Monday, October 19, 2009

A Few Words on the Obama Feud with Fox

I'm glad to see the White House punching at Fox. Most importantly, they're right. Fox News is a joke as a news organization. Why can't the White House say it just as much as HuffPost? Doesn't the Obama administration have freedom of speech?

The second thing is that it's important for the White House to not be a day in, day out punching bag for the conservative movement. Obama has always shown that he's capable of effective counter-punching and that's what he's doing now, some nasty counter-punching against Fox News. Good for Obama.

The New York Times wants the Obama administration to be above tangling with the "cable shouters:"

Tactics aside, something more fundamental is at risk. Even the president’s most avid critics admit he exudes a certain cool confidence. The public impression of him is that if anyone were to, say, talk trash on the basketball court with Mr. Obama, he would not find much space for rent in Mr. Obama’s head. ...

People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of
power dynamics to “punch up “ — that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a “truth-o-meter” against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify. As it is, Reality Check sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue.

The American presidency was conceived as a corrective to the royals, but trading punches with cable shouters seems a bit too common. Perhaps it’s time to restore a little imperiousness to the relationship.

As usual, the NY Times has their heads up their butts. The Times itself is losing ground to the guys and women blogging from "their parents basements." Why shouldn't the Obama administration get in on the action before they start losing ground?

By attacking Fox News, the Obama administration has signaled that it's willing to mix it up in its efforts to get health reform and cap and trade passed.

That's as good as news can get right now.

On another note. Personally, I like what Fox is doing in the sense that Fox has blazing a trail as a television network of political opposition. Unlike the other networks, Fox is an independent entity that is not beholden to the government for stories. When networks with more liberal political agendas start following Fox's example, the world will be a better place.

1 comment:

Todd Mayo said...

Critics of President Obama’s combative stance against Fox say, among other things that the Presidency is too noble an office and that sitting Presidents should stay “above the fray”, and that they should not respond to untruths and attacks. My question to those critics is, “why the hell shouldn’t he respond?”
The Bush Administration certainly had no qualms about blasting the media nor did their predecessors during the Reagan/Bush era.
Under Bush and Cheney, no one dared broadcast pictures of Iraqi children blown to bits by our “smart bombs,” not if they wanted their reporters to have press passes. Peter Jennings
and Christiane Amanpour were both warned to back off and they did. Christiane Amanpour admitted that CNN was intimidated by the Bush administration in its coverage of the Iraq war.
And how about the infamous “Dixie Chicks” incident. This time not journalists, but entertainers were being shunned. And why, because they had the temerity to criticize the invasion of Iraqi and because they candidly admitted their shame that George W. Bush was from their home state. For this they were taken off the air of several radio stations. All because they dared to have an opinion. An opinion which was factually correct as it turns out.
President Obama is taking on Fox directly and forcefully because he is on the side of the angels here. The smash and smear tactics Fox and others have used to silence anything left of center are not working this time. This, I think is in part because President Obama stands up to them and stares them down whereas the Bush/ Cheney administration simply wouldn’t allow dissent from any quarter. Where Obama and Biden stand and fight, Bush and Cheney hunkered down and sabotaged journalists. Instead responding to criticism from journalists, the Bush/Cheney machine used hired guns, republican party activists to threaten both verbally and otherwise any honest journalist who wrote unflattering items about the GOP White House and its policies. Instead of answering the questions and charges leveled at them by what was supposed to be a “free press”, republican operatives made phone calls of an especially vicious and profanity-laced nature. There were a few instances where the Bush/Cheney White House did its own dirty work out in the open and publicly criticized the media for certain comments which while true, did not work for the Bush/Cheney White House. However, for the most part, beginning in the early-to-mid 90s and continuing to this very day the republican party has been content to let its rabid-right attack dogs like Limbaugh, Coulter, and O’Reilly, Beck, Hannity, etc perform such dirty work.
So to those who believe that Presidents shouldn’t publicly respond to critics I would ask, would you prefer an administration with the courage to take on its critics openly and for all to see, or do you prefer the cowardly, mafia-like tactics of the previous administration and it‘s entire party apparatus? Do we care about the First Amendment or not? That’s the question. I do.