Free Markets, Free People

White House Wants Compliant Press

I‘m still wondering what the upside is for the White House in this fight it is picking with Fox News.

We’ve seen Anita Dunn, White House communication’s director take them on, obviously at the behest of and at least with the tacit agreement, one assumes, of the President. After all, he’s been known to complain about Fox and theirs was the only Sunday show on which he refused to appear recently. Now we have David Axelrod throwing out the same nonsense:

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.”

“I’m not concerned,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” when George Stephanopoulos asked about the back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News.

“Mr. [Rupert] Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument [White House communications director] Anita [Dunn] was making is that they’re not really a news station if you watch even — it’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming.

Of course what that network covers are things that the other networks would prefer not to cover – the ACORN scandal being the most recent story they attempted to avoid. And Fox has presented the other side on the “health care reform” story – giving Republicans a voice in telling the story that they’re not afforded on the other news networks.

I’m sure this does indeed rankle the White House because Fox, unlike the rest of the media isn’t a compliant lap dog for the administration. It makes waves when it reports the other side.

And I love how Axlerod denigrates “making money” as if CNN and MSNBC are in the charity business – although compared to Fox, they may as well be.

The White House apparently feels it must marginalize Fox for a reason. And the only reason I can come up with is the White House feels it is hurting it’s agenda. To me the most telling remark about Fox came when Dunn said that when President Obama goes on Fox he believes he’s debating the opposition.

I thought that’s what all real journalists considered themselves – the opposition. Now, apparently, journalistic worth is measured by the White House as how compliant you are and how willing you are to carry water for them.

It isn’t Fox that should be ashamed.  It is CNN and MSNBC who, when referring to themselves, should find it more and more difficult to use the terms “news” and “journalism” with a straight face and without turning beet red with embarrassment.



44 Responses to White House Wants Compliant Press

  • Aside from throwing red meat to the base, there’s nothing to be gained here.

    Obama is just a whiny little b*tch who can’t stand for anyone who dares to oppose him.

    Pres. Thinskin can’t take it. Poor baby.

  • It’s merely a “distraction”

    • Idk. They aren’t that whimsical over there as we’d like to think. At least not in execution. There’s a purpose to this.

      I’d guess it could be for a range of purposes including to help galvanize the troops for a upcoming push for a ‘fairness doctrine’ attempt.

  • By Axelrod’s definition, CBS, NBC and ABC aren’t news stations, either, since much of their programming has nothing to do with news.

    And how much of MSNBC is strictly news and not commentary?

    • Its in the eye of the beholder.

      MSNBC and CNN have always dressed up their opinion/talk shows as news to feign objectivity and in hopes for a return of the fairness doctrine.

      “Looks like a news program. Says its a news program. It must be a news program.”

      • Matthews, Olberman, Schultz and Maddow are “dressed up opinion/talk?” I’d hate to see it undressed.

        • I was thinking more along the lines of the Situation Room (Cafferty comes to mind) and the outside of primetime shows like CNN Newsroom, etc. Lots of editorial disguised as banter or news reports, imho.

  • This is roughly the equivalent of what Chavez has tried to do to the opposition media in Venezuela. And it is perfectly consistent with Obama’s FCC “diversity czar” Mark Lloyd’s conception of the media — another inmate of the Obama asylum only reported on by Fox.

    If you haven’t been watching Glenn Beck then you probably don’t quite get what motivates these attempts to silence and/or discredit Fox. He has been exposing — with their own statements — the radical views of key Obama appointees. The latest of those being Anita Dunn herself for a speech to high school students just last June in which she pointed to Mao Tse-Tung as her favorite political philosopher. She has now tried to say she was just joking — watch the video and see if that holds any water. It’s embedded here:

    Note that according to Roger Kimball, Dunn isn’t just a White House goofball, she’s a member of Obama’s inner circle.

    Glenn Beck/Fox gave wide exposure, as McQ noted, to the ACORN scandal. Beck was also mainly responsible for the ousting of Van Jones (a lunatic Communist who Obama had appointed as the “Green Jobs Czar”), and his coverage also led to the firing of that guy at the National Endowment for the Arts who was soliciting artists to support Obama’s political agenda.

    This isn’t going to get any prettier. I always said, watch what this guy does when his approval numbers start to tank. He’s trying to silence and/or discredit a major media company as his enemy because it gives full voice to opponents of his radical plans and the people he has put in place to enact them.

    I do think that Glenn Beck is a little crazy, but crazy or not, he has been doing very close work on who and what the Obama presidency really is, and he is the main reason that Fox News is being attacked by the White House.

    I’ve said before I don’t believe that the normative terms of American political discourse are adequate to the task of describing what Obama is up to, and I think that it’s time to find the right terms with which to describe it. And by that I don’t mean stating the obvious, that it is riddled with Marxist and socialist thought and deed. I mean terms that begin to ask what these people are capable of.

