Perhaps I should just forward this to the Department of Redundancy Department. White House communications director, Anita Dunn, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz and made some rather obvious, though too often unsaid, remarks about Fox News’ role as a right-wing megaphone.
It is about time that the administration articulate what anyone paying attention already knows. The highlight of Dunn’s comments is simple and straight forward:
“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.”
These remarks were in response to an inquiry by Kurtz about previous comments by Dunn that Fox was “masquerading” as news. Kurtz went further to inquire as to whether Obama would appear on Fox again. Unfortunately, she said that he would. That, of course, would be a mistake for all the reasons she just articulated. Fox News is not a news network, and they no more deserve Obama’s presence than does the National Enquirer. Why would they agree to appear on a network that masquerades as news?
In response to Dunn’s comments, Michael Clemente, Senior Vice President of News for FOX News, said:
“An increasing number of viewers are relying on FOX News for both news and opinion. And the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents.”
The problem with that statement is that Fox’s news is as much opinion as their opinion is. Even their top “news” people, like Bill Sammon, Major Garrett, Neil Cavuto, Carl Cameron, etc., are steeped in personal biases to which ethical journalists would never sink. Another problem with Clemente’s statement is that it contradicts Bill Shine, senior VP for programming, who admitted that Fox News is the “voice of opposition.”
Glenn Beck was moved to spend the first 20 minutes of his program on this matter, and another six minutes later in the show. That’s half of his airtime, during which he characterized Dunn’s appraisal as an assault on free speech. Never mind the fact that Obama, and any public figure, has the right to book their own appearances. That does not in any way impose on the free speech rights of Fox News. They can, and do, continue to spew their partisan views. More evidence of this is that Bill O’Reilly also spent about nearly half of his show grumbling about Dunn’s remarks. Beck and O’Reilly are just whining about being left out, the same way Chris Wallace did when he called the Democrats a bunch of “crybabies.”
At one point, Beck makes the ludicrous claim that it is Fox News who is “standing up for the republic and the Constitution.” He later complains that he was corrected by Dunn on a misstatement he made about Major Garret not being called on in news conferences. It was, of course, true that Beck made that statement and that it was false, but he just laughs it off. Then he goes on to make some more mistakes (otherwise known as lies).
Most notable was his mention of Nixon’s enemies list, about which he said, “That whole thing. That was just about who’s not coming to state dinners.” However, Nixon aide John Dean stated the true purpose for the list as “how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.” This meant tax audits, grant availability, federal contracts, litigation, and prosecution. For Beck to so cavalierly lie about what was one the most despicable actions by a leader in our nation’s history says so much about Beck. He probably thinks that the Final Solution was a dish washing detergent.
In the end, Fox’s defense is the best evidence that Dunn’s remarks are are all too true.