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The Obama war against Fox News: Risky business?

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

-- Johanna Neuman"

Speaking of impartiality, don't you think a more appropriate question is "Doesn't the administration have something better to do?". Obviously, Fox News is doing what media should do. The LA times should do the same which is better than what they are doing now.

Nothing against this blogger of course, you're just pushing the Admistration's opinions.

This is an interesting strategy and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Fox is a conservative news network but so what. I don't care for it generally but it's the price of admission for a functioning democracy. Unless there is evidence that its conservative bent leads it to present false information to the public, the white house's confrontational strategy seems likely to fail. Complaints that fox focuses too much on problems or negative stories or that it only presents certain facts will sound like whining to the general public. Only evidence that fox news actually lied in its reporting will allow this strategy to work. The question the white house must really answer when it comes to there complaints about fox news is pretty simple, to borrow the old catch phrase: "where's the beef?"

The Los Angeles Times' characterization of this exchange as a 'War on Fox News' is factually inaccurate, and not even compelling as a metaphor.

If the Obama Administration wanted to declare war on Fox News, they would of course first need to approach the US Congress for a declaration of war.

Should the Obama Administration actually declare War on Fox News, surely Fox News would either be in a state of complete destruction (all office buildings bombed out to the point of non-continued-use...), and Rupert Murdoch would be facing treason charges before the United States Supreme Court.

Also of note, should the Obama Administration actually declare War on Fox News, the modern US News establishment would not actually suffer, as Fox News, unlike their name implies, does not serve as a News outlet, in the sense of the traditional American Fourth Estate. In effect, actual news outlets, such as the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, NPR, and PBS would still very much function.

If you see a War happening, chances are you'll know it.

The Los Angeles Times should re-title this story, "The Obama Administration Acknowledgment of Fox News, Risky Business?"

That would be a lot more accurate, and would actually serve to alert the public to a real threat to our nation.

Government ownership of three of the biggest companies capitalism has ever created, followed by a promise of full withdraw from war, handouts for the wealthiest of the wealthy amongst bankers of the world, unemployment numbers beyond measure, a national debt promised to reach numbers we haven't even learned to pronounce yet, and then a complete government takeover of healthcare.... but somehow its the attack on fox news that you think is risky business? If the citizens of this country arent in open warfare against its government at this point, why would going after fox news somehow be the turning point? I think obama will do just fine if he attacks them. For all the noise and howl, its clear the fox news listeners fallen into a subjugated slumber many months ago. March on obama!

ANY AMERICAN WITH THE NAIVETE TO BELIEVE THAT "FOX NEWS' IS NOT BIASED NEEDS TO GET BACK TO SCHOOL QUICKLY OR NEVER VOTE AGAIN.

Sounds like a move from the playbook of other socialist countries.
Rule #1: Get control of the press.

Is no one out there a little concerned about what's happening?

Chicago politics has finally taken over. Isolate and destroy. The challenge is that FOX can fight back. A regular joe blow would be just hammered to a pulp. My new America.

FOX NEWS is the only truth ringing Free now here in the United States...as the White House has become more blatant about their Liberal Marxist Agenda...sure FIX NEWS is a threat to them..it is the only free NETWOEK available to the AMERICAN PEOPLE.... The Czars the COMMUNIST who over lord the Government and the deception is something we all know to be true.. Obama is bringing the USA to its knees. The White House does not care about the AMERICAN PEOPLE..they have an Agenda to follow and the time is running short for them to ram it down the throats of the CITIZENS while they entertain ILLEGALS AND COMMUNIST on our blessed soil. GOD BLESS FOX NEWS ..GOD SAVE GLENN BECK! LET TRUTH PREVAIL, AMERICA WAKE UP!

Fox license to operate as a news agency should be stripped from them. Presenting news that causes people to question those rightfully elected to power is akin to treason. Maintain the iron fist. Keep them out of the game. -Hugo C.

FOX NEWS is the only truth ringing Free now here in the United States...as the White House has become more blatant about their Liberal Marxist Agenda...sure FIX NEWS is a threat to them..it is the only free NETWOEK available to the AMERICAN PEOPLE.... The Czars the COMMUNIST who over lord the Government and the deception is something we all know to be true.. Obama is bringing the USA to its knees. The White House does not care about the AMERICAN PEOPLE..they have an Agenda to follow and the time is running short for them to ram it down the throats of the CITIZENS while they entertain ILLEGALS AND COMMUNIST on our blessed soil. GOD BLESS FOX NEWS ..GOD SAVE GLENN BECK! LET TRUTH PREVAIL, AMERICA WAKE UP!