    “Just get the power Barack.”

    • I’d say if it wasn’t for Beck, Obama administration wouldn’t be concerned about FoxNews at all.

      Imho, FoxNews is 2-3 people away from being a placebo for the right.

      • Nah … Obama has been complaining about Fox since he was a candidate (Hannity in particular).

        • Hannity was definitely an obsession for Obama during the campaign, but I don’t recall him specifically targeting all of Fox News. He did do a long interview with Bill O’Reilly that ran over a series of nights.

          But apart from Obama, the Left has long had a puss on about Fox News, and I’m sure that it was just a coincidence that leading up to the overt White House hit job there were anti-Fox comments all over the place in the media, including in one of the regional newspapers around my area where there was a bit of an anti-Fox drumbeat leading up to the White House outburst.

          You’ll remember that Hannity’s crime during the campaign was to focus on Wright, Ayers, Phleger, Rezko, etc., all the associations that suggested what we are in fact now getting. (Don’t forget that Hannity does three hours of radio every weekday, so he’s not exclusively a Fox talent.)

          Beck’s crime is that he has found everything predicted by the Wright, Ayers, Phleger axis reflected in the Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Mark Lloyd, etc. axis inside the administration and has connected it with the ACORN/SEIU freicorps phenomenon.

          In the normative understanding of American political discourse, Fox is the big winner in this. But watch what Obama’s next move is.

          As you can see from the reaction of the resident zombie here, the subject must always be turned quickly back to Fox with the usual liberal horselaughs, when the subject is really the White House attacking a news media organization that has opinion program hosts who are conservative and quite naturally oppose the Obama agenda.

          In days of old, of course, attacking freedom of the press was tantamount to an attack on the most sacred values that the secular Left held. But note how the zombie averts his eyes.

  • Also, this:

    “White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.””

    In response to that I would say that, well, the Obama presidency isn’t really an American presidency, and that you have to look, again, to Venezuela for a model that fits. Or maybe beyond Venezuela.

    And about Axelrod himself that he isn’t really a senior presidential adviser but rather a political propagandist.

    • Fox doesn’t disguise their talk/opinion shows as news. But Axlerod is trying to transform that difference into a slam. He’s also setting up for Fox getting a healthy dose of ‘Fairness’ since news shows are exempt but political talk/opinion are not.

  • This is roughly the equivalent of what Chavez has tried to do to the opposition media in Venezuela

    Correct. And The socialists in Germany, and Russia, as well. And Cuba.

    And ponder this:If the White House was under the control of a Republican, and said Republican Tried to exert as much control on the press as Obama has done as a matter of routine since taking office would be seeing the press standing up against him. The New York Times would be breaking every law in the book to try and dethrone said Republican President. Sense, however, we’re talking about a Democrat whose minions aspire to emulate Mao, and the press becomes a nice little lap dog.

  • All people with the political bent of this administration need an enemy that is holding them back. If they don’t have one they will invent one. It is the only way to cover for their failures.

  • Stop wondering what the “upside” is to The Clown™ fighting with Fox News.

    It is something I have been saying for years: the Left wants free speech, but only if it is speech that they agree with. If you dare say something that does not jive with their limited world view, or sounds – need I say it? – “racist,” then as far as they are concerned you do not have the right to say anything. And the Left will punish you.

    Unfortunately for the Left, the Internet and the 24 cable news channels (yes, even CNN and MSDNC) have been forced to cover stories like ACORN and Van Jones, and the rest of this maladministration’s little foibles and scandals. The cat is out of the bag, so The Clown™ can diss Fox News, he can ignore Fox News, and he can try to harm Fox News, but all he will get is push back and more “in your face” of what he is trying to stifle: free speech.

    It is that simple. Ask me – I have family members who think that way, and have told me so to my face.

  • Maybe he’s picking a fight with Fox news because his attempt to pick a fight with Limbaugh ended so well for him?

  • Keith Olbermann can rest at night knowing that FoxNews will make sure his job at MSNBC is there is the morning.

    Excuse me while a laugh my guts out

  • Fox is so absurdly biased that it is more like a propaganda network than serious journalism. But it does give Jon Stewart hilarious absurdities to mock, and I guess that makes Fox good for something. Otherwise, it’s the station for conservatives who don’t want their biases and pre-dispositions challenged to watch. It’s “special” news.

    • Fox is so absurdly biased that it is more like a propaganda network than serious journalism. And of course, I don’t need to cite anything to support that because I decree it. So does the rest of the left. So you dense righties just need to suck it up and admit it.

