Picking a fight: White House vs Fox News

October 31, 2009

They started it, not us. That’s the claim President Obama’s Communications Director is making against Fox News. However, the spark that ignited the current verbal war can be traced back to a CNN interview, where Anita Dunn called Fox News “a wing of the Republican Party.” Whilst Dunn is being cheered on by Obama supporters for her stance, some say that it shows up the administration as thin skinned.

Anti-Obama stories constantly aired on Fox opinion shows have even prompted a remark from the President himself; there is “one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration” he said. Although the President stopped there, Dunn had more to say on the subject, stating “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. The reality is that at some point, the administration has to defend itself.”

Fox network executive Michael Clemente said it was surprising that the White House couldn’t tell the difference between Opinion Programming and News.
The Fox network claims that no one from the White House would appear on any of their shows, as a guest, until the end of the year. Although Dunn denied any such official instructions to the staff, evidence seems to suggest an “unofficial” ban on anything to do with Fox. On September 20th, the President appeared 5 Sunday morning public affairs shows, except for Chris Wallace’s show on Fox.

Critics have pointed out that this approach could hurt the Obama camp, as the top rated Fox News has Independents and Moderates amongst its viewership. Ignoring this fact, might cause more harm than any possible good.