By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
I'm the first one to criticize the Obama administration when it does something untoward, or to disagree with any of its policies that I view as off the liberal deep end. But White House Communications Director Anita Dunn's comments about Fox News Channel are factually accurate, plain and simple. Fox News is nothing more than a Republican/conservative cheat sheet. Even Fox fans have the intellectual capacity to understand that concept. They wouldn't be watching if they weren't wingers (or liberals or moderates wishing to get clued in on how the right wing "thinks" if indeed it really does.)
Does Fox put liberals on its air to balance so-called debates on issues? Of course it does—how interesting would it be to watch two conservatives agree with each other? So why bother mounting a counterattack, as Fox executives have done, if the network were anything but what it is? It's befuddling.
The Associated Press reports,
White House unhappiness had been building. The president himself said there is "one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration." Fox's coverage of health care demonstrations over the summer, former administration official Van Jones and the community activists ACORN clearly knocked the administration off stride.
I'm not sure I agree that the administration should be protesting Fox News' so-called investigative reports. But the "news" network designed by Republican partisan and consultant Roger Ailes has never been balanced—not since it placed good-looking, articulate Sean Hannity opposite slow-moving, er, odd-looking Alan Colmes and called it a "fair and balanced" program. C'mon, guys, only drooling carnivores could watch that show and think the two were equally matched in a TV shoot-'em-up.
So does Dunn have a right to knock Fox and restrict appearances on Fox by Obama administration officials? The Bush administration acted similarly toward news outlets it saw as unfriendly. Former House Speaker Tip O'Neill used to say, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." As far as the Bush administration was concerned, Fox News was its dog and that same network is now trying to dog the president and pretend it's not. The network doth protest too much.