Tuesday, October 20, 2009

White House vs. Fox News: The insanity continues

Sen. Obama campaigned last year on the premise of Change, Hope, and bringing people together. The Nobel group awarded Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize, not for what he has done rather for what he stands for; Change, hope, and bringing people together. So why is it then that White House officials were on Sunday talk shows imploring other news outlets alienate Fox News? White House communications director Anita Dunn claimed Sunday that Fox News Channel is "opinion journalism masquerading as news".

David Axelrod, Obama's senior advisor, claimed on to George Stephanopoulos Sunday that Fox is "not a new organization" and added "other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way." The biggest target has been Glenn Beck as is evident by the ongoing fact check blog page on the White House home page. The White House declaration of war on Fox News smacks of the paranoia of the Nixon years. The catalyst of the attack on Fox News appears to be over "Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace's fact checking Tammy Duckworth this past August. Anita Dunn is aghast by the gull of Wallace to fact check since that is "something I've never seen a Sunday show do." The kicker in this tiff is that the White House never said the fact-checking that Wallace did was wrong; rather the White House is upset that Wallace did it in the first place.

Are we really living in an age where News channels cannot fact check anyone let alone an administration official? Although it does not surprise me because little fact checking was done by ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC during the 2008 Presidential election. With unemployment over 10%, 2% points higher than the White House said would happen if the Stimulus Bill was passed, why isn't the White House focusing their efforts on job creation? Our economy, as many economists have warned, is on the brink of a second recession and need a stronger effort in job creation. The "war" on Fox News Channel is pathetic and smacks of Chicago politics which is something, I thought, Obama campaigned against. Rahm Emanuel, Chief of Staff for Obama, said Sunday on "Face the Nation" when asked about Fox News Channel, "It is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

Since Fox News Channel has a prospective that disqualifies them as a news channel? On the criteria alone it would eliminate all "news" channels. David Axelrod explained, on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, that "The only argument Anita was making is that they're not really a news station. It's not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming. It's really not news. It's pushing a point of view." I think that the White House is missing the mark here. Granted Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly posses a conservative tinge that is just three hours of Fox News Channel programming. As I have been home finding a new job I have had the luxury of being able to watch programming on several news channels. The programming during the day on Fox News is no different than CNN.

At the end of the day the White House is attempting to exert their power to control the media. The White House has the majority of news channels in their hip pocket while Fox News chooses to fact check them. What happened to journalism? Isn't the journalist supposed to question, investigate, and report the facts of the situation? While true journalism has been going the way of the dinosaur for years, it fell off the cliff last year during the Presidential election cycle. Fox News Channel is reporting the news and their news commenter's – Beck, Hannity, and O'Reilly – have a 1st amendment right to question and fact check the White House while putting their conservative spin on it. If Americans are not intelligent enough to realize this, just as MSNBC & CNN put their liberal spin on the issue, it is not the job of the White House to wage a war on Fox News. Again, I thought Obama was going to come to Washington to be above petty politics and usher in a new era of transparency and bi-partisanship????