White House and media club each other … again
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.
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.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Gibbs during a press briefing)