Fox News, after being left out of media blitz, calls Obama White House 'a bunch of crybabies' [Updated]
It was a major media blitz, unprecedented in recent memory.
President Obama -- selling healthcare, parsing Afghanistan, dodging ACORN -- conducted a marathon of interviews with top TV networks. Taped Friday from the White House Roosevelt Room, the 15-minute sessions ran yesterday on CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and the Spanish-language Univision. Topping the charm offensive: his appearance tonight, his first as president, on David Letterman's late-night comedy show.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham derided the Obama media blitz, saying the commander in chief appeared "on everything but the Food Channel." The Obama White House also did not give any airtime to Fox, Rupert Murdoch's conservative news channel. [Updated, 6:38 p.m.: A Fox News Channel spokesperson said that although there may be a perception that Fox is a home to conservative commentators, it is not a “conservative news channel.”]
The White House may have been punishing Fox News for corporate sibling Fox TV's decision not to air the president's joint address to Congress a few weeks ago. "We figured Fox would rather show 'So You Think You Can Dance' than broadcast an honest discussion about health insurance reform," snarled White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
But was that smart politics? According to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News' prime-time ratings soared during the second quarter of 2009 -- reaching 1.2 million viewers as compared to CNN's 598,000 and MSNBC's average audience of 392,000.
And Chris Wallace, the anchor of "Fox News Sunday," was more than a little disturbed. "They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington," he told Bill O'Reilly.
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-- Johanna Neuman
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