As far as the war with FOX, the only opinion that the Obama administration is interested in is the president's. If you disagree with him, you are simply wrong. He is smarter that everyone and therefore his opinion is the only one that should be heard! At least, that is what they are trained to believe! If you listen to their reasoning on the real issues, they make excuses that a reational person can see through, without difficulty. To an irrational person, what they say makes sense. Most Americans are rational. That's why they listen to FOX. It seems to be the only network that broadcasts what rational people think along with the irrational thinkser. That's why it is balanced. Compare the two lines of thought and a rational thinker can tell the difference right away! That's why the Obama administration wants everyone to ignore FOX and will attack FOX. If a Obama rep goes on FOX, that will try to out talk the hosts so that the host's view point can not be heard!

UhOh- Should we expect to see a Fox News czar?

As far as the war with FOX, the only opinion that the Obama administration is interested in is the president's. If you disagree with him, you are simply wrong. He is smarter that everyone and therefore his opinion is the only one that should be heard! At least, that is what they are trained to believe! If you listen to their reasoning on the real issues, they make excuses that a reational person can see through, without difficulty. To an irrational person, what they say makes sense. Most Americans are rational. That's why they listen to FOX. It seems to be the only network that broadcasts what rational people think along with the irrational thinkser. That's why it is balanced. Compare the two lines of thought and a rational thinker can tell the difference right away! That's why the Obama administration wants everyone to ignore FOX and will attack FOX. If a Obama rep goes on FOX, that will try to out talk the hosts so that the host's view point can not be heard!


Risky Business?

American media corporations which support the radical views of the right wing, racist mouthpiece, Fox News Network, by giving them EQUAL weight in manufactured debates labeled "news," should be considered co-conspirators fomenting anti-American unrest bordering on treason, a right not protected by the First Amendment.

To be considered news rather than propaganda or opinion, reportage should be devoid of opinion, without inflammatory sensationalization through exagerated content or attacking style.

The idea that Americans should be forced to choose between competing, simplistic, absurdly fanatical positions on every public issue is not only insulting to our intellect, but a corruption of critical thinking.

The inability to tolerate the tension of holding a complex thought in one's gaze is evidence of unstable mental function and should be called out wherever it appears as proposed public policy.

Google Borderline Personality Disorder to learn more about a disorder, a sub-clinical form of which may be of epidemic proportions in America today.

Ange Lobue, MD, MPH, BSPharm
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
trinidadca@gmail.com

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

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

I think that's a possible new example for merriam-webster to use for the word 'chutzpah'.
Ahhhh... the incredible audacity of beckness.

This is to funny, news media talking about being fair and balanced. They put it out before the truth is known, ruin people with rumor. Then put the retraction on page 95. The news media is the largest terrorist group on the planet. Causing more fear and hatred than any other group. There is no more truth and integrity in the news. They go for the scandal and not the good people are doing to help one another.

Fox is so laughable and transparent. I often wonder what kind of idiot buys the National Enquirer or other fake newspapers. Same people that watch Fox News.

So Obama would meet with Ahmadinejad but he won't meet with Glenn Beck? Beck's not all that bright, I'm sure Obama would come out looking better than he does by ducking everyone on Fox. O'Riellys interview with Obama curtainly didn't hurt him. I hope he's getting better advice on Afghanistan, etc., than he is on this subject.

Perhaps from inception, Fox news has been very political in not only their editorial view, but also in the news stories they select to cover or not cover, and how they tend to report them. How it can be newsworthy for someone to note this fact is absurd.

It is insulting for someone to compare telling this truth to the mas murder of six million people. Has anyone at Fox apologized for Beck's ridiculous exaggeration? How about you? Why isn't this outrageous comment the headline? Where is your journalistic integrity?

It is about time that people in the administration and elsewhere started to tell the truth about Fox News. It is simply not a credible news enterprise and should not be treated as one.

I heartily disagree with this from your column: "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."

First of all, Fox News may have higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC, but they do not have higher ratings than ABC, CBS, or NBC. They a re a big fish in a small cable pond. What's more, they do not even have more viewers than CNN (check the CUME ratings).

More importantly, Fox News does not appear to have much influence over voters. They were the top rated cable news network in 2006 and 2008, but those years still favored Democrats electorally by significant margins. Fox's audience is a niche crowd that is heavily slanted toward the right. There is little to gain for Democrats or progressives by appearing on Fox News.

By making these recent comments about Fox, the administration is introducing a necessary dialogue into the media world about what constitutes responsible journalism. Fox does not measure up in any respect and therefore, deserves no respect. They are no more credible than any of supermarket tabloids reporting space aliens in the White White House.

Macbeth had the word on Fox News a few centuries back.

"Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. "

Isn't this the president who said that he is every American's president? Not just a president of citizens who happen to belong to the Democratic party? Isnt this the president who continually talks about bipartisanism?

