Richard Nixon. ... It's not helpful. It's demeaning to the president."

Last week, White House communications director Anita Dunn said Fox News "often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican party."

Since then, Fox has been on the defensive. On Friday, Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Fox network, said the White House's campaign against his company was boosting its ratings.


But that hasn't stopped Obama administration insiders from pressing the attack. On ABC's This Week, senior White House adviser David Axelrod told host George Stephanopoulos that Fox News is "not really news."

"Mr. Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money," Politico quoted Axelrod as saying. "The only argument Anita [Dunn] was making is that they’re not really a news station if you watch even — it’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming.

"It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view,” he said.

That talking point was echoed by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on CNN's State of the Union Sunday.

“It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective, and that’s a different take," The Hill quoted Emanuel as saying. "And more importantly, it’s important not to have the CNNs and the others of the world being led and following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization."

This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast Oct. 18, 2009.

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This video was broadcast on ABC's This Week on Sunday, October 18, 2009, and uploaded by MediaMatters.