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Posted by on Oct 24, 2009 in Media, Politics | 8 comments

Country Wisdom: White House vs. Fox

Campaign attacks on Barack Obama and his crew as latte-drinking elitists are finally coming into play in their war of words with Rupert Murdoch’s rough-and-ready outback minions.

Any country boy could have told them a basic rule of rural life: Never get into a contest with a skunk.

Now, the Administration is finding itself befouled by controversy as an ABC correspondent asks at a briefing why “one of our sister organizations” was excluded from a round of official interviews and a moderate House Democrat calls the feud “a mistake…beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

The President himself, after pointedly meeting with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and other sympathetic souls, goes public on NBC. “What our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes,” he observes. “And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another.”

Historically, that’s a distinction the American people have always reserved the right to make for themselves. Back in the late 1960s, Richard Nixon unleashed his Vice President Spiro Agnew to attack the unfriendly media.

Agnew, who later resigned in disgrace for taking bribes, pelted them with alliterative epithets–“pusillanimous pussyfooters,” “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals,” phrases coined by the recently deceased William Safire who later morphed into a respected New York Times columnist and Pat Buchanan, who is still pontificating for MSNBC.

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Davebo

    Does the fact that this “controversy” is totally manufactered (per TPM) makes this a bit silly?

  • Don Quijote

    Now, the Administration is finding itself befouled by controversy as an ABC correspondent asks at a briefing why “one of our sister organizations”

    I didn’t know that ABC was another one of the Republican Party’s propaganda outlet…

    Thanks for letting me know.

  • garyknowz1

    Yes, it’s ugly. But if I recall correctly, the Bush administration and Republican politicians in general have been attacking the “liberal media” for years. Yet, now when the shoe’s on the other foot, and one of their own outlets is attacked, they cry foul. Spare me the crocodile tears. I don’t like it more than anyone else, but the righteous indignation is laughable.

    Now, I DO think how the Obama administration is handling Fox News is wrong , but for the same reason I felt it was wrong for Republican politicians to pigeonhole most media outlets. Politicians—especially the president—need to be above such nonsense, and not embroil themselves in spitting contests. Let the people decide whether they are honest brokers of information, Fox included.

  • rudi

    Seems Fox didn’t want to be part of the round robin interview, they weren’t barred by the WH.Via BallonJuice, Larisa Alexandrovna and TPM:

    TPMDC dug into it, and here’s what happened. Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them). But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who’d asked for the interview. The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night. Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox. TPMDC spoke with a network bureau chief this afternoon familiar with the situation who was surprised that Fox was portraying the news as networks coming to its rescue.

    Seems Faux News tried to generate a phony story, but real investigative pundits caught them in the act of lieing…
    Hell freezes over and LGF also calls out the Faux lies:

  • JSpencer

    Gee, you mean to say Fox would actually make things up?? I’m shocked!!!

    I got a kick out of this comment from El Cid (Balloon Juice) he pegged the Fox mindset so well :

    “Okay, maybe the incident per se didn’t happen, but it still proves that Obama is 30 times worse than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Barbra Streisand combined times eleventy bajillion.”


  • Leonidas

    Seems like CBS has reported this as wellCBS News’ Chip Reid on Fox News and the administration.

    “All the networks said, that’s it you crossed the line.”

    They should release the notes to clarify, and the network heads should issue statements.Here is Major Garret on the subject:Fox’s Major Garrett on Claims Fox News Excluded from Pay Czar Interview is a guy the White House as described as a “legitimate reporter”.


  • Leonidas

    An interesting observation on this from a liberal source, the Huffington post

    Clemente said that CBS News Washington Bureau Chief and current pool chairman Chris Isham — who did not respond to phone or e-mail requests for comment Saturday — received a call from the Treasury Department Thursday saying that Feinberg would be available to speak to all of the networks in the pool except for Fox News, and that Bloomberg would be included instead.Clemente said that when Isham presented that scenario on a conference call with the other pool members — including Fox News — “they unanimously said, instantly, no, that’s not gonna fly. Either Fox is in or none of us is doing it.”
    Once Isham relayed that message to Treasury, Treasury cleared it with White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who approved Feinberg’s interview with Fox News’ Major Garrett.Clemente said, however, that there was now a catch: every network would get two minutes with Feinberg instead of the previously planned five.”That’s not very normal,” he said. “I’m told that whoever was there was absolutely militaristic about the time limit. Usually two or four or five minutes means, ‘Ask your last question,’ with a little flexibility. But there was none.”Clemente added that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged to Fox News’ White House Correspondent Major Garrett that a low level Treasury staffer made a mistake in attempting to exclude Fox from the pool interviews.

    So they blamed a low level staffer, for the initial exclusion before the network guys protested.

  • merkin

    Fox claimed the right to make up stories in a court filing for a lawsuit. They were being sued by an ex-newscaster who was fired for refusing to read on air a story she had discovered was false. The court ruled that it was within Fox’s first amendment rights to lie. It happened in 2003 around the time of the invasion of Iraq and received little media attention, for obvious reasons. I will try to pull more details out of my dusty memory. Perhaps someone here remembers more.Found it.…I don’t know this site. It came up on Bing when I remembered Akre was the newscaster’s name.

    “The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves. “

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