You betcha, writes Tom Bevan:
The White House’s direct attack on FOX News is only part of the strategy. As Axelrod and Emanuel made clear yesterday, they also want to drive a wedge between the rest of the media and FOX News, enlisting other television networks in the effort to paint FOX News as illegitimate.
Axelrod went out of his way to suggest to Stephanopoulos that ABC News adopt the White House strategy and not treat FOX News as legitimate. “The bigger thing is,” Axelrod said, “other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way. We’re not going to treat them that way. ”
Emanuel suggested the same to John King later in their interview: “And more importantly is not have the CNN’s and others in the world basically be led and following FOX, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization, in the sense of both sides and a sense of valued opinion.”
It’s actually quite brazen when you think about it. The two most senior members of the Obama White House – men who control all the information and access to the Executive Branch, the lifeblood of most news organizations – went on national television and suggested that ABC, CNN and other networks follow the White House’s lead and join in its war to marginalize a competitor because it takes a “perspective” that displeases the President.
Such tactics may not be frowned upon by brass-knuckle operatives working for the political machine in a one party town. But it’s different when you’re the President of the United States. Most Americans of all political stripes don’t want to see the President using the majesty and power of his office for heavy handed attacks on any organization simply because it has been critical of the President.
In other words, the White House’s strategy may be the Chicago way, but it isn’t the American way.
As Bevan also correctly noted in his opinion piece, it’s no big secret that every WH has had issues with the coverage the press has given it, but very few have responded in the way this WH has, with not only openly declaring that they don’t believe Fox is a “real news organization” but also by trying to shame liberally biased news outlets into following their lead … as if the WH controls the press.
Well, ok – they sort of do. Just listen to Queen Anti-Fox herself, Anita Dunn.
This is an issue that liberals and conservatives ought to be able to join hands together over. A clear declaration of war on a mainstream media news outlet by the President of the United States and his administration is not exactly what I would call a hallmark of a federal government open to dissenting opinions. Think Nixon. But, just as we’ve seen with cheering over Rush Limbaugh being blatantly discriminated against solely because of his political views, most of the “mainstream” left in this country – bloodthirsty after being out of power on a national level for so many years – has said to hell with their Bush-era mantra of “dissent is patriotic” and instead are waving hello to by-any-means-necessary one party domination.
Instead of being happy that most mainstream news media outlets are batting for the left wing, liberal bloggers, pundits, and politicos focus on the one network that does not. Why? Because they want “free” healthcare passed, they want us to pull out of Afghanistan immediately – without regard to the consequences of cutting and running, they want “the rich” and other self-made citizens of this country punished for their success by taxing them so the “have nots” can have what the “haves” do – without having to work for it. They want everyone to “chip in” and pay higher taxes in an effort to “combat global warming.” And any news outlet whose opinion show hosts don’t toe that line must be targeted for ridicule and/or marginalization, because it might catch on with a majority of the American people that members of this administration – starting at the very top – are not the agents of the kind of “change” (open government, honestly, transparency, accountability) they promised the American people. That doesn’t sound like a presidency. That sounds like a dictatorship.
We’ve seen leftists wage this war most recently on Tea Partiers with little in turn to show for it, and for years they’ve been after Rush Limbaugh to try and get him off the air with no success, and now it’s on with Fox News – which I don’t think will be a success, either. In fact, it may very well backfire, when you consider that some high profile liberal icons like the NYT, The Nation, and Helen Thomas are all urging the WH to back off its war with the successful cable news outlet.
Will the Arrogant Know It Alls in the WH listen to their advice? Don’t count on it because, just like they did in Chicago, it’s their way or no way – the Chicago on the Potomac Way. Just ask anyone who works for this government in a high level position who has dared to disagree with this administration what happens when they openly express disagreement.