Fighting a Losing Battle

The White House continues its crusade against Fox News Channel — but others are sitting up and taking notice

Jake Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one – (Crosstalk)

Robert Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC --

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

That was the exchange today between Jake Tapper of ABC News and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Tapper, of course, was referencing the ongoing battle between the Obama White House and Fox News Channel, the latest salvo in which included a charge by the White House that Fox News was “not a news organization.”

Gibbs’ conduct and candor is extremely telling. By specifically mentioning–by time slot–Glenn Beck’s 5:00 p.m. show and Sean Hannity’s 9:00 p.m. show, Gibbs was arguing that it was the network’s opinion shows which make Fox News “not a news organization,” and provide the root of the administration’s criticism.

Yet MSNBC and CNN have opinion shows as well. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was fact-checking a Saturday Night Live parody of Barack Obama’s ineffectiveness, for crying out loud. And MSNBC has Keith Olbermann’s Countdown and Rachel Maddow’s eponymous program, not to mention Chris Matthews and his magical tingling loins. It’s only because Blitzer and Olbermann and Matthews and that lovely young man, Maddow, fawn over the administration and whitewash any bad performance or news that the White House is not denouncing those other news organizations as well.

Going after Fox News in such an overt manner is a big mistake for two reasons, especially considering the good faith efforts taken by Glenn Beck in particular to open up his opinion show to the White House for the purpose of fact-checking and correcting any mistakes.

First, the press protects its own, even among factions that fundamentally disagree on everything. The mainstream media may be in the tank for Barack Obama, but there’s only one thing the press values more than a far-left president — and that’s the freedom to do what they do. In that respect, to some degree media organizations are like NATO; blatant attacks on one will only be tolerated so much by the others. That’s why we see statements from people like David Gergen and Donna Brazile and others on CNN and MSNBC denouncing the White House’s continued war on a sister network.

Second, the political consequences could be devastating. David Carr of The New York Times is right to point out the historical context of administrations which have successfully engaged and prevailed over the media. He is also right to point out the practical consequences of the increased attention, noting that ratings at Fox News are up by 20 percent.

The current media environment is just as telling as are Robert Gibbs’ comments. The Boston Globe has been in epic financial trouble. The New York Times just today cut 150 jobs, and has stayed afloat in the past through shifts in its real estate holdings. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News have declared bankruptcy. And ratings at MSNBC and CNN are plummeting. Conversely, talk radio audiences are expanding, and ratings at Fox News Channel have never been higher.

Most Americans who choose to pay attention and even get involved know when they’re being sold a bunch of nonsense. Most can tell, at some level, when they’re being obviously lied to, and when the shortcomings of this administration are being glossed over. We’re seeing that in the popularity of conservative and libertarian Web sites, as well as the ratings boom seen by talk radio and Fox. What we’re seeing from the White House is a group of people who simply cannot discern between campaigning and governance, and who are hastily going down the road to implosion.

And I, for one, will be waiting and watching. On Fox.



  1. John Feeny says:

    I love this. I mean, I LOVE it.

    Fawning leftists who for the better part of the past decade have trivialized the Fox network as 'sensational','liars', and 'Fixxed' are being, in a sense, 'forced' to confront the possibility that Fox is merely an objective news organization that reports what is happening. As with many things in life, the truth sometimes hurts.

    The best part of this, at least from where I sit, is watching the potential pyschological mess unfold in the minds of the intellectual elitists who may, after all is said and done, have to face up to the fact that they've been ideologically duped and have become the very thing that they have always claimed to despise.

    Kinda sounds like Anakin Skywalker, doesn't it?

    Sorry about the movie reference. Couldn't help it.

  2. OLD MCDONALD says:

    My opinion, that entire White House is BS. We need to show up with shovels.

  3. Anonymous says:


    A woman arrived at the WH party and while scanning the guests,
    spotted the attractive host standing alone.

    She approached him, smiled and said, "Hello. My name is Carmen."

    "That's a beautiful name," he replied. "Is it a family name?"
    "No," she replied. "As a matter of fact I gave it to myself.
    It represents the things that I enjoy the most – cars and men.
    Therefore, I chose Carmen. What's your name?"

    He answered "B.J. Inlimosengolf"

  4. D.A.Gust says:

    Props to Tapper for asking, and to Jeff for writting this article.

    - BUT -

    All that remains is silencing the critics.

    - -

    To us this is like a silly game being played by third graders, due to our knowing what we know and believe what we believe, but in reality it is much more than a mere game.

    It's the beginning of the end of time fight for the right. If we loose, the wolrd will be a dismal place.

    Once there are enough people convinced that FoxNews is "junk reporting", silencing them will be easier.

    "Fairness Act"

    Everywhere, as in Huffpo, MSMBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, NYtimes, and the list goes on. If the location is not right-wing, they are standing with the Obama admin on this issue.


    (Huffpo)Fox News has defended itself …by saying the White House has confused news & pundits… "But the network constantly, misleadingly disparages Obama and his administration in its supposedly straight reporting."

    I have read many of 'these type' articles today.

    Remember we are the chior, so please don't assume the truth is getting to the masses, because it's not. How many hits to this site today?

    "The only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!" – Edmund Burke

  5. NO BRAINS AT 1600 says:

    Another Mao lover in the White House… the jobs czar who calls capitalism crap…. this makes real sense.

  6. Lilly says:

    Great post Jeff! I've always said that FOX is center right but the others are so far left that FOX just looks like really right news.
    I think this "ignore FOX" thing that the White House is pushing maybe because the red phone isn't ringing. They can claim they didn't know about it because they were ignoring Beck!

