Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why the White House Will Lose It's "War on Fox News"


White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said this on CNN: "If you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest stories and biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and something called ACORN. I mean, the reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party. And it's not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are conservative, liberal centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about Fox and certainly the way we view it is really that it is more a wing of the Republican Party."


Wow. I was a FNC viewer in the fall election, and I remember it a bit differently. McCain was routinely criticized, especially his actions during the financial collapse. Obama was covered as the untested "phenomenon." Of course he received a higher level of scrutiny, on Fox, at least. He was much more of an unknown. He was heavily criticized by Sean Hannity, but got a fair interview from Bill O'Reilly. The biggest threats to America FNC reported on were the global financial crisis, Al Queda, Iran, and North Korea. ACORN turned out to be a bigger scandal than FNC was reporting at the time, so maybe Ms. Dunn shouldn't have brought them up in her statement.


Speaking of which, wasn't much of the rest of the "elite" media getting spoofed for being "in Obama's pocket" on all the comedy shows? What if we "flip" Director Dunn's statement: "If you were a MSNBC viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest stories and biggest threats facing America were a guy named Rush Limbaugh and something called FOX NEWS. I mean, the reality of it is that MSNBC often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Democratic Party. And it's not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are liberal, conservative centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about MSNBC and certainly the way we view it is really that it is more a wing of the Democratic Party." Wow, again. If I was president, I would sooner hire Dennis Miller as my White House Spokesman than let any of my staff say that (whether I believed it or not)!


It looks to me as if the WH is "projecting" their relationship with MSNBC onto Fox News. If I remember correctly, Pres. Bush had a few "problems" with FNC during his WH tenure. When FNC, or even Limbaugh would criticize the administration, they sent out people to respond. They also sent people to MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the major news outlets, on a regular basis. This administration's "boycotting" of FNC is a bad move, politically. If this kind of statement is what they're putting out to the rest of the media, they're shooting themselves in the foot.


This is part of a bigger picture, of course. There is revived talk about restricting speech on talk radio, and the internet. At this point, I'm starting to see a pattern to this administration: lot's of talk, and no action. I doubt they'll have the ability to stay off of Fox News Channel until the end of the year (as they've advised FNC), much less bring back the "fairness doctrine." FNC is not going to stop covering the news, whether the Obama Administration gives them any interviews or not. There are too many "big news" things on the OA's plate for them to deal with the whole "free/critical speech" issue. As it is, it looks like they're farming it out to people who think nothing of insulting millions of people, in an official capacity. Many FNC viewers happen to be some of the same people who are protesting in opposition to his health care initiative, which makes the statement seem even more political.


All administrations take media criticism, and they usually have to respond to it, sooner or later. Eventually, others in the media will ask the questions being asked now on FNC, as happened during the campaign. Remember that? George Stephanopoulos got criticized for asking Obama a question about Bill Ayres. It was said that he got the question from Sean Hannity, and maybe he did. So? It was a legitimate question, to such an "unknown" candidate. The media "backlash" to the question is more telling than Obama's actual response to the question. These media people know how to stick to the script: Demonize Fox, Rush, Hannity, Beck, and all of the people that listen to them.


I'm OK with that. As a conservative, I'm proud to be "demonized" for who I listen to (and used to it). MSNBC and CNN are FNC's competitors, and they're getting their clock's cleaned in the ratings, so it's understandable. Watching the administration "echo" these criticisms is fine, too. They're not exactly "making friends and gaining influence" with this tactic, while the "opposition" is gaining exposure, and growing. It's taking more "political capital" for the OA to get anything done, every passing day, and the days turn to weeks, then months. Let's see how long until an administration official shows up on Fox again. My money's on "before the new year."


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