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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 first watched Fox News many years ago because I liked Bill O'Reilly and his fair and balanced rhetoric. But, as time went by and Bill began to talk over people that didn't agree with his views and then became just outright rude to any one that wasn't a staunch conservative, I stopped watching Fox News. I use an antenna now so I don't have to be bothered by them. But, I can safely say that Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the rest of the ilk are nothing but Republican Party mouth pieces. The White House is absolutely right, Fox News is not a news channel. It is a propaganda machine and a political arm of the Republican Party. Period... It rates second only to Rush Limbaugh as being obnoxious.

Obama can't handle any criticism so he tries to bury the voice of his critics. Fox definitely leans to the right, but you can't seriously pretend that bothers you when CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS are all slanted just as far to the left. Did you see Bush lashing out like this when he was bashed for years on his policies (and he was bashed ridiculously by the left)? Apparently it's only a problem when a Democrat is being criticized. Barrack didn't see a problem with movies about the assassination of Bush, so I have a hard time feeling sympathetic towards his administration when one media corporation has the balls to stand up to him.

"that (Fox) happens to feature quite a few conservative voices" is true. But it is also true that Fox is the only "news" source that employs conservative voices to present a balanced view on national issues. All the other "news" sources are overtly socialist, or fawning in their coverage. Only Fox raises issues and probes for answers. Obama is now taking Hugo Chavez as his mentor and guide in media questions.

America is build on the principle of freedom in cluding free speach. Only the dictators and autarchies afraid of the right of the free speach! Goverment fight with media will back fire because American people are smart enough knowing what the consequences will be. American don't like the attempt of killing or control free speach, no matter who he is! We will against it, and he will lose.

Neil Chenoweth writes in his book, RUPERT MURDOCH: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST MEDIA WIZARD, page 44, how Murdoch installed a bust of Lenin on his mantelpiece at Oxford and referred to Lenin as "The Great Thinker." No patriotic American would advertise nor work for Rupert Murdoch!

The 'potato people,' the 'little people,' the 'crazy people' and the 'great unwashed' that hang out at Fox insult our cherished Constitutional First Amendment freedoms for which many brave, patriotic people sacrificed so much. Our country deserves better!

Uh..huh...Fox News not news? MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS is news? We have a very unhealthy attitude here and if Fox News, because it is the only station on the air which gives conservative opinions, is bounced, then we better sign-off our country as no longer the freedom loving country it once was. "Freedom of Speech" is a constitutional right. How many times was George Bush bantered and battered by the above news stations. I would like to see George Bush back again, rather than the Obamaites. It's OK to bash conservatives, but when conservatives fight back, time to gooooooooooooooooooooo! It will be USSR rather than USA if this conspiracy is successful. Just goes to show how thin skinned the new administration really is, doesn't it?

It will no longer be God Bless America, it will be God Help America!

I don't know why the article isn't title "The Fox News war against Obama'. As near as I can tell, that's the way it started and it has been very one sided.

As a member of the LGBT community, and my personal political views and beliefs. Fox news is a joke! They twist for the conservatives.....the conservatives who in the end are going to kill everyone off with one of their nukes! Conservatives need TO WAKE THE F UP! Get real.....remember the constitution? SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? Ya well Im real sick of sicko conservatives using religion as their sole political reasoning.....this applies to fox "news" as well!

I don't watch FOX but happened to the other day at a relative's house....and I agree with the administration's assessment. It's just a right wing propaganda network loaded with angry and mean spirited bombast. It was entertaining though, but hardly analytical or news.

Wise Old man said you better know the answer to the question before asking the question. You would think they would have learned about that in attacks on other people like Bush when it was all fair and game. Funny when you can dish the heat but can't take a Punch ! It really shows what imbeciles we really are in all of this. No One never Wins ! Sad for what our society has become.....

if the administration was really interested in 'war' with Fox, all they'd need to do is call out Rupert Murdoch's long history of sucking up to the Chinese Communist elite, and News Corp's leading role in spreading Communist propaganda. Such as Fox's help to China Central Television in developing a propaganda website, and assisting in putting the People’s Daily (the mouthpiece of the Communist Party) online. News Corp’s NDS subsidiary even helped China create a proprietary satellite encryption system.
It would be like shooting fish in a barrel if the administration really wanted 'war'. obviously they don't, and this story is way overblown.

It appears that the WH does not know a News show from a Commentary show, they had better learn fast.

If Rahm & Axelrod cannot take the heat, he had better leave the Kitchen.

i can not stand ignorance and close-minded people. that is why i can not stand fox news and the people who watch it.

