Free Markets, Free People

Not Smart …

In terms of any sort of media strategy, I really don’t get this - the White House has chosen to take on Fox News as some sort of enemy of the administration?  Why?

Anita Dunn, communications director at White House had this to say on CNN’s “Reliable Sources”:

“If we went back a year ago to the fall of 2008, to the campaign, that was a time this country was in two wars that we had a financial collapse probably more significant than any financial collapse since the Great Depression. If you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election what you would have seen were that the biggest stories and the biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and a something called ACORN.”

Now I have to admit not remembering it that way at all. What I do remember is that Fox was about the only news channel who mentioned Ayers or covered the ACORN shenanigans.

However, the “biggest stories” she complains about were mostly covered by opinion shows like Hannity, not the news arm of Fox. And I don’t think that Hannity has ever claimed to be anything but a conservative commentator. Finally, it seems that other news organizations should have been following ACORN a little more closely, given recent events.

Dunn goes on:

“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 is not ideological… what I think is fair to say about Fox, and the way we view it, is that it is more of a wing of the Republican Party.”

“Obviously [the President] will go on Fox because he engages with ideological opponents. He has done that before and he will do it again… when he goes on Fox he understands he is not going on it as a news network at this point. He is going on it to debate the opposition.”

Translation: When he goes on Fox he’s likely to have journalists actually ask him hard and probing questions. When he goes on all the other networks, he expects softballs pitched by fawning sycophants. This explains why he avoided Fox when out doing his 5 Sunday show tour pitching health care.

“[Fox is] widely viewed as a part of the Republican Party: take their talking points and put them on the air, take their opposition research and put it on the air. And that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news organization like CNN is.”

This is simply stupid in terms of a strategy. You take on the most viewed cable news network, insult it, claim it’s not a news organization” and almost dare it to prove you wrong. Where could such an organization better prove itself than going after the White House? Sure, it might give Dunn and others more fodder for silly statements like those above, but it could also lead to some real problems if journalists actually get a bit mad about being characterized as shills for a political party. They may actually begin to dig for dirt, and as I’m watching this circus of an administration unfold, there is probably going to be a bunch of dirt to be dug.

I’m not sure what Dunn thought she’d accomplish with such statements, but they’re the type that can come back to haunt you. Smart people don’t purposely antagonize and insult news organizations. Sure they may feel exactly as she says they feel, but the only thing that happens when statements such as her’s are made public is to spur those who are insulted to prove her wrong. And one of the best ways to do that is to break some big stories that cast the administration in a bad light.

I suspect we can expect Fox to make such news a fairly big priority since the White House has declared war on it. You certainly can’t expect it from the other “news organizations” as they’ve all proven time and time again.

~McQ

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6 Responses to Not Smart …

  • It shows the incredibly abysmal quality of everyone and everything running inside this White House. From the head stinkfish on down, everything sucks: the Chief of Staff sucks, the Czars suck, the director of Health Care (Linda Douglass) sucks, and everything else sucks. So, in short, it all sucks. They have no plans for anything – so far, everything has a “by the seat of your pants” quality. They were caught wholly unprepared for August and the town halls and Sarah Palin’s death panels; they have been caught unprepared for the media meltdown; they were caught unprepared by their failure to do anything substantive on Capitol Hill. And what is their response? “Fox is mean to us. Boo hoo.”

    It is like Chris Wallace said – and Kirsten Powers repeated this weekend: this is the biggest bunch of crybabies ever to sit in the White House. George W. Bush got more bad press from all segments of the media (including Fox) in one week than The Clown™ has gotten in 9 months, and yet all we hear from these crybabies is whining and moaning and complaining and carping and “Fox News said something bad about us.”

    Can someone explain to me one thing: aren’t liberals in the least embarrassed by a President who wants to talk to Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-Il and the Taliban but not to Fox News? Are they not realizing that The Clown™ is all hat and no cattle?

  • bring it on baby, bring it on :)

    (going to make the popcorn)

  • I figure that the producers at FOX are very happy at this turn of events, as it will add to their ratings for as long as the administration wants to drag this fight out, and will shine a spotlight not only on media bias at FOX, but at other networks as well.

  • Sounds like someone at the WH has forgotten the old chestnut about not picking fights with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

    Get a clue, Anita; you cannot win this no matter what you do.

  • A few weeks ago someone commented that the White House was acting like Scott Erb. On the face of this is pure Erbian projection.
    Unfortunately, there is a portion of the population that beleives it.

    Since there is only one news organization that might actually let someone investigate the administration, it makes political sense to poison public opinion against them as mush as possible. But now Obama, like Erb, must make sure as few facts as possible see the light of day. Can he argue in generalities for three years straight? Maybe. Erb couldn’t, and he’s not even in a position where he has to show leadership.

  • James Marsden has already made one point: this president and his White House are a bunch of crybabies. They absolutely cannot stand any HINT of criticism: if you aren’t telling TAO how wonderful he is every moment, then obviously you’re an enemy (probably racist, too).

    Other points:

    1. The filty dems got the idea back in ’04 that the reason they lose is that they don’t fight back hard enough. Clearly, they’ve taken that lesson to heart. The NYT* has an article today that spells out the dems’ strategy for the mid-terms: attack, attack, ATTACK! They’re even fact-checking SNL, fer cryin’ out loud. See also the praise that the scumbag from Florida, Grayson, has gotten for openly saying that the Republicans’ health care plan is for people to die quickly. Facts and truth don’t matter to liberals: shrillness and phony outrage are all that count.

    2. I suggest that this isn’t JUST about Fox News, though they are the primary target. Let’s recall that TAO and his thugs have whined about MiniTru in general being “unfair” to him. By b*tching so openly and pointedly about FNC, the White House is doing four things:

    (A) Deflecting attention from their own incompetence, screwups, embarrassments, boners, gaffs, AND agenda. “DON’T pay attention to the health takeover debate! DON’T pay attention to bumbling in A-stan! DON’T pay attention to that Nobel TAO got for… um… for… er… Well, don’t pay attention to it! DO pay attention to how nasty Fox News is!”

    (B) Putting FNC on the defensive: they hope that FNC reporters will be a bit more (ahem) SELECTIVE in what questions they ask TAO or his pudgy mouthpiece, Gibbs.

    (C) Putting the rest of MiniTru on notice that what happens to FNC can happen to them. Jake Tapper and ABC, take note!

    (D) Setting up the “evidence” that some media outlets aren’t actually “media”, and therefore are NOT covered under the First Amendment and can hence be censored or outright shut down by the government. cf. Hugo Chavez and the media in Venezuela.

    3. The White House tried this a few months ago with Rush. Didn’t really work out so well for them. However, they’ll keep trying.

    4. The White House is signalling to its stooges in MiniTru that it’s dogpile on FNC time. Just as CNN had regular “features” about Rush earlier this year that were nothing less than “Two Minute Hates”, they’ll do the same with FNC.

    5. The White House and MiniTru are trying to control public opinion by manufacturing it. Look for polls and “man on the street” interviews about how biased and untrustworthy FNC is. “If you watch FNC, you aren’t getting THE TRUTH!”

    We shall see how it works out. My guess is that it will merely broaden the partisan divide that already exists in the country. I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s impossible for left and right to reach agreement because, not only do they not share the same PHILOSOPHIES, they don’t even share the same REALITIES.

    —–

    (*) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/12/us/politics/12caucus.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss