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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

President Obama Vs. Fox News

Since its inception in 1996, none of the opponents of Fox News knew what to do with the network. It slowly grew, then it took over the ratings lead in 2004. Since then it has grown in ratings nearly non stop and continues to not only be number one but increase it ratings into the present.

Its opponents have done what everyone does to news outlets. They tried to marginalize and pigeonhole the network as a shill for the Republican party. While this has done absolutely nothing to stop their ratings juggernaut, it has made Fox News a lightning rod in the political world.

Often liberal politicians use Fox News as a punching bag to score points with appropriate constituencies. This was best characterized in the last election when during the Democratic Party, John Edwards lead all the major Democratic candidates in boycotting Fox News' debates.

The President has been doing something similar since even before being elected. What's peculiar is that he has continued to make Fox News a punching bag even after he was elected. He did it again today.

In politics, as often in life, perception is reality. The perception in most quarters is that Fox News is a Republican shill. The president said that Fox News is devoted to attacking him and that you couldn't usually find even one positive story about him on the network in any given day.

Like I said, perception is often reality, but the president should make sure that the perception is reality. Fox News probably leans right, but it also has plenty of left voices. Its contributors include Bob Beckel, Susan Estrich (both former presidential campaign managers), Juan Williams, Dr. Mark Lamont Hill, Kirsten Powers, Geraldine Ferraro, Geraldo Rivera, and Ellen Ratner. In fact, whatever failings Fox News has in objectivity, it is much less severe than any of their opponents. At some point, an objective analysis will be done and I would bet that Fox News would be seen as much more fair than any of their competitors.

There is a much more important point here. Republicans have often made the New York Times, NBC, and the MSM in general as a similar. The difference is that all those outlets were losing power. Republicans attacked a fading power.

President Obama has decided to make his political enemy a rising power. By November 2010, Fox News will likely be even more powerful than it is now. By making them his punching bag, he is also taking on a growing audience. After all, any loyal viewer of Fox News is attacked by extension. Is it really wise to take on the media outlet that stands out as the one and only that continues to grow. Elections are decided by only a few million people often and that may just be the growth of Fox News in the next two to four years.

The other troubling part of all of this is that the president continues to make a habit of calling out opponents, real and perceived, by name. Everyone from Rush Limbaugh, to Sean Hannity, to Rick Santelli, to Jim Cramer, and most recently the American Medical Association, have been demonized after butting heads with the president. This appears to be a sign of someone with awfully thin skin. He can't seem to accept criticism and rise above it. He must challenge each and every bit of it. That doesn't bode very well for him over the next four years.


Anonymous said...

Is he following one of the Alinsky rules here - the one about marginalizing?

Anonymous said...

I'll admit, it does appear that a side-effect of the personality politics the Democrats engage in is their standard bearers are very self-absorbed.

That being said, the talk about bias is really what you make of it. I've never really believed in media bias because the vast majority of the charges of bias tend to sound like "you are biased because you do not use my catchphrases and talking points." After all, media bias does not affect the person alleging media bias. If it did, you wouldn't know it was bias. What media bias is really about is what you want people to believe. And when someone is espousing an idea that isn't what you want people to believe, it threatens you because its harder to convince those people you're right because "they saw it on the news."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you've forgotten that NPR has asked Juan Williams to stop associating himself with them when he goes on O'Reilly's show. Apparently NPR considers Williams an embarrassment. Guess they don't consider him very liberal then.

Anonymous said...

you got that Alinsky rule stuff from watching Bill O' Reilly

mike volpe said...

First, I get the Alinsky stuff from my conversations with ACORN insiders though I don't know where the readers get it.

While, some may not believe in bias there is plenty there. You'll notice that the story of Gerald Walpin has pretty much not been covered. It may just take some media sophistication to understand media bias. there's no doubt that most of the press is mostly adoring toward Obama.

As for Juan Williams, he is a liberal, a supporter of Obama, and a fairly consistent defender of his policies. If NPR doesn't think he is liberal enough, that says more about them than him.

Anonymous said...

Walpin wasn't covered because frankly, there's still not enough evidence to suggest wrongdoing by either Johnson or Obama.

At the same time, I don't remember anybody saying anything about Joseph Schmitz or Janet Rehnquist.

In all likelihood, Obama just plain doesn't trust any Bush appointed inspectors general. So I don't necessarily think it was specifically because of KJ (as a Pistons fan, I rooted hard for that guy because I hated the Bulls with a fiery passion). As for McCaskill, the most you can deduce from that is a difference in opinion. Its not like she cited the law, all she did was declare that Obama's conduct didn't conform to her personal opinion of what he should have done.

mike volpe said...

I'm not sure why you commented in this piece. That said, where to start.

First, isn't the Sec of Def a holdover? How important is the Sec of Def during a time of war though?

How much evidence were you looking for since Johnson settled and paid about 400k?

Did you read the report? it's pretty detailed.

There was no difference of opinion. McCaskill flat out accused him of circumventing the law. This is truly tortured logic.