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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is This the White House' Fox Strategy

Buried in the administration's multiple inflammatory statements on Fox News may be their strategy in all of this. In fact, Anita Dunn, David Axelrod, and Rahm Emanuel made hints at it in their statements. Here's the pertinent portion from Axelrod.

The bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate, but understanding that they represent a point of view.

Axelrod was talking to George Stephanopoulos of ABC. The key part is "news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way". The media is both competitive and collaborative. It's competitive in that each wants to break the story first and the best story. It's collaborative in that as one news organization breaks a story that, if the others deem it so, becomes a story. The rest follow. So, Drudge was the original source of breaking most things about Monica Lewinsky but soon enough it became a story that the rest of the media covered. On the other hand, most of the media ignored the ACORN videotapes, Van Jones, and most recently Kevin Jennings.

So, what Axelrod, and Emanuel and Dunn also made similar statements, is saying is that the rest of the media should ignore the stories that Fox News is working on because in their estimation they aren't a news organization. So, as Fox News continues to highlight radicals like Kevin Jennings the White House is urging the rest of the media not to do their own stories on the issue.

We have a current Fox News story that is the perfect example of this. There's vide of Anita Dunn praising the former Chinese dictator Mao. This is a story that Glenn Beck first broke. It's found its way to a lot of the Fox News programming. It would be terribly embarrassing if this video began to be played in a loop. That's what happened with Reverend Wright.

Now, generally, the rest of the media has ignored stories covered by Fox News. It's one reason why Fox News is number one. The White House is attempting to give the rest of the media the go ahead to continue this policy in earnest. If you take their first statements in which they suggest that Fox News is not a news organization and combine them with statements in which they suggest that the media not treat them that way, then the conclusion I come to is that they're signaling to the MSM to totally ignore stories that Fox News is working.

Some might wonder how this would be different than it is now. It's actually not that clear. This is for all intents and purposes the policy they've had. The administration appears to want to give the Presidential stamp of approval to this policy.


Anonymous said...

Apparently Axelrod has no idea how utterly retarded he sounded in that interview...he asserts that FNC isn't a real legitimate news channel...then in the very next breath he refers to "OTHER news organizations"....which has the effect of nullifying all he had previously alleged.

Robbins Mitchell

Anonymous said...

Since you're so fond of "Tom Cruise in the military" movie references, how about one from A Few Good Men. Where after his witness kills himself, the only way Tom Cruise can prove the conspiracy is if Jack Nicholson confesses on the stand. He knew Nicholson didn't think he did anything wrong and resented having to cover it up.

The same goes with Fox. The White House managed to get Fox News to admit to something it didn't realize it was a mistake to admit: that its prime time talk shows are biased. Leaving aside for the moment that Bill O'Reilly has been denying his show is biased for years (No Spin Zone and all that), by admitting bias in its talk shows, Fox has provided us all with a baseline to which its news programming can be compared.

In addition, Fox has legitimized the Democrats' criticism with a reply. You can debate your opponent, you can denounce them as crazy persons unworthy of your time, but you can't do both.

mike volpe said...

Firs of all, you won't hear me quote from Taps because I didn't like that movie all that much. So, it's a little bit of a mischaracterization to say that I like Tom Cruise in the military movies. I do, however, love both Top Gun and A Few Good Men and so your quote is fully appropriate.

That said, Fox news didn't admit anything is a mistake. There's a difference between hard news and opinion. With MSNBC's Olbermann, Maddow, Schultz and Matthews line up, how exactly are you going after Fox News.

There's nothing wrong with an opinion show that comes from a certain political perspective as long as that's clear. Sean Hannity doesn't pretend to be middle of the road and then attacks all things liberal. He says he's a conservative and then attacks all things liberal. Glenn Beck identifies himself as libertarian and doesn't hide his disdain for President Obama.

That said, there are plenty of hours besides those for hard news. Shep Smith, Bill Hemmer and Bret Baier are all playing it straight.

You are picking at a scab that isn't there.