  7. Anonymous says:

    To John Feeny and Jeff,

    I love this "stuff" too! I listen to Fox on the radio and watch it almost every night on TV. I especially like Gleen Beck.
    Beck is brillant! Just last year (when Bush was President and pushing the bailout), Beck was on CNN and said "the $700 billion that you`re hearing about now is not only, I believe, necessary, it is also not nearly enough, and all of the weasels in Washington know it."
    Today he is on FOX and his views have changed completely.
    Beck is a hired gun. The guy is very good (like Jeff). I find it intersting that there are americans who actually buy this crap.
    I can't believe you are serious when you say FOX is a "news channel".


  8. Anonymous says:
  9. TWO BUCK CHUCK says:

    No hope for Chuck.

  10. Rix says:

    If Fox News is "not a news agency", can they at least get to the birth certificate issue? I am sure Glenn Beck, even though he has plenty of material to pound on, could find an hour.


    Chuck- Put done the koolaid and take a deep breath!

  12. Anonymous says:

    lovely young MAN maddow,heehee

  13. goddessdivine says:

    The administration is like a bunch of 4th graders: whining that they are being picked on. What a bunch of babies.

    Fox is the only news network I trust.

    That's one thing I admired about Bush: Even though the majority of news outlets slammed him constantly, he sucked it up and took it like a man.

  14. Carrie says:

    While I agree demonizing FoxNews like this is wrong, I caution those who faithfully follow that network as being totally right on. If they are so right, then why won't they touch the Natural Born Citizen issue as it relates to Obama's dual citizenship at birth? FoxNews is far from perfect…remember they are owned by somebody who's interested in making a buck or two. Like it or not, that tends to color the news being reported.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Fox has its problems too, but when you look at the others MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CNN…and know how they were in the tank for Obama all through the election and that has been statistically proven and now Fox is still the only station telling you who really is in the White House with Obama and what many of us knew before he got to the White House – he is and has been a carding carrying socialist leading the way through Change to a revolution which will allow Communism to thrive. Look at the number of people in his Csars and who surround him who have affiliations to Socialism:

    His mentor was Frank Marshall Davis who was an avowed member of the Communist party.
    He admired and emulated Saul Alinsky.
    Valerie Jarrett whose father-in-law worked with Miles Davis and was a member of 4 communist organizations in Chicago.
    David Axelrod was part of the Chicago crowd and worked on a newspaper for Canter and Rose both know Card Carrying Communists – the Hyde Park Kenwood Voices a communist party newpaper.

    In March 1996 Barrack Obama was endorsed by the Democratic Socialist Party for the Illinois elections along with Danny Davis, William "Willie" Delgado, Alice Palmer and Carol Mosely Braun. He also received an endorsement from the New Party (another even more hard core socialist organization). His career was also aided by the endorsement of Barbara Lee of California who was the guest speaker at many of the DSA functions and co-chaired the American Progressives Caucus.

    Obamas's neighbors were Louis Farrakhan, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, and Valerie Jarrett. His next door neighbor was Jacquelyne D. Grimshaw who worked for the election of Mayor Washington and who was also a member of the Socialist Party and received the Eugene Debb Award for Service in 1987.

    Also among his close friends was Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Chicago who heavily support Obama and who is known for her ties to the Socialist party. She is also a close friend of Nancy Pelosi.

    Now to his people, Carol Browner, Energy Czar has ties to the Socialist International Party. Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis also has ties to Socialist International and to it's US affiliate the crypto Marxist Democratic Socialists of America.
    Carol M. Browner, Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change. Of course we all the story of Van Jones the Communist activist who was appointed by Obama as the Green Csar. Ron Bloom named to the Manufacturing Czar is also a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and was recruited into the United Steel Workers Union by Leo Gerard in 1996. Gerard now President of USW serves on the board of the DSA led Economic Policy Institute and on the advisory board of Wellstone Action with Julian Bond, Gerald McEntee and Frances Fox Piven. Wellstone Action is named after late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, once faculty adviser to a DSA student group. Bloom also spent many summers of his youth at camp Galil in PA run by Habonim "a progressive Labor Zionist youth movement that emphasizes cultural Judaism, socialism and social justice."

    I believe the best response to Mr. Gibbs on his take on Fox is "That's are opinion" is Obama is not a real president and "That's our opinion".

  16. Gail B says:

    The first time I wrote a political column for the weekly in NC, I was afraid that it would go against the leanings of the newspaper owners and stated that my opinion was not necessarily that of the newspaper. The owners never objected to anything I wrote, regardless of what I carped about in the columns.

    When curiosity (and possible insecurity) could be contained no longer, I asked the general manager (married to the owner) if I stepped on any toes with my political writing. "Only those toes that need a real stomping!"

    I told him that I had been afraid that my freedom of speech would have been infringed, but he assured me that I could say anything that was true. If it was not in accordance with how the owners felt, the editor would say so in a separate paragraph in italics.

    A number of people came to my office and said over time that they bought the paper for three reasons–Tim Thomas' horse column, Milton Wood's humorous column, and mine. When I wrote about the local people and events, the papers disappeared from the stands. Stephanie (over in the next town) and I worked our rosteriums off to give the readers their money's worth.

    The police department did not like it when I wrote about how they bungled some investigations, including how they had not let the sheriff's office know they were looking for a suspect who was in the county jail–and thus released, and their handling of a rape case, but the newspaper owners complained only about my overtime.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree with D. A. Gust's post above. I believe this is all part of a well-thought out plan. One only needs to connect the dots to see what is going on here. Dept of Homeland Security submits a report that states that conservatives and Republicans are more dangerous to the country than Al Quaeda (sp?)…then they say that "Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are trying to incite violence"…and on, and on… and now all this talk about Fox News. Nothing they do or say is impromptu, it is all carefully planned. We should all be very frightened.

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