Sheldon Alberts wrote in “White House drops gloves in Fox fight”, (National Post, Oct.16, 2009, here):
“WASHINGTON - In the nearly nine months since U.S. President Barack Obama took office, no American news organization has annoyed, frustrated or outraged the White House more than Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel.
But a decision by the Obama administration this week to dramatically escalate its hostilities with the cable network has drawn criticism from conservatives and liberals alike, and raised questions about whether the White House needs to develop a thicker skin as media criticism of the president grows.
In a series of public interviews with Fox's media rivals, the White House accused the conservative-leaning network of being so biased against Mr. Obama, it no longer had credibility as a news agency.
Taking the lead in the administration's attacks was White House communications director Anita Dunn, a veteran Democratic strategist who, until now, has kept a mostly low profile within the West Wing. No longer.
"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Ms. Dunn told CNN.
In future, the White House planned "to treat them the way we would treat an opponent," Ms. Dunn told the New York Times. "We don't need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave."
The White House offensive on Fox hardly came out of the blue. Its beef with the network dates to the 2008 election campaign, when Fox reporters and hosts devoted considerably more airtime than other outlets to coverage of controversies involving Mr. Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright and acquaintance William Ayers, a 1960s leftist radical.
But relations have only worsened since then.
In July, Fox host Glenn Beck said on the air he believed Mr. Obama was a racist who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people."
More recently, the White House was upset that some Fox hosts cheered when Mr. Obama failed in his quest to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago, then booed when he won the Nobel Peace Prize.
"It's opinion journalism masquerading as news," Ms. Dunn says.
Fox is already feeling the consequences of the White House anger. Last month, Fox was the only network excluded when Mr. Obama did a series of interviews on the Sunday-morning talk shows.
"They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington," Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said after the snub.
Fox executives also say the White House informed them this month the network will not receive an interview with the president this year.
Alan Lichtman, a history professor at American University in Washington, says the White House goal is to "discredit Fox in the eyes of the American people." In doing so, however, the president also risks diminishing his own stature, Mr. Lichtman says.
"It is unwise for Obama to single out Fox, and generally unwise for Obama to go after the media," he said. "Clashes between presidents and the media are not usually happy for the president. It kind of brings the president down, and makes the president look a bit petty, a bit of a whiner, and it usually just helps the media outlet."
John Nichols, a columnist with The Nation, a left-leaning magazine, called the White House attack on Fox a "radically wrong response" and argued Mr. Obama should engage rather than ostracize the network.
"If the Fox interviewers are absurdly unfair, the American people will respond with appropriate consternation," Mr. Nichols wrote.
Fox, for its part, responded to the White House salvos with equal parts defiance and glee.
Mr. Beck has spent the past four days excoriating Ms. Dunn on the air. His antics have included installing a "red phone" on his set and daring the White House aide to call in directly with her complaints.
"If we got it wrong, we want to correct it," he said. "But if we haven't got it wrong, it looks like you might be engaging in -- what do you call it? -- a smear campaign."
Michael Clemente, the network's senior vice-president of news, said he was astonished the administration could not tell the difference between the network's news programming -- which he maintains has been critical but fair -- and its high-rated opinion shows.
"With all due respect to anyone who might still be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion, my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts, rather than attack the messenger," Mr. Clemente said in a statement.
Mr. Obama's war with Fox is hardly unique in the history of White House relations with the news media. The Clinton administration spent eight years sparring with right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. During the Bush administration, President Bush was once overheard on a live microphone describing one newspaper reporter as a "major-league a**hole."
"Clashes between the President and the media are as old as the republic," says Mr. Lichtman. "You can go back to the end of the 1700s and the administration of John Adams who passed the famous sedition laws designed to quiet editors who were critical of his policies."
Nobel peace prize recipient Obama - who, remember had threatened to "hammer" Canada (see here) over his specious free-trade claims! - is now bravely battling Fox!
It would be great (no?) if the Obama sycophants in Canada, who are so-enamoured with Bammer the Hammer's policies, were treated just as equally: let's see - oh, how about banning the Toronto Red Star (or Red Tsar?) because the government says it is just a research and publicity arm of the NDP?
That'll work - let's ban the Red Tsar! Obama would! And, because he bought beaver tails in Ottawa, well, that's good enough for us!
Oh, how about banning the CBC - isn't that entire network a rat's nest full of "opinion journalism masquerading as news" ?!
Let's follow the great American Messiah's lead here as well; let's ban the CBC, simply 'cuz the gubermint don't like it! Obama would! And, as mentioned earlier, because he bought beaver tails in Ottawa, and we love him, and he loves us - that's good enough!!
Critics of Obama's government policies will be censored and punished!
What about Free Speech, you wonder?
That's only a privilege for government-approved opinion, not yours!
Only the White House can approve who will be their leading fifth columnist media cheerleaders!
Differing opinions need not apply!
You must assimilate and agree with us!
We will tolerate no dissent!
We will censor and silence you!
You must obey!
What is going on in Washington these days?
Remember, just a while ago, the White Castle even opened a snitch line so that people could report supposed propaganda to Obama's army of cenors, who have been at this attack campaign for a long while now.
I'm reminded of John Malagrin's prescient letter (here) from Baltimore in the Washington Times, back on Nov.3, 2008:
"Journalists from The Washington Times, along with two other newspapers, who have dared ask penetrating questions have been barred from Sen. Barack Obama's campaign plane. Local television news affiliates in Pennsylvania and Florida have been ostracized recently from covering Mr. Obama after they dared asked serious questions of his vice-presidential candidate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., about Mr. Obama's candidacy. Of course, everyone knows that private citizen "Joe the Plumber" has been criticized openly and mocked by the Obama campaign for daring to question Mr. Obama's plan of wealth redistribution.
Are these censorships just a glimpse of what life will be like under an Obama presidency? Will other media outlets such as Fox TV News and talk radio be targeted for censorship by a President Obama? Will a private citizen expressing his opinion in the newspaper have Obama goon squads knocking on his door for questioning or have his taxes audited by the Internal Revenue Service?"
Now we have our answer.
Further back, on Aug.10, 2008, John Semmens wrote (see here):
"The Obama campaign announced that from now on all media questions must be submitted in writing, in advance.
“Too many trick questions are being asked,” said Harvey Sain, deputy media specialist for the Obama campaign. “The Senator’s message is getting lost in the media’s demand for answers to trivial matters. Iraq, Iran, drilling, taxes…these petty concerns should not be allowed to distract voters from our promise of hope and change.”
Sain also questioned the motives of reporters asking such questions. “Are they shills for McCain?” Sain asked. “Or are they closet racists? Either way, we’re putting a stop to it. Nothing must be allowed to derail this train.”
In related news, campaign finance records disclosed that Obama has out-paced McCain by $33,000 to zero in contributions raised from Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza. “Oppressed peoples everywhere see Senator Obama as their savior,” Sain crowed. “Even the poorest of them cannot wait to cast their bread upon his waters.”"
'Cast upon his waters'?! O glory be thine.
Yep - a critic of Obama is painted (see here) racist... or, worse: a McCain shill!! Bwa Haha!
Obama's censor-spinners have played that tired card for a long time.
The train can't be derailed by trick questions from closet shills - y'all got that??