Fox news. Fox news mixes Facts with Fiction. Just don't watch it then.

Let me get this straight - Obama thinks he's tough enough to deal with Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, etc., and solve the massive unemployment problem, but he's afraid of FOXNEWS?!?! Is there something wrong here?

You point out that FoxNews has a number of conservative pundits working for the network. So, I guess Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Madow (on a network owned by NBC, by the way) are independents? Please.

The issue isn't about FoxNews - it's about what a joke the other networks have become. Viewers aren't stupid - the networks, CNN and MSNBC have been kissing Obama since before the election and they're still doing it. CNN actually fact checks Saturday Night Live skits slamming Obama. Anderson Cooper calls tax protesters "teabaggers." (so funny! welcome to elementary school). Just last week, CNN routinely MADE UP quotes and attributed them to Rush Limbaugh - with no support. DL Hughley is a COMMENTATOR on CNN and said the 2008 Republican Convention looked like a group of NAZIS.

This is a serious news network? I mean, c'mon!

It seems to me that the intent here is to silence or at least discredit FOX news for holding them accountable for their actions. I have felt for some time now that the other news networks have mostly favored democrats in their coverage and have failed to properly inform the public if it meant going against the democratic party. If not FOX news then who will step up and hold this administration accountable for their actions.

Fox has 'quite a few' conservatives? Are you being facetious or disingenuous? They were among the first to promulgate the 'throw grandma under the train' philosophy of the health-care plan, no matter how erroneous, not to mention how often they've had to restate their 'facts'.

What people tend to forget about the so-called 'liberal' media, or any media, is that their purpose is to act as checks and balances against any and all agencies, government or otherwise, to make certain that the American people have the facts, the real facts. Fox was created during the Bush Administration as an alternative to the 'liberal' media that kept asking questions about things like whether Saddam Hussein supported terrorists (he didn't) yellow-cake uranium (there was none), the outing of Valerie Pflame (to punish her husband), the legitimacy of invading Iraq (not) and the wisdom of ignoring the war in Afghanistan (something we are paying for now) - not to verify those facts.

To be honest I don't watch Fox Skews much myself - to get into the name-calling business they do so well.

Can we just get along? I'll hug your elephant if you kiss my donkey.

Frankly the moderate and conservative press and commentators have nothing better "to do."

It is their j0b to do their best to balance the biased and dangerous liberal press and comentators. They are required as moderates and conservatives to further the strict interpretation of our Constitution as written and in so doing fight for the restoration of prayer in our schools, narrow the use of abortion and profess and support the Judeo/Christian Word of God demouncing homosexuality as evil.

No Johanna.......Fox News, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are Americans which place great value on the creation of our forefathers. They will fight the selfish, ego driven elements of liberalism to their end.

The manager at my condo complex here is a very right wing Republican and Rush Limbaugh radio show fan...listens to it every day.. he recently changed his license plate on his truck to FOXNEWS. It used to say IAM4BUSH. Then it was DIG4OIL.
So I guess that says something about the administration's position..that they are not out of line?

People who are watching FOX know exactly what they want to hear and to see.
You want to hear democrats' voice go to MSNBC channel

Fighting press is fighting democracy.

It's entirely within the realm of the White House, the enforcer of our laws, to expose Fox News for the slanderous, hateful, and downright inaccurate organization that it is. To say that they dont have anything better to do is to downplay the evil that runs on my channel 43 every hour of every day. It. Is. Wrong. The White House acknowledging Fox's wrongness is a good thing.

I dunno, don't these folks have something better to do?
Although both sides are taking shots at each other it is up to the white house to take the high road and obstain from making jugements about a news organisation. A news outlet knows that stirring up controversy increases ratings. A presidency should be above that.

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

I sincerely hope you are directing that to the White House and not to FNC...

There is absolutely no doubt in the hearts and minds of a large segment of Americans that the majority of the mainstream media outlets and news periodicals are controlled by those with liberal tendencies and as such, they all but in lock step with the Obama administration.... (or, should I say... goose step?)

Recently, Anita Dunn commented on the White House's position to control the content in the media and she said, to the Dominican government during a videotaped conference:

"Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control..."

Where is the day after day reporting of the deaths of our fighting soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq... as we saw each day on CNN and MSNBC during the former administration's tenure?

We heard the constant bemoaning of the major media regarding the deficit under the Bush administration and now it will be nearly TRIPLE.... and no objections from the media???