How can someone with such stated claims only adopt liberal news media outlets associated with the Democratic party and then libel and ostracize news station that he and everyone knows are associated with Republican viewpoints?

The message is clear. President Obama wants to make it clear that he is a extremely liberal democrat, that he is either incaple, lacks the courage, or is so blind, stubborn, elitist, and absorbed in pushing purely liberal agendas that he will not listen in anyway to Republicans (or for that matter the american people as a whole), that he wants only to hear or talk with democratic "yes-men", and that he lacks the courage to even talk to anyone with a different opinion. This action suggests not in the slightest interested in bipartisanism. And he could care less about the other half of the country's opinions. When you stop communication, systematic oppression is next.

Actions speak louder than words, and this action could come off appearing very hypocritical. This is not a move to improve bipartisanism. While some other countries execute their political opposition, this is not there yet, but it is a step in that direction.

Never wrestle with a pig. You just both get dirty, and the pig likes it.

You have to be kidding me. "Fox represents a point of view.." What about MSNBC? Fox is a middle of the road news organization that is trying to speak the truth. Congratulations to Fox on a job well done! Please keep it up.

Rush Limbaugh never called himself a journalist. He is an "entertainer" by his own admission.

Fox is exactly the same. It is politics as WWE wrestling.

Entertaining yes, but certainly not "news" by any traditional standard.

Any organizaiton that needs to tell you it is "fair and balanced" every two minutes, obviously is not. They certainly never claim to be "objective."

I'm fine with the White House calling BS on Fox "News". At best Fox is "infotainment" but its true catagory is "propaganda."

You call Velveta "real cheese" would you?

I think that Obama is right. FOX is Very Clearly an opinion network with Very Little reporting. FOX is like the Jerry Springer of opinion shows. Very little credibility in objective reporting and Highly right wing opinions. Not a news network at all.

I am not American, but I was here visiting over the weekend. This Fox News that was on the Hotel Tele was interesting in that much of the discussion was about some guy complaining that he did not get a football gig because he was white and a conservative? is that news.

And I must say that throughout the weekend, I did not get a lot of news. i got some people discussing your President in a way that was so negative you could tell they don't like the guy - I mean they said absolutely nothing good about him, and even made very disparaging points that showed this stations motive above.

I did not hear a lot of NEWS on this station and switched it off.

If anything, I'd say that Beck has been missing his meds for a long time now. I fully agree that FOX is an over-the-top infotainment network, much like the tabloids that Murdoch prints all over the world. I also approve of the way the White House has called them out on it. As for Gergen, he's a Republican....nuff said.

This is quiet strange indeed. A country where our freedom of speech is a prerogative questions why Fox reports the way it does. This scenario uncomfortably brings up Orwell's 1984 where the Ministry of Truth decided how to inform the people. It is funny, really, how a promised "change" decides to change and interfere in what we see on our screens. It is a dogmatic move which attempts to destroy any other opinions outside the walls of Obama's administration cabinet. As we start making these sheep concessions, we'll soon lose everything but the ruthless shepherd.

It's sad that the White House has nothing better to do than worry about what Fox News is saying about them. Sounds to me like Fox News hit a nerve. Maybe what they are reporting is a little to close to the truth for comfort?

Nobody cares about Fox "Conservative Opinion" News except for NASCAR-watching rednecks sitting in trailers drinking cheap beer and impregnating their daughters.

Just too funny this pot calling the kettle idiom of the White House accusing FOX of being marked with or guilty of the very thing they are pointing out. They truly believe more then half a America sheet and cattle and will follow blindly. Unfortunately for the people who make this country work, the White House has it left.

both parties are corrupt to the hilt,ITS time republicans and democrates step aside and give the people back their country or we will take it back,over the last 20 years they done more harm then good.

Faux News

Where are the WH priorities?

I'll tell you. They are foaming at the mouth incensed that a network has journalists and investigators who are skilled and capable of reporting on issues and agendas that this "transparent" administration doesn't want revealed.

They are enraged that FOX opens the doors and windows for the world to get a glimpse of the administration’s ties to ACORN and political boiler room dealings that are the exact opposite of what the kool-aid train promised. So they waste taxpayer dollars strong arming FOX and attempting to sway advertisers and consumers away from this venue by smearing them.

They preach tolerance out of one side of their mouths but use every in-the-bag media tool available to muzzle any view that credibly opposes theirs.

If they could rewrite the US constitution - which they now call a "living" document - they would tweak in a well crafted clause that would bookend freedom of the press to "acceptable" opposition. Who knows, the new SCOTUS might just hammer that out.

