A White House At War With The Media

A few days ago, White House communications director, Anita Dunn, made a rather obvious assertion that Fox News was “a wing of the Republican Party.” That fact shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention. But the fallout from that eruption of honesty was a flurry of accusations that the Obama White House is engaged in an unprecedented war against Fox News. Glenn Beck even thinks that the war is against him personally.

However, this isn’t the first time that a White House has gone to war against the media. The most famous was the Nixon White House who compiled an enemies list that included some journalists. His vice president, Spiro Agnew, famously castigated the press as “Nattering nabobs of negativism.” But there’s a more recent example.

The Bush White House had a presidential counselor named Ed Gillespie. He was also a former chairman of the Republican Party. In May of last year, responding to a question asking why Bush would ever appear on NBC, Gillespie answered “I don’t know why he would.” Not surprisingly, the question was asked by a Fox News anchor, E.D. Hill. Another Fox anchor, Laura Ingraham wondered on air “why would the [Bush] White House agree to do an interview with [NBC reporter] Richard Engel?” This all adds up to a deliberate assault from the White House (and Fox News) on a major news broadcaster.

Fox News is aghast that anyone should challenge their legitimacy as a news operation. They regard the criticism as an effort to suppress their free speech rights. Of course, freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee one a television show (if it does, where’s mine?). It also does not guarantee freedom from rebuttal. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that your opponents will patronize you. Yet Fox believes that Obama and his administration have a some sort of obligation to grace their studios and sit still for some partisan abuse.

I have been advocating for years that all Democrats and progressives stay the HELL off of Fox News (see Starve the Beast). Fox pretends to regard that as inappropriate, but the quotes above demonstrate that they hold the same view in reverse. In fact, in September of 2007, Republicans openly engaged in a boycott of MSNBC. At the time I called MSNBC The Luckiest Network On Television.

So the White House that was at war with the media was the Bush White House. Nobody on the right complained about that at the time. The bottom line is that Dunn was correct about Fox News. They are not a legitimate news enterprise, and should not be treated like one. We can ignore their complaints about the White House waging war against them, because they are so blatantly hypocritical and self-serving. It is long past time to show Fox News for what it is – partisan rightist advocacy – and to behave accordingly.

So I say again: Just stay the HELL off of Fox News. And, note to the media: Call them out for their lies and disinformation. No more complacent toleration of propaganda.


10 thoughts on “A White House At War With The Media

  1. I would actually disagree with you on this one Mark.. My for instances would be when Barney Frank appeared/appears on Billdo’s show..Or when Michael Moore went on Hannity..Why not let a fire brand ie. an Alan Grayson get on Fox and kick them in the stones a few times??? Hannity especially..he seems to be thrown off his script pretty easily.. If we put a progressive bomb thrower loaded with facts on his show he’ll end up in the fetal position…

    • There is still no purpose for such an appearance. It will not persuade anyone because there is no one watching on Fox who has an open mind. So it is wasted effort. Plus it permits Fox to maintain their myth of being fair and balanced.

      In the end it seems counterproductive to me. It helps Fox’s image (and ratings) and changes no one’s mind. What’s the point?

      I say let them drift out to sea without us. We need to marginalize them and treat them like any other lying, sensationalistic tabloid. We wouldn’t cooperate with reporters from the National Enquirer, would we?

  2. How would we have found out about monkey headed space aliens without the National Enquirer??

    • LOL.

      For another reason not to appear on Fox, read my latest post on Marc Lamont Hill.

  3. Starve the beast will work, what are they gonna do, get more nutty faux libertarians like Beck? Although the other day Beck did step back from previous comments about thinking the republicans were just as bad as the dems (saw that coming). They can only play “our truth scares liberals too much” before they turn on each other.

    Still think the hip pocket is murdochs achillies. But he’s gonna have to really be suffering for that to work.

  4. [Comment Deleted] I will not permit this site to be a platform for off-topic and false content.

  5. [Comment Deleted] Seriously, if you can’t contribute to the dialogue, please go away. This is not your link dump.

  6. This whole website seems to be a joke. Time to delete!

  7. Actually this site always seems well researched and was one of very few to avoid the whole beck/rape thingy, kinda points to it’s purpose and integrity.

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