A Warning To Democratic Consultants

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the White House has threatened Democratic consultants that they could face consequences if they continue to appear on Fox News:

“At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration.”

If this actually occurred it would be a positive step in support of ethical journalism. Fox is indeed a political opponent and an overtly partisan enterprise. It makes no more sense for Democrats and their colleagues to submit to the open hostility of Fox than it would to sit down with “reporters” from the Republican National Committee.

However, this article by Times staffer Peter Nicholas is somewhat less than edifying. In the very first sentence Nicholas veers from responsible reporting by saying, “At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House…” At least one? Then how many at most? Nicholas doesn’t say. Neither does he reveal the identity of the single strategist. In short, Nicholas hasn’t told us anything at all that he can support. This is just an anonymous source who may have an unstated agenda and who doesn’t even bother to identify the White House aide who allegedly issued the warning.

Further casting doubt on this story is that it later quotes former Democratic consultant, Pat Caddell, who has gone on to become a Fox News contributor and frequent guest of Glenn Beck. This suggests that the anonymous source may be from the same school of phony pundits that gave us Caddell and fellow Fox mouthpiece, Dick Morris. In typical Fox fashion, Caddell expanded on the assertion that the White House is intimidating consultants, and went further to allege censorship.

“I have heard that they’ve done that to others in not-too-subtle ways. I find it appalling. When the White House gets in the business of suppressing dissent and comment, particularly from its own party, it hurts itself.”

Caddell joins with Nicholas here to plant unsupported allegations about things that he has “heard.” And Nicholas accepts Caddell’s refusal to offer anything more substantive. But what’s truly appalling is his claim that dissent is somehow being suppressed. Even if there were a warning to avoid Fox, that doesn’t suppress dissent in the least. The consultant can still go to any other news enterprise and complain to their heart’s content. The only thing the admonition as to Fox concerns is the desire to prevent Democratic operatives from being exploited by a right-wing propaganda outfit.

Nicholas does include a response from the White House communications director, Anita Dunn. She told him that, not only has there been no edict to avoid Fox, “On the contrary, they had urged people to appear on the network.” Nicholas also points out that President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, is scheduled to appear on Fox Monday with Greta Van Susteren. While it is comendable that Nicholas offers this balance, it doesn’t change the tone of the article that explicitly criticizes the administration for anonymously sourced behavior that is not proven and which is directly denied by named White House sources.

Personally, I would welcome an official policy to embargo Fox News and to punish Democrats who cooperate with them. That is not likely to happen in any public way. So in the interim, it would be nice if reporters like Nicholas would at least report stories about this matter honestly and accurately. Is that too much to ask?


3 thoughts on “A Warning To Democratic Consultants

  1. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
    John 10:10

    • “You travel ten thousand miles to save my life and leave me to be butchered.”
      – Robin Hood

      “Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there.”
      – Jeremiah 7:8-11

      “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”
      – Lao Tzu

      This is fun.

    • Seriously, are you going to post bible quotes for every article posted here?

      “You are lame”
      vin 1:1

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