White House and media club each other … again

October 23, 2009

So, the Obama White House is upset at a major news organization over its coverage and trying to marginalize it. Seems like big news in some quarters (well inside the Beltway anyway), but in reality it’s about par for the course.

It would be tough to find a White House that didn’t get upset with media coverage — especially when they believe they are not winning the “message battle” for their agenda. And sometimes it escalates. USA

The latest target is of course Fox News which the Obama administration has labeled as an outlet for opinion rather than news and more simply just an arm of the Republican party doing its bidding.

The White House anger with Fox has bubbled for some time now, but only recently did it break out into full public view.

The White House snubbed Fox last month when it was the only major television network that did not interview President Barack Obama one Sunday when he was in the throes of defending healthcare reform.

Some, including a few former Bush administration officials, have cried foul about the attack on Fox by the Obama administration. But memories can be short in this town.

In May 2008, the Bush administration sent a blistering letter to NBC News questioning how it handled an interview with President George W. Bush as well as accusing the network of making analytical and editorial judgments about the conflict in Iraq being a civil war and how the U.S. economy was faring.

And you can be sure Newsweek got the cold shoulder (and probably many others too) during the Clinton administration for the intense coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

But in the end, despite the skirmishes between the White House and news outlets, the questions still get asked.

NBC News continued to get called on for questions during press briefings and news conferences and Fox asks questions along with everyone else at White House briefings. And the Obama White House has said it will still send its officials to speak on Fox News.

Some may speculate that the Obama White House is using its public criticism about Fox to fire up its base or in an attempt to distract from the difficulties the president’s agenda is facing.

No matter, it would seem to be par for the course of any White House in the era of 24-hour news.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Gibbs during a press briefing)

14 comments

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You are entitled to your opinion but you can’t go into a building and scream fire when there is none. Fox distorts the truth, cherry picks news and reports only what they want to report (fair and balance…laughable) and if they can’t find news to distort to their benefit they will make it up. Basically fox news is the biggest fraud and liars in the media. They abuse freedom of speech by screaming fire when their is none. They spread hate, they are prejudice and are full of gimmicks instead of substance. Wait, kinda like the Republican party. McCain’s whole campaign was gimmick after gimmick. The republican’s still use scare tactics, as does fox, to try to persuade American opinion. Fox why don’t you try the truth and invite the Republicans to do the same.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

Jason, You might try backing up your generalizations with some fact. You are just spewing hate, like all extreme liberal left lackeys do.

Problem is, you have nothing to back up your diatribe…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

83 Senators didn’t vote to cut off federal funding to ACORN because they were FOX News fans.

Two things are clearly bothering the White House and Obama supporters:

1) FOX News as teamed up with biggovernment.com delivered the Giles and O’Keefe ACORN expose in a manner that couldn’t be ignored by other national media outlets.

2) fallout from the ACORN expose was swift, national, and substantial — as evidenced by the 83-7 Senate vote to cutoff federal funding to ACORN. You can tell how newsworthy something is by how much real-world fallout (good or bad) a news story causes and how fast such occurs.

That’s what distinguishes this White House’s attack on a member of the free press — FOX News both outsmarted an insulating lapdog press and what FOX News reported resulted in swift and extensive negative consequences for Team Obama.

If you don’t like what FOX News reported re ACORN, too bad — move to Venezuela.

Posted by dom youngross | Report as abusive

Oh Dom really? The old love it or leave it argument? Come on now, yes we all know that some ACORN employees screwed up but does that mean that the whole organization is bad? No, in fact ACORN did a lot of good things to help people stay in their homes.
Do we have to bring out the laundry list of organizations the republicans have supported or worked for that ended up being corrupt? Does Blackwater mean anything to you? Or KBR? Trying to blame Obama for what ACORN employees did is like trying to directly blame Bush for the actions of Blackwater in Iraq. Give it a rest and let’s try to fix our country rather than play the obstructionist game.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Fox News journalist John Stossel is appearing at a series of rallies against the health care reform proposals with Americans for Prosperity, the “grass-roots” corporate funded activist group that is opposed to reform.

At a time when Fox is embroiled in a high-profile battle with the White House over its legitimacy as a news outlet, it seems less than helpful for one of its proudly touted journalists to participate in an event decrying Obama’s health care reform proposals as “government-forced health care.”

Just to clarify, Stossel isn’t going to COVER the events; he’s going to PARTICIPATE in the events.

So, last month, we had a Fox News employee rallying a right-wing crowd from behind a camera, and this month we’ll have a Fox News employee rallying a right-wing crowd from in front of a camera.

