It must be slow in the Capital these days; it seems that although our world is going crazy, the president and his staff have taken time out to wage a media attack on Fox News, making the rounds on all the Sunday morning talk shows, with one glaring exception: Fox. The gloves were certainly off as Obama's team struck back at Fox News, accusing the network of opinionated reporting. Some of the quotes from the barrage include:
Fox is “not really a news station,” said David Axelrod.
Rahm Emmanuel said Fox “is is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective.”
They also urged the other networks not to treat Fox News as a news station because the White House certainly did not think of Fox as news-oriented. A week ago, communications director Anita Dunn opened the White House offensive on Fox on a Sunday show.
"Let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is," Dunn said.
She then stated that Fox was the communications arm for the Republican Party.
The troubling part of this whole scenario: Our government is attacking one of our news outlets, thereby risking one of the freedoms America was founded upon: freedom of the press. No, it's not freedom of the press as long as we like what you are saying.
The cable news networks are highly competitive, and Fox is not only the second highest- watched cable TV network, but it carries 9 of the top 10 cable news shows as of Q1 of 2009. Despite the heavy competition, the White House's attack has actually begun to backfire.
Helen Thomas, the senior White House reporter in Washington (serving from JFK to present) warned the Obama
to stay out of such fights. The Washington Post's blog stated: "Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault."
Some have even called the attack "Nixonian" in nature. However, the White House has an out. If the strategy fails, Anita Dunn can be tucked away easily, as she is expected to leave the administration by the end of the year.
While Fox has not attacked Obama directly, they've unloaded on his aides, especially Dunn. Her statement naming Mao Tse Tung as one of her favorite politicians did not help nor did her speech explaining the censorship-likecontrol exercised during the election. If team Obama felt they couldn't control the message, or the press, they would use YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook to communicate.
While America thought that the Obama Campaign was tech-savvy, it was really just an exercise in message management.