20 October 2009

The War on Fox

The Obama administration has declared FoxNews organization non grata. When confronted about it by ABC News' Jake Tapper the following exchange occurred:

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say

Gibbs: ABC -
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

There is a lot of debate about whether FoxNews' coverage is skewed, but no more than for CNN or MSNBC. The White House is setting a bad precedent here.


A.J. said...

As much as it is the right of any new organization to ignore glaring facts and present one-sided arguments, I think administrations have the right to have an opinion about them and do as they see fit (including ignore them). This is not precedent being set by the current administration. Every administration has done as they please with the media outlets. It is kind of like my decision to not watch the news on TV because it is mostly useless and not fact based. Instead, I am spending that time reading your blog ;)

Jlowryjr said...

Thanks for the comment AJ.

I would say the precedent is new in that it is so overt. It was clear that the Bush administration preferred certain outlets over others, which is nothing new, but no recent president has taken the most widely watched or read organization and essentially blacklisted it because they are not in agreement with their views.

It seems a poor decision politically because if 50% of the Cable news viewing public watches Fox, and the president refuses to go on, he limits his ability to get his message across. It is as if he says to that portion of the population that he isn't interested in communicating with them. And Congress is following suit, cutting Republicans out of health care negotiations and creating one of the most partisan legislative environments, even more so than the 2006-08 period.

Are Republicans being partisan? Absolutely. But the in targeting Fox News the president is not changing people's minds about him or the network. He is furthering the damaging us-vs-them mentality that pervades politics today.

I don't like to watch TV news either, and I loathe most opinion shows on TV, but every network has them (Olbermann, Sanchez, Dobbs, and of course the Fox crew) and every network puts spin on their coverage. For all its faults the Bush administration never blacklisted an entire network.

And thanks for reading!

A.J. said...

Sorry to go back to this, but ...


Watch the comments about how the Bush administration did the same thing to MSNBC. "Precedent" set before Obama in office ...

Jlowryjr said...

I watched, but didn't really see where the Bush administration did the same thing. The Fox issue is an overt exclusion of the network, to the point that the administration tried to keep them out of a pool-fed news briefing.

Why are you making me think about last week's issues? Geez.

A.J. said...

My mistake ... I forgot we are the generation of short attention span ;)