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.