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W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Old 10-21-09, 12:07 AM
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W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.c...B82862A69D6A04

A White House attempt to delegitimize Fox News – which in past times would have drawn howls of censorship from the press corps – has instead been greeted by a collective shrug.

That’s true even though the motivations of the White House are clear: Fire up a liberal base disillusioned with Obama by attacking the hated Fox. Try to keep a critical news outlet off-balance. Raise doubts about future Fox stories.

But most of all, get other journalists to think twice before following the network’s stories in their own coverage.

"We're doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible," a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it “breathlessly for weeks on end.”

“And then you had a couple days of breast-beating from The Washington Post and The New York Times about whether or not they were fast enough on the ACORN story,” the official said. “And it's like: Wait a second, guys. Let's make sure that we keep perspective on what are the most important stories, and what's being driven by a network that has a perspective. Being able to make that point has been important.”

To some media observers, it’s almost the definition of a “chilling effect” – a governmental attempt to steer reporters away from negative coverage – but the White House press corps has barely uttered a word of complaint.

That could be because of the perception among some journalists that Fox blurs the line between reporting and commentary - making it seem like not the most sympathetic victim.

Fox denies its news coverage is slanted, and even White House aides say the network’s top correspondent there, Major Garrett, is a straight shooter. But in its non-news hours, Fox mixes in a steady diet of criticism of President Barack Obama by its prominent conservative commentators Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. It’s a formula that works for Fox, with the highest ratings in cable news.

And in fact, not everyone at the network is complaining at being elevated into Obama’s target-of-choice. Some of the lack of protest from the mainstream press may be driven by the sense that the assault on Fox is actually strengthening the network.

Fox officials didn’t respond to a request for comment. But on Monday night, O’Reilly and former Fox News Washington Bureau chief Brit Hume seemed to be reveling in the attacks by Obama’s aides.

“This is an effort in effect to quarantine Fox News and to discourage other media outlets from picking up on stories that originate here,” Hume said on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “My guess is it won’t work….Look at Glenn Beck, he’s having a field day with this.”

O’Reilly keeps a page on his own website that urges his audience “not to patronize or advertise with” 11 news outlets, including the St. Petersburg Times, the New Yorker, Newsday and MSNBC.

Some see the warring between the White House and Fox as a boon to both sides.

“This is a mutually beneficial deal,” said Paul Begala, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “Fox's ratings keep going up, as they're seen as the voice of opposition to Obama. The Democrats need to do something to excite their base, which is suffering from a case of the blues.”

In the media world, the main reaction to the barrage of Fox criticism by the Obama White House has been less outrage, and more puzzlement as to what Obama’s aides hope to gain by taking on the network so forcefully.

A day after White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said other journalists should no longer treat Fox as a bona fide news outlet, the comments generated only a single, tangential question at the White House’s daily briefing for reporters.

Still, the comments set off alarm bells with some journalists and media analysts.

“I can never remember a White House urging news organizations to boycott other news organizations. That strikes me as unprecedented,” said Thomas DeFrank, a Washington journalist who has covered eight presidents and now serves as the bureau chief of the New York Daily News.

“I see it as bullying a news organization, by the time you get to telling ABC or some other news organization how they should behave to another news organization,” said David Zurawik, media critic for the Baltimore Sun. “Someone should tell them: you’re one branch of government. We’re something else over here. Don’t lecture us about how we should behave towards one another.”

The salvos from Axelrod and Emanuel built on remarks a week earlier in which White House Communications Director Anita Dunn accused Fox News of operating as “a wing of the Republican Party.”

“They’re not really a news station,” Axelrod told ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming if you watch, it’s really not news….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.”

“It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective,” Emanuel said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “More importantly, is to not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization.”

The direct attacks, if leveled at another news outlet or by another White House might have aroused a torrent of criticism, but the flow of outrage from the Washington journalistic set has been more like a trickle.

“In the past, whether it was a Democratic or Republican president who stood up and attacked quote-unquote news organizations, the natural instinct of the Fourth Estate was to rally around and support that entity regardless,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and communications aide in the Clinton White House. “The rest of the press corps winds up being the umpire on that.”

Lehane noted that the Clinton White House did campaign to de-legitimize some news outlets by drafting a “Conspiracy Stream of Commerce” report that traced the progress of anti-Clinton rumors from fringe media outlets to British newspapers to second-tier U.S. papers to major newspapers. However, Lehane said that lobbying was done one-on-one with individual reporters and not from the White House podium, to avoid triggering a backlash.

The Obama White House appears to have concluded that the media is now so splintered that an attack on one is no longer an attack on all. But other political veterans said they were baffled by the White House’s strategy.

“I’ve become more puzzled by the week about what this is ultimately all about,” said David Gergen, an adviser to four presidents who now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School and is a paid contributor on CNN.

