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Obama's war with Fox News
What the White House gains and loses by escalating its feud with the cable news channel
 

The White House clearly isn't ready to make peace with Fox News, said James Gordon Meek in the New York Daily News. President Obama's advisors "chose napalm" to fuel the feud between the administration and the 24-hour news channel. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that Fox is "not a news organization," and Obama's closest political advisor, David Axelrod, told ABC's "This Week" that Fox News "is really not news. It's pushing a point of view."

It's wrong for any administration to try to bully the press into submission, said David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun, but Obama's drubbing of Fox News is particularly disturbing. For one thing, it's hypocritical to accuse Fox of being biased while giving the "highly-partisan," pro-Obama MSNBC a pass. And sending out heavy hitters like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod to talk about Fox—instead of, say, finding jobs for the unemployed—shows that the administration is worried more about its image than governing.

"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," said Bonnie Erbe in U.S. News & World Report. But the White House critique of the Fox News Channel is "factually accurate, plain and simple. Fox News is nothing more than a Republican/conservative cheat sheet," and even Fox fans know it. "They wouldn't be watching if they weren't wingers."

That doesn't mean it's smart for the White House to go to war with Fox, said David Carr in The New York Times. It would be better for President Obama to stay above the fray—even after Fox News host Glenn Beck called him a racist. Presidents have always had media critics, and they have always lost when they feuded with people who bought their ink by the barrel. "So far, the only winner in this latest dispute seems to be Fox News," which gets better ratings when tempers flare.

 

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