According to The Los Angeles Times, a Democratic political consultant was recently the recipient of a stark warning from the White House: appear on Fox News again and your clients may no longer require your services.
While the White House denied any such warning, the Sunday report by Peter Nicholas notes this particular strategist is just one of several said to have been waived away from the network by the Obama administration.
"The message [from the administration] was, 'We better not see you on again,' said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House," Nicholas wrote. "An implicit suggestion, he said, was that 'clients might stop using you if you continue.'"
The Times report also cited Patrick Caddell, "a Fox News contributor and former pollster for President Carter, [who] said he had spoken to Democratic consultants who said they were told by the White House to avoid appearances on Fox. He declined to give their names."
If the claim is indeed true, it would be another advance in a media skirmish long brewing. Half-way through October, a number of administration officials went on the offensive against the network, calling it "not really a news station" and pointing out that many times it acts as a media arm of the Republican party.
"Last night Fox News continued its disregard for the facts in an attempt to smear the Administration's efforts to win the Olympics for the United States," a White House blog entry states. "In the past, hosting the Olympics has been a source of pride and unity for the country, but once again Fox News' Glenn Beck program has shown that nothing is worthy of respect if it can be used as part of a partisan attack to boost ratings."
"Let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is," the White House's communications director said during a CNN interview in October.
Seemingly in response to reportedly being frozen out of a key interview, Fox News host Chris Wallace resorted to insults, comparing the U.S. administration to Chicago gangsters and playing a clip from the Sean Connery crime film The Untouchables.
As though to contradict the claims, "David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, appeared on Fox News Channel last week to talk about the results of Tuesday's off-year elections," the Times noted. "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also appeared on the network last week."