Obama White House Rebuffed, As Other Networks Stand Up for 1st Amendment, Fox News
October 23, 2009 - 8:47 AMRepublicans say the Obama White House is engaging in "Chicago-style politics" by "demonizing" its opponents. On Thursday, even Fox News's competitors indicated that the White House had gone too far.
The pattern is familiar, said Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at his weekly press briefing Thursday: “When you can’t win an argument based on the facts, launch vicious political attacks. This Chicago-style politics is shutting the American people out and demonizing their opponents.”
Boehner said Democrats are targeting those who don’t support their health care plans. Those targets include Fox News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Thursday, in a move that even Fox News’s competitors rejected, the Obama White House tried to freeze Fox News out of an interview with White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg.
The White House said Feinberg would give interviews to members of the White House TV pool – with the exception of Fox News. The other members of the cost-sharing pool – CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS -- objected.
“The Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV news networks consulted and decided that none of them would interview Feinberg unless Fox was included – and the administration relented, making Feinberg available to all five pool members and Bloomberg TV,” Fox News correspondent James Rosen reported.
Fox News has belonged to the pool since 1997.
The Obama administration’s attempt to marginalize Fox News includes boycotting “Fox News Sunday” and other Fox News shows. The president has been on Fox News just twice since January, far fewer appearances than he’s made on other TV news networks.
Obama aides recently have described Fox News as an arm of the Republican Party, as the opposition, and as a noncredible news operation.
“The administration promised during the campaign that they were going to usher in an era of ‘post-partisanship’ in here in Washington, but what they are doing is flat-out despicable,” Boehner said on Thursday.
Earlier this week, President Obama said he would take the media as it comes: “And if media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing, and if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another. But it’s not something I’m losing a lot of sleep over.” The president made the comments to NBC News reporter Samantha Guthrie, who asked him if it was appropriate for the White House to say what is and what is not a news organization.
The Obama administration’s attempt to isolate Fox News drew a “friendly warning” this week from Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).
"An 'enemies list' only denigrates the Presidency and the Republic itself," Alexander said Wednesday on the Senate floor. "These are unusually difficult times, with plenty of forces encouraging us to disagree. Let’s not start calling people out and compiling an enemies list. Let’s push the street-brawling out of the White House and work together on the truly presidential issues: creating jobs, reducing health care costs, reducing the debt, creating clean energy."
Alexander was a staffer in the Nixon White House in 1969-1970.