Few doubted thatÂ Barack Obama‘s White House disliked FOX News, especially after Obama famously ignored FOXÂ a few Sundays ago while interviewing with every other news network and Univision. Saturday Night Live even did a skit that portrayed Obama talking to the cast of MTV’s The Hills, and to the cast of a vampire show on the CW network, while still refusing to talk to FOX News. If anyone still doubted whether avoiding FOX is official White House policy, Communications Director Anita Dunn has made it plain:
DUNN: “[FOX is] opinion journalism masquerading as news… They are boosting their audience, but that doesn’t mean we are going to sit back.”
The reasoning behind this direct attack defies political common sense. Why would you attack the top news network out there? Dunn is no low-level White House staffer anonymously leaking something to the press. She is the White House Chief Communications Director, and she gave this quote to Time magazine. Â She is the voice of the White House. In other words, the White House officially wants the world to know that they think FOX News is not real news, and they are going on the offensive against FOX. (Of course, if FOX isn’t a real news network, then why was it the only network to break the recentÂ Van Jones and ACORN scandals? And why did its coverage of those stories lead to Van Jones resigning in disgrace, and to Congress cutting off all funding from ACORN?)
We now know more than ever (thanks to theÂ newly released Bill Clinton tapes) that President Clinton hated the press. Yet Clinton never attacked the press in this way. He was politically shrewd. I question the wisdom behind the Obama White House’s decision to demean the very network that people are paying attention to more and more each day. Â And as John King pointed out on CNN, the only people this will hurt are the congressional Democrats on the ticket next year.
A week ago the official White House blog said FOX likes to “disregard the facts” and “FOX lies.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also told Time magazine that FOX News is like a baseball player crowding the plate, and that “the only way to get somebody to stop crowding the plate is to throw a fastball at them.”
But this may all backfire. Dunn and Obama’s strategy of freezing out FOX News just may lead to millions of viewers voting out this White House in 2012.