Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White House/Fox News Feud Heats Up Over the Weekend

Sunday news shows weigh in on the White House/Fox News drama.
Author: Christine Lakatos — Published: Oct 19, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Since the White House/Fox News feud began, comments, concerns and opinions have been circulating from the media, pundits and politicians. This weekend they intensified, with the Sunday news shows weighing in on the drama. Today, Fox.com: Politics headlined the latest White House strategy, "White House Urges Other Networks to Disregard Fox News", noting that Senior Obama officials took to the airwaves Sunday––the feud heats up!

As I was finishing my opinion piece on this saga yesterday, in the background was Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday, and lo and behold, Wallace was addressing the White House’s attack on Fox News. Wallace opened his show by stating that they wanted to ask Anita Dunn about her criticism, but as usual, ACCESS DENIED! In fact Fox News Sunday has been denied access to any White House official since August. So instead, Wallace's guests included Terry McAuliffe and Karl Rove debating the issue. Karl Rove likened the White House's approach to handling criticism and questions to Chicago style politics, "if you don’t like the questions that are being asked…then you try and demonize…” Rove later added, “they called Fox News a White House enemy.” “That is over-the-top language––we heard that before from Richard Nixon." “And we have this White House prone to that kind of attitude and it’s not helpful. It’s demeaning to the president…”

Meanwhile, other Sunday news show hosts were prepared with their questions, yet they had access to White House officials. David Axelrod, Obama Senior Adviser, appeared on ABC's This Week. George Stephanopoulos played a statement by Rupert Murdoch in response to the "strong remarks" made by the White House, pointing out that the attention has “tremendously increased Fox News ratings.” Stephanopoulos opened up, “that does seem to be true, are you worried that your strategy is fortifying the enemy?” Axelrod reacted, “I’m not concerned. Mr. Murdoch has a talent for making money…” “The only argument that Anita was making is that they are really not a news station…” Axelrod added, "The bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way." "We're not going to treat them that way." But Axelrod did says that they will appear on the Fox News shows––no date set.

White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, where John King asked, why––"I'm trying to get behind the curtain and understand why your White House has decided that it is in its interest to have this, boom, with our rival, Fox News." Emanuel replied by stating that they and the President don't see Fox News as a news organization, emphasizing that they don't want "the CNN's and others in the world to be led in following Fox, " calling them an illegitimate news organization––"in the sense of both sides and a sense of value opinion.”

Will the White House/Fox News feud continue? Or as Anita Dunn recently told The New York Times, Fox News is an opponent, calling it a war, “as they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Interesting discussions this past Sunday, but some questions remain; is this smart strategy by the White House or over-the-top nonsense? Will Fox News behave? Will President Obama or his administration ever appear on Fox News? I report, you decide.

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