Obama's War with Fox News

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn

The war continues. No, not the one in Afghanistan [although it certainly does], but the one initiated by the White House against the Fox News Channel.

Anita Dunn, “interim” White House Communications Director, leveled the latest blast, calling Fox “a research arm for the Republican Party.” She also attacked what she called “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”

Well, I can understand that complaint. It’s the same one I have about the other news organizations. The difference is this: those other organizations, whether CNN, MSNBC, or newspapers such as the New York Times, allow their predilections to shape their news presentation. Fox makes a clear delineation between its straight news programs and its commentary programs.

For instance, Glenn Beck is clearly a commentator. His show is pure commentary. Yet it is based on solid research. Whenever I watch it, I’m impressed with what his team has dug up. It was really kind of funny a couple days ago when he set up a red phone in the studio as a direct line to the White House, urging the administration to call whenever he gets a fact wrong. I didn’t expect a call to come through. Publicity stunt? Sure, to a degree. Yet the point is this: if he is saying something that is patently untrue, call him on it. Instead of doing that, what we see is the old tried-and-true method of character assassination and an attempt to strong-arm his sponsors to drop their support.

This administration doesn’t like criticism. Chris Wallace, who is hardly a leading member of the “vast rightwing conspiracy,” has called this White House the biggest bunch of crybabies he’s ever seen. What Fox news is actually doing is reporting on things the other media ignore. This is the only station that is calling the administration to account for its radical personnel and policies.

Even normally friendly leftists are lambasting the White House for its “war.” The quite radical magazine, the Nation, says that Obama’s approach has turned him into the “whiner-in-chief.” Is this magazine now part of the conspiracy as well?

Dunn’s background is also interesting. She used to work for former Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle, who was dumped by his constituents a few years ago. For a more detailed treatment of her connections, go here.

This is a losing strategy for Obama. Fox News has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined [you can throw Headline News in there also]. Personally, I’m grateful for at least one media outlet that has remained on the alert.