Here is a comment from the Huffington Post in July of 2008:

“WASHINGTON — The government's budget deficit will surge past a half-trillion dollars next year, according to gloomy new estimates, a record flood of red ink that promises to force the winner of the presidential race to dramatically alter his economic agenda.”

½ a trillion is “gloomy”???

1.4 trillion must be absolutely abhorrent and disastrous, and yet…. Where is the drumbeat of disdain and sheer hatred posing as “the news”?

Ohh wait, high deficits must be okay now because a Democrat is in the White House. Sheesh.

I could go on and on....

Please... you liberal elitists in the so-called “free press” are so ignorantly blatant with your bias, rhetoric and hypocrisy. You will ultimately fail because you do not give the American public anywhere near enough credit.

FOX is no further to the right than MSNBC is to the left.

Anita Dunn is obviously trying to cover up for a terrible choice of words and/or mentors. I've watched her entire speech from whence Glenn Beck got his ammunition. As one who considers himself quite capable of picking up on irony, she seemed quite sincere when she spoke of Mao Tse-tung, as though she really has studied his philosophy.
Sure, Mr. Beck over-does it. But why not? He cries regularly on his show when trying to incite patriotism, and you know what, I think he earnestly desires something good. I don't agree with everything he says, or necessarily in the manner in which he says it, but the guy has brought up some valid points.
But I agree with Johanna. They surely could find something better to do than argue with an opionist.

Poor news agency just doesnt fall all over him and he gets his feelings hurt..What a whining baby !!! Yousatill have MSNBC, CNN and ABC and CBS slobbering on and on about you Bammy...that should be enough....But many of us will tune all of them out and just listen to FOX- the only station that tells the truth !!!!

The White House is furious that Fox exposed ACORN and has pulled the covers back on some questionable WH staffers. They are fighting back as outreach to the far left to show that those exposures won't go unpunished. It just goes to show how loud the voice of the far left is within the White House.

Soooo, its ok for the Whore of a newspaper (which is an insult to whores) The New York Times to endorse liberals and slander conservatives, but its not ok for Fox to have the ONLY conservative view on TV? Besides Fox carries The Family Guy show, one of the most liberal animated series on TV.
You would think that those stupid idiots that got elected would have something better to do. Then I realize that in order to push a bad agenda through you must first try to silence those who would yell out the wrongs you are committing. Next you disarm them.

This is what happens when you put your trust in Lying Politicians (Which 100% of them are). Thats like giving a Known Child molester the full time job of raising your kids. Congrats America. Now the world still hates us for our stupidity and we're turning into a bunch of pussies too.

Of course they are doing the right thing. Fox is going to bash Obama no matter what. Why not let people know that their organization is a conservative opinion piece and not an unbiased news outlet.

LOL... Anyone with half an education, open-minded, and not filled with hate: Knows FOX News... is simply propaganda at it's worst. I think however there should be opposing views to evolution, but these guys are just embarrassing to the species as a whole.
I am sure FOX could find an intelligent correspondent that isn't akin with fear mongering and sensationalism. I watch these guys and I get flash backs of Southern Baptist Preachers Hooping and Hollering from the pulpit. Throwing fire and brimstone in our face yet never offering anything tangible.
I sincerely hope the organization (less its sitcoms) goes the way of the Dodo.

Every other media outlet treats Obama like thier cult leader and has refused to do any real reporting. When Obama says that Fox is operating as an arm of the Republican Party what they are really saying is that Fox is the one news outlet not 100% in their control.

Fox News aka, The Jesus Channel/ GOP TV/ The Glorious Official Republican Government News Network.

While Fox News has the highest ratings, it’s also the same group of people that make up just 20% of America’s electorate… the far right-wing of the GOP.

There will always be an audience for the far right and that’s Rupert Murdock’s Fox News demographic.

Rupert keeps them frothing at the mouth with manufactured fear and GOP talking-points, phony outrage.

Fox is also a right-wing echo chamber.. notice that when “The Wall Street Journal”, “The Weekly Standard” people are on Fox News there’s never disclosure that these people are all Rupert Murdock employees.

Imagine if MSNBC or CNN did this… I don’t know how Fox News gets way with constantly recycling Rupert Murdock’s employees (sockpuppets) from his various media properties.

There’s hardly a word on the “MSM” about Murdock’s world wide (far right-wing) media empire.

Murdock has a lot of influence, example: all of his various sockpuppets, Hannity, Beck, etc, and all of Murdock’s worldwide media holdings trash global warming, President Obama and anything else right-wing Rupert Murdock dislikes.