      I mean, just look at how often they get things wrong! They doctor photographs to support their viewpoint. Oh, wait, that was Reuters. Well, they publicize fake documents to take down politicians they don’t like. Um, well that was CBS, I guess. Oh, I know! They run with fake quotes on media celebrities who disagree with them. Oooo, that was CNN, wasn’t it? But they blow up pick up trucks to sensationalize a documentary! Oh, dear, that was NBC. Ah, they have a reporters who is a plagarist and they let him get away with it for years because he fits a stereotype! Gosh, I just rechecked and that was the New York Times.

      But it does give Jon Stewart hilarious absurdities to mock. At least, we wise leftists in the faculty lounge who are smart enough to get his jokes laugh at him. I guess that makes Fox good for something. Because Jon is a wise leftist who knows better than to mock serious and professional news organizations like Reuters, CBS, CNN, NBC, and the Times.

      Otherwise, Fox is the station for thick righties who don’t want to admit that we wise leftists have the whole world figured out to watch. It’s “special” news. You know, for dense and thick people like the ex-military basket cases who post around here.

    • trollin’ trollin’ trollin’

      • Of course he’s trolling, JWG.

        If Fox is so biased, I’m sure that Erb can come up with 5 examples of this bias.

        Think you’re up to the challenge, Erb? Five examples of actual news stories (not from commentary programs). Show us the story as aired on Fox, where the bias is, where it is factually incorrect, and how other networks covered the same story.

        If you can’t do that, then your claim that Fox is propaganda is completely unsupported.

        For the record: I don’t watch Fox. I don’t watch any network news. But it’s highly inappropriate for the government to be openly criticizing a news network.

    • Indeed Scott, I remember Stewart’s mocking of FOX over the ACORN stuff very well…..oh wait a minute, he didn’t mock FOX, he ripped the rest of the media for being AWOL on the story.

      Darn that faulty memory!

      At any rate, I agree with you. I don’t believe we should trust any network that doesn’t fact check SNL comedy skits. We have standards to adhere to you know.

    • Hey, Scott, is Jon Stewart your idea of fair and balanced comedy?

      If I had to guess, I’d bet that you don’t watch, or have hardly ever watched, Fox News and that all you know about it is what you get from Stewart and Keith Olbermann and Butch Maddow.

      Glenn Beck, for instance, whatever his shortcomings, has an incredible sense of humor and, though he isn’t doing a comedy show by any means, he is often funny as hell, and much more naturally humorous than Stewart, who is a bore by comparison.

      • For many years I’d heard people rip on Glenn Beck, usually putting him on the OReillyBeckLimbaughHannity list of evilbadrightwingpropagandists.  I had never seen him or listened to him.  When the whole White House vs. Fox thing blew up, I actually watched a few episodes, to see what all the fuss was about.
        Yes, he’s quite nerdy in his delivery and I found his Socratic/sarcastic style a bit tedious.  Also, as a libertarian, I disagree with him on a number of things.  But I was impressed that he zeroed in on  Mao Ze Dunn and Van Jones, and wasn’t shy about labelling the administration as sympathetic to socialism, reminding viewers about how that political ideology had such a huge human toll.  Usually, commenters pull their punches whenever “communism” or “socialism” is mentioned, for fear that the eye rollers will pass them off as paranoid Cold Warriors or McCarthyites.
        Contrast him with Neal Boortz, who is more libertarian and sensible on a host of issues, but who stupidly balks at using the “socialist” label, because he thinks such an accurate term will turn off people.

    • “It’s “special” news.”

      Uh, yeah, Scotty baby. But, then again, you are special.

      Special ed.

      But, off course you don’t watch Fox News. Anything that requires an IQ in double digits is way over your head. Why twist your panties in a knot when you can just watch dimwitted news shows on MSNBC and other “faux” networks? After all, these “networks” tell you each night that Obama is doing a fantastic job, things are improving daily in the economy, the deficit is no big deal, and the world loves us again – despite the fact that no one with a brain believes any of these things.

      • That comment was written just like someone who watches Fox news would write. No content except personal insults, no real points, just emotion and frustration. Fox on the right and MSNBC on the left offer similar sorts of slants that a serious viewer has to take a pass on. Since my current research looks at media, blogs, and how different groups create alternate realities (and then feed on like minded media, and try to protect themselves against alternate perspectives through various ‘thought police’ methods), I do find this fascinating. It also explains how people can believe in absurdities — like establishing democracy in Iraq would be easy, that Afghanistan was “won,” that the economy in 2006 was in excellent shape. A classic example was how the libertarian analyst Peter Schiff, who got things pretty right on the economy, was ridiculed and laughed at by folks like Ben Stein and Arthur Laffer, who were protecting an obviously absurd economic fantasy. This happens left and right, and that’s commitment to ideology and bias by all sides which hampers our ability to pragmatically deal with the problems not just the country, but the globe in general faces.

        • As usual, Scott, you are disturbingly unaware of what goes on around you. For years now the Left has referred constantly to Fox News as “Faux News.”

