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Friday, October 23, 2009

The White House Vs. Fox News: The White House Loses

Yesterday, I believe, was the game changer in the war between Fox News and the White House. The Treasury Department made Ken Feinberg available to the White House press pool. The press pool is made up of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox News. They share the costs and so keep costs lower. The Treasury Department made Feinberg available to all of the press pool but Fox News. The rest of the press pool said if there's no Fox News the whole pool wouldn't do the interview. The White House relented.

The implication of this is huge. Inherently, the other networks are saying that the White House is wrong and Fox News is a network. It also means that the rest of the news networks aren't necessarily going to roll over and fold like some conservatives assumed in this battle. In fact, it appears the rest of the media sees this not as a battle of liberals versus conservatives but the media versus the White House. As such, the White House appears to be putting themselves out there against the entire media.

The New York Times had a very revealing article about all this. Here's the pertinent portion.

We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organization,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the deputy White House communications director. Later that week, White House officials said, they noticed a column by Clark Hoyt, the public editor of The Times, in which Jill Abramson, one of the paper’s two managing editors, described her newsroom’s “insufficient tuned-in-ness to the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio.” The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, had already expressed similar concerns about his newsroom.

This is a startling admission from the White House. They've just admitted that their characterization of Fox News as not necessarily a news organization as nothing more than a cynical ploy. In fact, what the White House was really worried about was that the rest of the media was beginning to notice that their inability to catch the stories that Fox News was catching (Van Jones, ACORN, etc) was hurting them. The White House was worried that if this trend continued the MSM might start to make a habit of reporting on the news that Fox News covers and that scared the White House.

Only then did the White House start to suggest that Fox News isn't a real news station. They followed this assertion with the suggestion that other news stations shouldn't then follow their lead in covering stories. All of this most of us suspected and now the White House, in a stunning bit of hubris, has confirmed.

The story now has legs as it continues to evolve and change. The White House has officially lost. They tried to bully the press and the press stood up to them. Furthermore, it was members of the MSM that dug deep and got the truth out of the White House and the White House even admitted that this was nothing more than a cynical ploy to marginalize a news organization that ran stories that embarrassed the White House. All of this was not only cynical but totally incompetent.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The White House proved that Fox is allied with the Republican Party, and that the rest of the media has been taking their cue from Fox.

I don't know of any definition of the word losing that involves accomplishing one's objectives.

Anonymous said...

The White House challenged the media's ability to cover the White House like the media wants to, rather than the way the White House wants them to. The White House lost because the media realized their independence was threatened, somewhere down the line, and circled the wagons around Fox. I don't think the media did this out of any love or affection for Fox, but because the White House press corps wanted to continue to do its job as it sees fit. If Fox is allied with the Republican Party (a statement that could only be made by someone who never watches Fox), then MSNBC is even more so -- bought and paid -- for by the Democrats. Lovely symmetry. And for the White House, instant karma.

Anonymous said...

This was a surprising one time unity of the major media sources. We will see if the White House can do its usual and divide them again. For the moment, however, the Obama Administration has egg on its face and looks petty and childish.

Anonymous said...

"The White House proved that Fox is allied with the Republican Party, and that the rest of the media has been taking their cue from Fox."

If this is an actual privately held opinion and not part of the executive branch blogging brigade's work, this country is hopelessly balkanized. By the time the left realizes they are building the foundations of Winston Smith's world, it is going to be far, far too late.

AngieBee said...

The above comment just shows how the Kool-aide drinkers will defend anything Obama does. This administration is trying to make us over in the image of Venezuela or China, and I hope it continues to blow up in their faces.

Meadowman said...

The White House gave America a hint of what is coming if we give Obama an inch in controlling the media. This gang is not used to, and will not tolerate dissent.

Meadowman said...

Obama lost this round; America won by getting a taste of what will happen to free speech if we give Obama an inch.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you can say they won "YET". I hope they don't......Yet. The longer this "war" goes on the worse the White House looks and the more they are exposed. This is what happens when people who FEEL they are oppressed get power ......they oppress.

oatka said...

Anonymous, what are you smoking?

Anonymous said...

For all the talk about Obama the dictator, why is it I'm always hearing conservatives talking about how people shouldn't be allowed to do things they disagree with?

Anonymous said...

Now we're hearing word that the entire premise of this story is false. Fox was not excluded, they specifically declined to participate.

mike volpe said...

You may be hearing it but you don't provide a source. That's very hard to believe. That was supposed to be a five minute interview. I doubt Fox News wouldn't want to do it. Second, that would have had to have been quite a conspiracy in order to present it as something different. So, I am suspect of what you are saying.

Anonymous said...

At least all the liberal media outlets are blasting all over about the "war" between Fox and the Obama White House. This is about censoring free speech... the slippery slope is starting with the Treasury Dept. exclusion for a press meeting. Fox is not Republican. It is conservative. Monopolies are boring and do not benefit us (as the voters, consumers, etc.) So if Fox goes under from a totalitarian-minded government that is in the White House RIGHT NOW, we need to remember with our votes. The presidents are not gods... we got over that way back after the Age of Enlightenment... we don't want to go back into the middle ages!