I think that press and especially individual journalists are deathly afraid of Rupert Murdock and what he can do to them professionally.

Rupert Murdock is the new William Randolph Hearst.

Another thing, Sarah Palin, who is a favorite among the Faux News/ Right-wing crowd is getting Rupert Murdock’s wingnut welfare.

Palin’s (Rupert Murdock’s ghostwriter) book publisher is HarperCollins… a wholly owned Rupert Murdock subsidiary, you ‘betcha.

Also, there should be an award given to the guy that writes the ominous, scary music for Fox News... he's obviously a full-time employee.

No seriously... whenever there's a special where Rupert Murdock wants to convince Americans that Saddam Hussein has WMD, or that Iran/North Korea is going to attack America tomorrow, or a Hannity or Beck segment where they want to scare their right-wing audience (even more) there's always that ominous music to go along with the story.

It's like a scary GOP music video.

Obama is a complete failure. In desperation he is grasping at straw men.

It is long over due that it be said FOX News is not balanced. I'm not sure how naive people are, but the more people that recognize and say this network incites hate and bias the better. The pres of their news group hangs with Rush and Scalia....need I say more?

The stunningly incompetent Obama administration is not content that most of the media has a definite liberal, pro-Obama bias and agenda. Now Rhambo and crew are trying to silence what little (what they perceive to be as) "opposition" left -- even if "opposition" and "conservative" means reporting on such important items as the radicals in the Obama administration (e.g., Anita Dunn, Van Jones).

Truly pathetic and the Obama hacks will not succeed in trying to silence Fox news and talk radio.

I'm not sure that when one side gets to say anything it wants... including fictitious things... that the "other" side needs to stay silent. Sure, when a jackass shoots off his mouth, the better thing is to stay out of it, because you don't want to be dragged into a shout-out with a jerk. But another analogy may also apply, and that is the schoolyard bully who gets away with things because nobody "talks back." It's interesting to hear the "whining" now about other people exercising THEIR right of freedom of speech. Whether it is wise or not is another thing, but the reaction is VERY interesting.

Obama and his cadre of 'protectors' who have taken on the war with Fox News should review what his main benefactor, Thorbjorn Jagland, for his Nobel Prize Award caused him to back Obama so fervently, that of a man of vision attempting to 'unite' the world thru peace. It was not for what he has accomplished but for what 'he may accomplish.'

Jagland also had this to say in defense of his position and that of Obama with his 'war' with Fox News:

"If you are afraid of criticism or debate, then you shouldn't have that kind of position or be in politics at all."

Therein lays Obama's (and his protectors) problem with the American people and their image of him at this time.

He wishes to have no transparency, altho he campaigned openly on that premise, he wishes to have no debate, just pass the legislation the way I WANT IT with Congress not reading it nor allowing the nation to review it for it's positives or negatives.

Obama may be a 'visionary' but he has no substative plan on how to attain his vision. That is left to the 'worker bees' who are in this case some of the most incompetent individuals in not only Congress but in the entire nation.

I do not wish to have the remainder of my life dictated to by the likes of Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Charlie Rangel, Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, David Obey.

I do not wish to have my children and grandchildren subjected to the philosophies of Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Valarie Jarrett, Van Jones, etal., all socialist radicals of the 60's.

Bill Ayers has openly stated he has felt as tho he failed in this mission of destruction and should have caused more havoc than he did.

Van Jones was an admitted socialist and Communist.

With these types of individuals 'running' at his side just what does Obama believe the people of this nation should do? Just join in lock step and go down the merry path toward Marxism?

If it weren't for Fox does anyone on this planet believe that NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN or any other news outlet would present any of these known facts?

If you have nothing to conceal then allow in-depth research reveal what it will.


That is what this is all about. There is far too much for this administration to hide and they absolutely do not wish for these facts to be known. The 'media', in their euphoria to endorse Obama and be on the politically correct side of assisting a black person to become president, never did their due diligence prior to the election.

And if they did they steadfastly refused to reveal it to the public abdicating their responsibility of 'total objectivity.'

It has been said thusly: "If one does not read the newspapers one is uninformed. If one reads the newspapers one is MISINFORMED."

The same can now be said about the major news networks. One cannot believe the objective truth comes out of the mounths of any of them. On the one hand the president and cadre condemn Beck, Hannity and O'Reilly. Yet on the other hand he can readily accept Al Franken who hosted the far left leaning program "Air America" and is now a Senator. The main difference between Franken and the other three is that he did not have enough of a listening audience to keep the program on the air and now this "standup comic" is in the Senate and Obama loves it.

