Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Obama Declares war on Fox

We are all familiar with Obama's distaste for dissenting opinion when it comes to the media. Back in his 2008 campaign for President, the Obama campaign left reporters from The New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, and The Washington Times on an airport tarmac. The Post and Times are noted for their conservative bent and all three were guilty of endorsing John McCain. Once those endorsements were announced, reporters from each of these newspapers were left out in the cold.

ABC News reported at the time that "The campaign says that a limited number of seats forced it to make the tough decision of which journalists would be permitted to follow the Democratic presidential candidate in the last four days of the campaign, but the papers are calling foul, claiming they were targeted for their editorial-page positions and kicked off while nonpolitical publications like Glamour and Jet magazines remained on board." It would seem any news publication would have a stronger case to stay on board than Glamour.

Even before Obama was elected there was talk of restoring the "Fairness Doctrine" that had silenced conservative voices for decades until Ronald Reagan reversed the policy in the 1980s, leading to the rise of Rush Limbaugh and others. Obama says he favors consensus, the kind of consensus that only comes from controlling the media.

The Obama Administration is at it again and is now declaring war on the Fox News Channel and many in the media are weighing in.

The "war" against Fox came from pretty high sources in the Administration with White House communications director Anita Dunn describing a new, aggressive, press strategy regarding the network. PRNewser reports on, and has video of White House communications director Anita Dunn's strategy which "she explained in a straightforward slam of Fox News Channel during an appearance on CNN's 'Reliable Sources,'" stating "Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," said Dunn. "Let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is." The senior aide added, "What I think is fair to say about Fox, and certainly the way we view it, is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party."

Reports of the White House attack is drawing comments from around the news industry. Time Magazine's James Poniewozik discusses what the Administration has to gain from such an approach, "Of course, it's possible that the Administration is simply making the case because it believes that it's right and Fox News is wrong. But politically, you would think that the White House seeks to gain something from a fight, since Fox News probably is." There is little doubt that Fox loves the attention, and many of my friends with the network have brought Obama's attack to my attention and the personalities themselves discuss it on the air. With Obama's rapidly shrinking numbers, why would not Fox want to be the place to go if you are unhappy with the Administration?

There is certainly a concern that the White House is going too far in its stance. The Orlando Sentinel's Hal Boedeker writes that "Maybe the White House should get out of the press-critiquing business. It's never been a wise move for any White House. The complaints come off as whining. The White House certainly should stop condescending to Fox News, which is a slap against that channel's fans. The smarter move would be for Obama to engage. Why doesn't he put his smooth, unflappable style to the test on Fox News?"

Even liberal publications have echoed a similar concern. The Nation's John Nichols thinks the strategy is weak from both a political and historical perspective: "Whether the grumbling is about Republicans on Fox or bloggers in pajamas, there's a word for what the president and his aides are doing. That word is 'whining.' And nothing -- no attack by Glenn Beck, no blogger busting about Guantanamo -- does more damage to Obama's credibility or authority than the sense that a popular president is becoming the whiner-in-chief."

With the other major news media being little more than a microphone for an increasingly unpopular Administration, voters are going to look for an alternative. Obama and his staff have made it easy to identify where to go to for that.
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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