History, unless we ignore it (Iran) or rewrite it, teaches us that controlling or socializing the media ends badly for the citizens.

Ask the journalists, reporters and anchors in the MSM to recite the Journalist's Creed. Their eyes will glaze over - because they've never even read it. Or they will immediately attack you like the White House is doing to FOX- a sign that they fear exposure.

Regarding your last comment:
"I dunno, don't these folks have something better to do?"

Which 'folks' do you mean -- Fox News commentators, or the Obama White House? Clearly, the White House should have many somethings better to do, like, maybe governing? Sheesh, how petty can the White House be?

If the White House is truly concerned that Fox News is spreading lies, then they should call them on that, with enough specifics and clear detail that it should be obvious where the fault is. If the White House can't do that, then maybe all of Fox News' blather is more than just noise, no?

never argue with anyone who buys ink by the ton!

I didn't hear anything inappropriate in that sound bite. I agree with him.

I dunno. The old approach of treating Fox News like a regular news agency hasn't worked so well either. Fox News efforts to get folks to the Tea Parties crossed the line well into partisanship, it seems to me. I think it's refreshing that the administration is calling it like it is.

What does the WH have to lose? Fox maintains a relentless drumbeat against them, no matter what. This is just admitting what's going on already.

I'm an european citizen that spent some weeks on the US and i must confess that i was amazed with Fox News... It's just a propaganda network that resembles (in my point of view) the ditactorial regimes propaganda factories.
I was actually quite puzzled, cause where i live, there's an official entity that does not allow a propaganda TV show to auto-proclaim themselves as a News Show. To be considered a news show there must be some filled requisites that Fox News wouldn't be able to fill.

I find myself wondering if Emanuel and Axlerod think Americans are stupid?
Maybe at times we are a slow pick-up, however we are better than thier low opinion of us.
I can only hope all Americans see that we are being fed a well rehearsed script, with Emanuel and Axlerod now coming forward as not to make Obama seem like a whiny kid.

I long ago gave up watching Fox News. I believe it was about the time they took over the presidential election and announced George W the president when it was still quite early in the race and the west coast had several hours to go before the polls closed. Fox is the sensationalism of the conservatives - 1st to try and scare you then manipulate. I don't want anything to do with those tactics and Fox is a driving force in those tactics. I even gave up watching any programing on Fox. I feel watching the network supports their political views.

Whatever FOX News is doing must be working! It's not everyday you get the full attention of the White House. Personally, I believe the White House is trying to rally its base as they see their popularity sinking fast and their proogram proposals stuck in the mud.

NO, they DON'T have anything better to do!!! These Fox "News" assholes have been running amuck for YEARS and it is about time someone had the BACKBONE to call them on it.

Why does media cover lunatic paranoid fear monger Glen Beck almost every day? He is a disgrace and a shame . What has become of our media?? Fox news started the slide down to the gutter and has become an outlet for racists, lunatics, conspiracy theorists, the deathers, the birthers, the end of the world crowd and above all a propaganda arm of the Republican Party which shamelessly throws mud on Obama 24/7. Unless the Republicans firmly disassociate from this lunatic crowd, the party is going in to oblivion.

To think these fools on the network media are actually important in defining America..Is like thinking Bank of America is working in the best intrest of their Depositors!

It is an odd strategy. Of course Fox isn't real news, and of course plenty of zombies will still watch it thinking it is, but arguing with Fox isn't going to change anyone's opinion either way. I can only assume they're doing so in order to influence advertisers; otherwise, this backfires.

Obama cracks are showing, he is unstable. Worried about Fox news, while Americans are dying. OH poor poor Obama sing his praises. This is just the start He will crack
He is a joke.
Take the Obama pledge
Oh I am sorry for being a American, I am sorry for questioning the great Obama, I am sorry for my brother and grandfather dying for our country, I am soory for working in Africa as a health volunteer I am sorry for ever questioning Obama choices or glad that Fox new does.
Why should I doubt Obama when he picks people that support Man / Boy sex relationships as young as 3 years old, why questions his friends that have placed bombs and destroyed lives and government offices, why question his friends that thank Stalin and Castro are and great leaders after they have killed everyone that questioned them.
Oh great Obama how great a fool you are, you will go down in history as the person that destroyed the USA
Mr Khalib Al Mansour will be very happy with you. Percy Sutton is also very proud of what you are doing. They are making millions shorting the US dollar.
Don’t worry no one will question your relationship with them.
CNN will not say a word are we not lucky to have a news company like CNN.

How can a government agency attack a media outfit, albeit a right wing one. I mean they are not attacking CNN for being to unbiased toward Obama. This is not what our administration should be saying... basically they have been calling their opponents in policy "liers". so sad... so sad...

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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