Poor Greta Van Susteren. Her Fox News program has lately been lagging in the ratings behind MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” And now she is feeling neglected by the Obama administration.
In a post on her Gretawire blog, Van Sustern has resorted to copious use of BRIGHT RED FONTS WITH ALL CAPITAL LETTERS to express her dismay at being left out of all the reindeer games. She laments that Fox News was overlooked by the State Department when media briefings were held for various news organizations. She whines that this is “playing dirty” and was being done “to punish Fox” for their critical reporting.
Van Susteren: The Administration in what looks like a coordinated effort is denying Fox access to information that they are handing out to other news organizations. Why exclude Fox? That is simple – to punish — to try to teach us a lesson not to pry, not to look further for facts.
Van Susteren fails to disclose that the State Department had previously explained why Fox was not included in previous briefings and press releases. It had nothing to do with punishment. The State Department distributed their information to news organizations that had reporters who were assigned to cover the department. Fox News has no such reporters so they didn’t get on the list. In fact, Fox has a shoe-string news operation that doesn’t concentrate on actual reporting. Most of their “news” assets are allocated to anchors, analysts, and pundits, who are not doing any bona fide journalism. In short, the State Department had no one to notify and they weren’t going to send notices to everyone with a Fox News email address.
The administration would, nevertheless, be justified in bypassing Fox even if they did assign a reporter to the beat. Contrary to Van Susteren’s kvetching, Fox has not been “looking for facts” about the Benghazi attacks. Rather, they have been wallowing in speculation and wild conspiracy theories. Fox anchors and guests have dispensed absurd declarations that President Obama had deliberately allowed Ambassador Stevens to be murdered; that he personally ordered rescuers to stand down; that he refused requests for additional security (actually it was congress who voted to cut funding for embassy security); and that he could be subject to impeachment for unspecified high crimes and misdemeanors.
None of these assertions have any bearing in fact, but that doesn’t stop Van Susteren from yammering about Fox getting a cold shoulder from the administration. Fox deserves to be shunned. They are not a credible news enterprise. They are no more entitled to press passes than the UFO Gazette or the Hogwarts Herald. If Van Susteren did a little self-analysis before ripping into her imaginary slights by Obama, she might be better situated to complain. As it is, her post includes a curious admission/excuse for Fox getting the facts wrong:
Van Susteren: To the extent we get anything wrong is because the Administration is doing whatever it can to thwart us from getting the facts.
On the contrary, it would be more correct to say that to the extent you deliberately distort the facts, the administration is under no obligation to help you continue to get everything wrong. Van Susteren is, incredibly, blaming Fox’s mistakes on Obama. Nobody forced Fox to wade so far out into delusional speculation. In fact, based on their body of work, it appears to be their corporate mission. And the administration can hardly be criticized (or accused of punishment) if they should be reluctant to further that mission.