Just another independent news outlet with high professional, journalistic standards, right? Why would anyone think otherwise?

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

“Jason, You might try backing up your generalizations with some fact. You are just spewing hate, like all extreme liberal left lackeys do.

Problem is, you have nothing to back up your diatribe…”

Yeah, Jason, stop spewing hate and making generalizations. You know, like making a generalization about “all extreme liberal left lackeys do.”

Jeebus.

“2) fallout from the ACORN expose was swift, national, and substantial — as evidenced by the 83-7 Senate vote to cutoff federal funding to ACORN. You can tell how newsworthy something is by how much real-world fallout (good or bad) a news story causes and how fast such occurs.”

That’s an interesting take. So if something doesn’t make the news it isn’t newsworthy? That’s interesting. So when the war in Afghanistan got scant coverage for 4 years, that’s because, according to this definition, it wasn’t newsworthy. That’s just an amazing argument.

I think what’s more amazing is you can tell the actual power of an organization by how swiftly politicians abandon it. In ACORN’s case, it took about 3 days.

FOX attacks the weak, using racial divisions to set American against fellow American.

In other words, SOP for Republican leadership these days.

Posted by jvill | Report as abusive

Yes eric h acorn not only helped people to stay in their homes, but they got them into their homes in the first place.Method,threats and manipulation,they would coerce banks and lenders to offer loans to people with not only with bad credit,but with no sufficient financial means to pay bank the loans. At the birth of the sub prime loan disaster,acorn was the midwife!Guess what!Obama worked for acorn and used to train them.Bush neither worked for blackwater of trained them slight difference eric.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

The gullibility of conservatives, or more precisely their willingness to believe without bothering to fact check anything which confirms their biases, is amazing…. They will believe anything if it fits into their narrow worldview.

And that’s what makes reading posts like brian lee’s so tedious. Brian, it would be more interesting for all of us if you would at least post things that are not so demonstrably FALSE.

Ben Bernanke stated in a November 25, 2008, letter: “Our own experience with CRA over more than 30 years and recent analysis of available data, including data on subprime loan performance, runs counter to the charge that CRA was at the root of, or otherwise contributed in any substantive way to, the current mortgage difficulties.”

I’ll take Bernanke’s word over yours any day of the week.

Barack Obama has never “worked for acorn” or “used to train them”. In 1995, Obama was part of a team of lawyers representing ACORN, the League of Women Voters, and the US Justice Dept. in seeking to force the state of Illinois to enforce the National Voter Law of 1993. That’s it. The case had nothing to do with housing.

The Right is at war with ACORN because they register a lot of minority voters. That’s it.

“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”-Paul Weyrich, co-founder of The Heritage Foundation.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning the answer is don,t read my blogs!it is the same as complaining about Fox news,do not watch it, and i hope you realize that as a surrogate the enlightened one has instructed that you must not watch Fox news!who is getting brain washed me or you ,but you have already remarked in the past that as conservatives we are brainless.But getting back to the acorn deal why did the congress overwhelmingly vote to stop their funding?for illegal activities!thank you for the encouragement getplaning,and incidentally keep attacking Cheney we love how it keeps bouncing back at you paper weights.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

So, brian, we are in agreement that you are posting complete nonsense? Good, identifying the problem is the first step toward your recovery. The next step will be the hardest for you.
The next time you turn on the TV, and some talking head is saying that Obama “used to train ACORN”, stop and ask yourself, “Is this really true?”

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

You did not answer the question Mr tailspin WHY DID THE CONGRESS VOTE TO STOP THEIR FUNDING? trying to address this is going to extremely painful but getplaning you have to start dealing with the realities of life, grow up young man.Now if you had said OBama had worked pro bono for Acorn and did not train them only gave them training manuals now that might be a different matter.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

This isn’t about ACORN, brian, It’s about broadcasting lies as if repeating them enough times will somehow make them come true. ACORN forced banks to make bad loans? Laughable. Obama worked for ACORN? Laughable. Obama trained ACORN? Trained them to do what? It’s all laughable, but saps like you eat it up.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

To register Mickey mouse and Donald duck,getplaning why are they stopping their funding?take a deep breath and repeat after me” For illegal activities”Now did that hurt?well done my son!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Wow, brian, ACORN employees turned in registrations for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck? Whew, for a moment, I thought they had raped a 21 year old girl and locked her in a container or something.
I suppose Obama trained ACORN to register these Disney characters too? Did Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck show up and cast votes? How many?
You keep spinning past your false statements, brian. The more you spin, the weaker your case becomes.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive