Sunday, October 18, 2009
Picking a fight: White House vs Fox News
By DAVID BAUDER (AP) – 1 hour ago | Associated Press
NEW YORK — President Barack Obama's communications director says it was Fox News Channel, not the White House, that picked a fight.
Yet it was Anita Dunn's words during a CNN interview last week, saying Fox is like "a wing of the Republican Party," that ignited one of the most unusual verbal volleys between a presidential administration and journalists since Vice President Spiro Agnew complained during the Nixon years about the "nattering nabobs of negativism."
Dunn's stance cheered many of the president's supporters who seethe over anti-Obama stories on Fox opinion shows, but has caused a backlash among some who say it exposed the administration as thin-skinned.
White House unhappiness had been building. The president himself said there is "one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration." Fox's coverage of health care demonstrations over the summer, former administration official Van Jones and the community activists ACORN clearly knocked the administration off stride.
The White House blog attacked Fox commentator Glenn Beck for "lies."
"The administration was being attacked, members of this administration were being attacked, policies of this administration were being misrepresented — and that's a generous interpretation of how they were being described," Dunn said. "The reality is that at some point, the administration has to defend itself."
Fox has fought back hard. Network executive Michael Clemente said it was "astounding" that administration critics couldn't distinguish between news and opinion programming.