The president cannot expect to play 'smash mouth' politics without any resistance. The American people are not all dummies.

The dummies are in the WH and it's surrogates who apparently are dillusionary and blinded by self-annointed power.

This will not end in a united nation - it becomes more divisive each and every day.

News is news. Foxnews is no more biased than, say, the Los Angeles Times, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post. News is reported and that's that, right? I mean, the LA Times wouldn't let its editorial stance affect how it reports news, would it? And NBC wouldn't infuse its programs with any bias either, would it?
so, let me count them up...
On the Left

Washington Post
LA Times
NY Times

On the Right

Yeah, I can see the overwhelming threat now.

Glenn Beck telling us that's how these "brutal dictators" always start is refreshing considering many, many individuals thought the very same thing about Bush 43 and his warrant-less wiretapping, and throwing people in jail for years without a trial.

Fox is Rush simply 24/7 and mainstream America is sick of this crap. Rush losses his bid, or should I say he was dropped as a partner to buy a NFL team. And as expected he blames everyone else for his situation. It had nothing to do with spewing vile comments for the last 10 years about anybody he didn't care for. His short gig at ESPN ended well, just another indication that Rush has no idea when to keep his trap shut and Fox is walking the same path.

You can isolate yourself with extremist views but that makes elections so much harder to win. Fox and Rush will see to it that Democrats retain the White House for years to come. Wouldn't matter anyway, the damage they have done with their "fiscal responsibility" over the last eight years will doom America to staggering rates of inflation for years to come. And yet they simply put their smug little smile on their faces and point the finger at everyone else and pretend they had no part in it.

American's may not actively get involved in politics at a level that they should be, however, they do remember at election time which party they perceive as the do nothing party.

It's pretty bad when a decorated American war hero with a woman on the ticket that seems better off bending over and grabbing her ankles, losses an election to what the Republican Party termed in a 2007 email as "black, radical, muslin, terrorist", that according to some wasn't even born in America. To me that by itself speaks volumes about what the average American thinks of decisive politics. Keep walking the same road, lock step, and the Republican party will be diminished to a bunch of people that weild no power and can't win anything more than a local election in some hate ridden area of the country where their racial bias sells. Fox and Rush are helping them walk that road and that's just fine for me.

Rupert Murdoch may get his higher ratings and really that's all he cares about, like Rush this is all business to him. I think he is personally going to find this to be unwise in sustaining long term growth of FOX News and the public's perception of legitimacy.

FNC has both News programs and Commentary programs, can't the White House tell the difference? Or do they only like Democratic News channels like MSNBC and CNN?

So in other words the socialist Obama is now declaring who and what constitutes "news" so what we have here is the groundwork of state sponsored news like China and communist Russia.

I like it. For too long Democrats have lived in fear of Faux news, even though it really isn't news. Fox news is just partisan drivel. Of course, you are not going to convince Fox views of that, but why bother? They are a bunch of screw balls (and I say this as someone with a lot of Fox viewers in my family). Why not call a spade a spade and speak the truth? I think it's a good strategy, or, if it's not, at least it's honest!

I don't understand why an advocate of diplomacy abroad can then turn around and say "I will not talk to the other side" at home. Fox News is definitely a conservative voice ... but not a news organization? Come on, get real and leave the elevated rhetoric at the curb.

Truth is not something any faction will confess, for don't all of us just see truth as a card to play to get our own way...

The White House is overstepping their authority and position that Americans pay for. And it's very obvious to people watching the events unfold. Not only is it bad press for the White House, but also potentially illegal. The Presidential oath to protect the Constitution is being violated as Amendment 10 has already been assailed. Now to assail Amendment 1 warrants a Federal trial for violation of the oath.

M. Smith

Look the idiot Beck is lecturing to the media.

I've never seen FoxNews asked any tough question to Bush-Cheney Administration. I can go on and on to point out this guy is a truly idiot.

Fox news is a joke. You get more reliable information from the Daily Show, at least Jon Stewart doesn't try to pass their "news" off as "fair and balanced". I feel sorry for people to take those FNC clowns seriously.

It seems that the Obama presidency was always doomed to be unrelentently hammered but the republican right (and beyond!) for its entire term of office. That's what they did to Clinton. The choice this Administration has made is to unrelentently fire back. It may alienate a few but not responding would be a sign of weakness. I suppose what disturbs the right the most is that Obama's tactic is so Republican!

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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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