“It does seem to me when CNN, MSNBC or anybody else—over the air networks—report on the Glenn Beck-Van Jones fight, that’s legitimate news,” said Gergen, referring to Obama’s “green jobs” czar, who later resigned. “Fox was a player in the resignation of Van Jones…..I think it would be irresponsible to avoid that story.”

At least one prominent Washington journalist publicly embraced the White House’s anti-Fox crusade.

“By appearing on Fox, reporters validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations,” former Slate editor Jacob Weisberg wrote in Newsweek. “Respectable journalists—I’m talking to you Mara Liasson—should stop appearing on its programs.”

Liasson, a National Public Radio reporter who is a regular on Fox News’s “Special Report,” did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

White House grudges against news outlets and individual journalists have a long and storied history.

President John Kennedy asked the New York Times to transfer David Halberstam because of his critical reporting on the Vietnam War.

In 1987, a Newsweek cover about then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, “Fighting the Wimp Factor,” led Bush’s presidential campaign to freeze the magazine out.

DeFrank, then a Newsweek reporter working on the magazine’s campaign book, remembers taking a call from the vice president’s son, future President George W. Bush. “Tommy, I got bad news for you. You’re out of business,” he said.

In 2004, several news outlets, including the New York Times, complained that they were being excluded from Vice President Dick Cheney’s official plane because of dissatisfaction with their coverage. Cheney’s aides denied any purposeful snub.

Tom Rosenstiel, a former Los Angeles Times media critic who now runs the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the Obama team’s explicit, public call for other outlets to ignore Fox was somewhat different from run-ins between past White Houses and specific news outlets. But he said that’s just an indication of a new media age.

“There was a time you could drop a polite line in a meeting in the Oval Office with White House reporters and ice a whole news organization. Not anymore,” Rosenstiel said. “You have to speak in blunt terms to consumers who are making the decision for themselves how much credence to give to things in different places.”

Still, Rosenstiel said no one should doubt that the White House’s critiques have a political agenda.

“You should beware of politicians playing press critic. There’s always an ulterior motive, even if they’re sincere,” he said. “They’re working the refs.”
Surprised no one posted this before... can't say I'm really surprised at what the WH is doing or the press' reaction though.

Last edited by nemein; 10-21-09 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 10-21-09, 12:38 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Pretty frightening, pretty stupid. The Bush WH never went after MSNBC with such earnestness. Could you imagine if they did?
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Old 10-21-09, 01:14 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

The White House needs to issue an official Obama Seal Of Approval. It should be displayed prominently by all "legitimate news organizations".
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Old 10-21-09, 02:39 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

So they are actually blaming Fox News for ACORN?

<img src=http://www.tomllewis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/6-02-fox-news-obama.jpg>
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Old 10-21-09, 03:22 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
So they are actually blaming Fox News for ACORN?

<img src=http://www.tomllewis.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/6-02-fox-news-obama.jpg>
That's pretty damned good.
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Old 10-21-09, 06:57 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Obama/White House are so stupid for taking this stance, as it gives more press to Fox News because of this. I agree with Bob Beckel, a liberal who is a Fox News Analyst, he pretty much said, "If you want to ignore Hannity, O'Reilly, and Beck, they are opinion shows, but the don't ignore the news division, as you are trying to court ALL voters, and you want EVERYONE in this country to hear your point of view.
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Old 10-21-09, 07:39 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Yet another dumb move by this White House.

Reminds me more of the Carter White House every day.
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Old 10-21-09, 08:45 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Glenn Beck is having a field day with this.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/5B2WD0D0nOU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/5B2WD0D0nOU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
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Old 10-21-09, 08:52 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by Hank Ringworm View Post
Pretty frightening, pretty stupid. The Bush WH never went after MSNBC with such earnestness. Could you imagine if they did?
MSNBC was allied with the war effort early on. Plus no one watches MSNBC. If a tree falls in the woods...
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Old 10-21-09, 08:59 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
Glenn Beck is having a field day with this.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/5B2WD0D0nOU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/5B2WD0D0nOU&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>
I'm not going to watch that video if Beck is killing that puppy in it.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:00 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
MSNBC was allied with the war effort early on. Plus no one watches MSNBC. If a tree falls in the woods...
So do you think this was a smart move by the WH?