          And the criticism leveled in the comment you are responding to (which includes the use of “faux” to describe MSNBC is, whether intentionally or not, a mirror image of the sort of rhetoric used to attack Fox.

          As for your blabbering on about actual debates on policy, that’s another issue, and a diversion from the fact that Obama is attacking a media organization that he perceives as an enemy, much as Nixon did in secrecy and Chavez does openly.

        • Scott – see the challenge issued to you above. Put up, or shut up.

        • No Scott. It’s written like someone who sees through your endless layers of BS.

    • On the one hand, there are an inordinate number of people that actually believe the claim that Fox is biased and the MSM is serious journalism.
      But I do see some hope in Erb agreeing with the administration.

      Like many new to Scott’s writings I initially gave him the benefit of the doubt, assuming an honest difference of opinion. After a time it became clear that facts had no effect on his ‘reasoning’. Just like the administration, he insults the other side for not offering anything to back their claim, while ignoring the fact that his initial claim had no basis to begin with and he offered nothing to back it up. Then he throws out this as an example of the right-
      “It also explains how people can believe in absurdities — like establishing democracy in Iraq would be easy”. No one ever claimed establishing democracy in Iraq would be easy, and he knows it. The claim was that it wasn’t impossible to establish democracy in Iraq.

      And so it is with this administration. No one who spends a few minutes fact-checking has any reason to believe them. The real questions are: A) how many of the people that gave Obama the benefit of the doubt last year will bother to spend any time on independent research, and B) if the administration will ignore reality as often as Erb does, expanding the chances of being caught in a lie.

  • I think jpm100 and Martin McPhillips are right: this is another step in TAO / the dems’ push to effectively take over the media. Not that there’s much work for them to do: most of the media is more compliant toward dems that Goebbel’s ministry of propaganda was toward the nazi party. But Fox and talk radio… They must either fall in line, or else they will be made to fall in line. Since enough people still have some tiny pangs of conscious about a “fairness doctrine” and how it just MIGHT be a teensy-weensy conflict with the First Amendment, the dems have to downplay and demonize outlets that don’t toe the line. Rush, therefore, is alternately and entertainer or a hatemonger. FNC isn’t “really” a news outlet. Therefore, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them.


  • While I’m sure that Barack Obama, Nobel Laureate, wouldn’t mind a “compliant press”, I pretty much don’t see the current activity as their main mission.

    Their mission is to tie FoxNews up with defending itself, that they aren’t looking at what is really ging on in Washington.

    Today’s FoxNews coverage spent a fairly large period of time talking about this “meme” but not as a “meme”. Clearly, the less that FoxNews viewers know about the various White House and Congressional flim-flams, the happier those flim-flam artist will be.

    • This is when I started getting down on FoxNews. They are reactionary not just when attacked, but on issues in general. They reflect the Republicans in that sense that they react to things initiated by the left.

      They rarely do anything that isn’t topical or in the headlines already. Barring Beck sometimes, they don’t find stories, they react to them.

      There’s a void that FoxNews fills, but they fill it poorly, imho.

  • Isn’t one of Alinksky’s rule “isolate it, target it” or something?

  • More evidence that the White House is not only interested in controlling its message (what White House ISN’T interested in that), but went to rather extraordinary lengths to do so:

    President Obama’s presidential campaign focused on “making” the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was “controlled,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn disclosed to the Dominican government at a videotaped conference.

    “Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control,” said Dunn.

    “One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters,” said Dunn, referring to Plouffe, who was Obama’s chief campaign manager.

    “We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it,” Dunn said.

    As Michael Laprairie notes as Wizbang, “… that kind of media control doesn’t happen without the willful consent and participation of the news media itself.”

  • Good Leftists are notorious for seeking to silence opposition to their plans.

    Any attempt by government to criticize Leftist media is rebuked as having at the least a “chilling effect” on free speech and a free press.

    When a Leftist government goes after media, however, it’s…let’s change the subject. Watch Erb in this thread for that. Once again, with his invaluable assistance you can see exactly what you are dealing with. It’s like having a small goldfish pond stocked with Leftist deceptions and distractions in your backyard.

    • You’re dead right. I haven’t seen Tim “Chill Wind” Robbins opening his big yap for awhile now.

      Wonder why?

  • Ms. Dunn is such an attractive ane effective spokesperson though.

  • I confess I skipped over most of the comments above. Has anyone commented on the fact that it’s Rupert Murdoch who owns both Fox and the WSJ, each of which has excellent ratings, and each of which is doing better and better in the current environment?

    I was disappointed when Murdoch bought the WSJ, and I have noticed a popularizing of its content, but if he’s using his press power (and pretty much unlimited “ink”) to bedevil The One and his cohorts, then who am I to complain?