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The Obama war against Fox News: Risky business?

October 19, 2009 |  9:50 am

The Obama White House is making no secret of its distaste for Fox News.

In a round of Sunday talk show appearances, the administration escalated its war against the network that likes to call itself "fair and balanced" but that happens to feature quite a few conservative voices.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on CNN that Fox News isn't even a news organization.

And White House political guru David Axelrod, who had coffee a few weeks ago in New York with Fox News founder Roger Ailes, told ABC that Fox News is "really not news. ... Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way. We're not going to treat them that way."

But some are wondering if this is smart politics. Given that Fox News boasts a far larger audience than cable competitors CNN and MSNBC, and given that most elections are decided by independents who might occasionally watch FNC, the strategy could backfire.

“It's a very risky strategy,” perennial presidential advisor David Gergen said recently on CNN. “It's not one I would advocate.”

For its part, the administration seems content to keep the battle going, even though the wars have already claimed a few victims. Glenn Beck pounded the lectern relentlessly about green jobs czar Van Jones for signing a petition suggesting government conspiracy in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Jones resigned.

Now Beck has turned his furor on White House communications director Anita Dunn for saying that China's Mao Tse-tung was one of her favorite philosophers. Firing back, Dunn said she picked up the line from renowned Republican strategist Lee Atwater and that it was meant as irony.

"The use of the phrase 'favorite political philosophers' was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat -- at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing," she said. Keeping up the White House attack, Dunn also charged that Fox serves as "the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."

Now Beck is charging that the White House attack is akin to media genocide, like going after the Jews during the Holocaust.

I dunno, don't these folks have something better to do?

-- Johanna Neuman

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