I really see no good coming from it. None.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:27 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
MSNBC was allied with the war effort early on. Plus no one watches MSNBC. If a tree falls in the woods...
I seem to recall Chris Matthews asking everyone "Is it Vietnam yet?" before we even reached Baghdad. Here's an editorial he wrote in the SF Chronicle in August 2002:

TO IRAQ AND RUIN

As a whole, I think MSNBC played it pretty much down the middle until Summer 2006. By then, everyone was bashing Bush. Olbermann may have been spewing the most bile. But there were very few journalists left in the Bush Fan Club by then.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:38 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

I recall MSNBC firing the VERY anti-war Phil Donahue and bringing in Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough all around the same time.
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Old 10-21-09, 09:46 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
I recall MSNBC firing the VERY anti-war Phil Donahue and bringing in Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough all around the same time.
I don't mean to call you out specifically, but I am really interested in knowing how you (you being a far left liberal) feel about what the WH is doing here.

You're focusing on Hank's analogy about how the left would have been screaming if Bush had done this (which they would have regardless of whether you think MSNBC has a liberal bias or not).

This thread is about what the current WH is doing with regards to trying to shut down oppositional speech. I'm seriously interested in what a liberal thinks about it. (for one, I want to know if they're hypocrits in case a Republican tries it at some point in the future)
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Old 10-21-09, 09:51 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
I'm not going to watch that video if Beck is killing that puppy in it.
Who do you think they are, the panda-killing Del Monte Corporation?
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Old 10-21-09, 09:51 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by mosquitobite View Post
So do you think this was a smart move by the WH?

I really see no good coming from it. None.
I don't think anyone really knows or cares. With O'Reilly, Hannity, and Beck they have gone BEYOND any sort of bias that exists on other outlets.

BTW. Far left?
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Old 10-21-09, 10:33 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
I recall MSNBC firing the VERY anti-war Phil Donahue and bringing in Tucker Carlson and Joe Scarborough all around the same time.
Tucker didn't come in until Summer 2005. They brought in Michael Savage for a few months in 2003.

I don't know the story behind Donahue. At the time, MSNBC ratings were abysmal and shows were getting dropped all the time. His show only lasted 7 months.

I noticed this at Wikipedia:

Despite the show's cancellation, Donahue's willingness to dissent played a critical role in getting the Oprah Winfrey Show to rejoin the anti-war movement in November 2002. In September 2002, Winfrey praised Donahue saying “the bottom line is we need you, Phil, because we need to be challenged by the voice of dissent.”
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Old 10-21-09, 11:49 AM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Yesterday I watched Keith Olbermann talk about Balloon Boy, Rachel Maddow openly support Democratic congressional candidates during a discussion with David Wiegel, and Anderson Cooper was interviewing Eva Longoria Parker.

Lots of news to watch there.
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Old 10-21-09, 01:15 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by coli View Post
Obama/White House are so stupid for taking this stance, as it gives more press to Fox News because of this. I agree with Bob Beckel, a liberal who is a Fox News Analyst, he pretty much said, "If you want to ignore Hannity, O'Reilly, and Beck, they are opinion shows, but the don't ignore the news division, as you are trying to court ALL voters, and you want EVERYONE in this country to hear your point of view.
Unfortunately, Fox's news division is driven by the same editorial agenda as are the opinion shows, much more so than they are driven by actual news.
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Old 10-21-09, 01:38 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
I'm not going to watch that video if Beck is killing that puppy in it.
I won't watch it if he lets it live.
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Old 10-21-09, 01:57 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Wow the true colors here sure shine through. I would have a serious problem with the White House coming out against a pro-Jihadist, pro-KKK, pro-communism, or pro-Nazi news network. I guess that's because I actually value our rights as americans. It sickens me that liberals don't.
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Old 10-21-09, 02:14 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

It doesn't bother you that Roger Ailes sent memos to the newscasters TELLING them what their stance on the Iraq war was going to be? Telling them to be supportive of the war at all costs?

Just watching the network and knowing this information, one can surmise that the network is driven by a certain ideology. MSNBC has Scarborough. CNN has Dobbs. Fox has....a singular position which is dictated to them by management. It scares me that some cannot SEE this.
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Old 10-21-09, 02:18 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

Originally Posted by mosquitobite View Post
So do you think this was a smart move by the WH?

I really see no good coming from it. None.
I don't think it's as big a deal as people are making it out to be. Obama voters by and large agree with the administration's stance, and most won't care if they're even aware of the 'controversy' to begin with. Meanwhile, most Fox News devotees that might care about this despise Obama regardless.

I personally think it would be best if the administration didn't do this sort of thing, but I don't think it's very damaging politically.
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Old 10-21-09, 02:36 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

They have a point on the ACORN nonsense. Either all of the media besides Fox is in on the vast left-wing conspiracy (which is laughable given the corporate media) or the editors and producers all over the country felt it was a marginal story at best.
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Old 10-21-09, 02:47 PM
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Re: W.H.: Media shouldn't follow Fox

You think the ACORN stuff was nonsense?

CNN and others covered it so it wasn't only Fox who thought it wasn't marginal
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