It’s strange to see a presidential administration openly attacking a news organization for criticizing them and, in a country whose mainstream media is notorious for its liberal partisanship, White House characterizations of Fox News as being somehow unique in “having a perspective” produced gales of laughter in some circles.
Open fights between incumbent presidents and the press have not typically worked out favorably for the first. Remember Richard Nixon? So why was the sophisticated and professionally skilled Obama administration doing this?
The Politico explains, it’s all about containment. They are advancing a rationale the MSM can use to marginalize Fox News, so that the establishment liberal media can pretend to righteousness while sitting on stories Fox is covering which are disadvantageous to the Obama Administration and the left.
A White House attempt to delegitimize Fox News â€“ which in past times would have drawn howls of censorship from the press corps â€“ has instead been greeted by a collective shrug.
Thatâ€™s true even though the motivations of the White House are clear: Fire up a liberal base disillusioned with Obama by attacking the hated Fox. Try to keep a critical news outlet off-balance. Raise doubts about future Fox stories.
But most of all, get other journalists to think twice before following the networkâ€™s stories in their own coverage.
“We’re doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible,” a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it â€œbreathlessly for weeks on end.â€
â€œAnd then you had a couple days of breast-beating from The Washington Post and The New York Times about whether or not they were fast enough on the ACORN story,â€ the official said. â€œAnd it’s like: Wait a second, guys. Let’s make sure that we keep perspective on what are the most important stories, and what’s being driven by a network that has a perspective. Being able to make that point has been important.â€
To some media observers, itâ€™s almost the definition of a â€œchilling effectâ€ â€“ a governmental attempt to steer reporters away from negative coverage â€“ but the White House press corps has barely uttered a word of complaint.
That could be because of the perception among some journalists that Fox blurs the line between reporting and commentary – making it seem like not the most sympathetic victim.
Fox denies its news coverage is slanted, and even White House aides say the networkâ€™s top correspondent there, Major Garrett, is a straight shooter. But in its non-news hours, Fox mixes in a steady diet of criticism of President Barack Obama by its prominent conservative commentators Bill Oâ€™Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Itâ€™s a formula that works for Fox, with the highest ratings in cable news. …
(F)ormer Fox News Washington Bureau chief Brit Hume seemed to be reveling in the attacks by Obamaâ€™s aides.
â€œThis is an effort in effect to quarantine Fox News and to discourage other media outlets from picking up on stories that originate here,â€ Hume said on â€œThe Oâ€™Reilly Factor.â€ â€œMy guess is it wonâ€™t workâ€¦.Look at Glenn Beck, heâ€™s having a field day with this.â€
Their intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking, but I don’t think this is really going to work. The MSM already thought Fox News was illegitimate, and was already happy to spike any inconvenient news stories it thought it could. The MSM will only pick up a story damaging to the left (examples: Monica Lewinsky, ACORN tax fraud advice) when it has already achieved a kind of critical mass which makes it impossible not to cover it. Only the New York Times has the arrogance to bury anything it doesn’t like anytime.