Anita Dunn, the White House communications director who led the administration’s recent fight with Fox News, is stepping down and handing over the reins to her assistant, Dan Pfeiffer. Dunn became a target of Fox personalities like Glenn Beck—who called her a communist and Mao lover—after she said Fox is ”a wing of the Republican Party,” not a legitimate news organization. Is she a casualty of the war between Fox News and the White House? (Watch Fox News cover whether the network pushed Anita Dunn out of the White House)
No, Anita Dunn always intended to leave: Sorry, fellow conservatives, but this isn’t a “Van Jones-style under-the-bus disappearance,” says Michelle Malkin in her blog. Not only is Anita Dunn voluntarily stepping down as Obama’s “lead Fox-basher,” she’s also not going far—Dunn’s close to Obama, and will stay on as a “consultant.”
“Don’t get excited: Anita Dunn is not being thrown under the bus”
Of course this is a win for Fox News: No matter how the White House spins this, says Niall O'Dowd in Irish Central, this is "a victory for Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Fox News." Anita Dunn had to go because she never managed to explain her criticism, so her "puzzling" attack "came across as a blatant attempt to censor Fox and make them untouchable."
"Anita Dunn's exit a big win for Fox, O'Reilly and Beck"
The press threw Dunn under the bus: Dunn wasn’t driven out, but that’s no thanks to the Washington press corps, says Frank Wilkinson in The Week’s Bullpen. After she “initiated the effort to delegitimize Fox News,” it’s not surprising that Glenn Beck and friends attacked her with the ludicrous “Maoist” smear. But it’s shocking that “respected publications” like National Journal and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan helped spread that “character assassination."
"The mao-maoing of Anita Dunn"
Dunn’s departure still helps Obama: Anita Dunn’s insistence on being a temporary appointment, says Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post, made her the perfect person to go after Fox News. So now that the ugly “war” is ebbing, her departure will help the White House “distance itself from the flap” with the conservative news channel.
“Dunn leaving White House, Pfeiffer takes over”
Glenn Beck lost one ‘sparring partner’—did he gain a new one? This might signal a Fox-White House truce, says Steve Krakauer in Mediaite. Then again, it might not. If Anita Dunn “whispers the secret phone number to the Mao Hotline” to Dan Pfeiffer as she walks out the door, the fireworks could begin again. Time will tell if Pfeiffer’s “face will be spending a lot of time on Glenn Beck’s chalkboard.”
“Architect of WH attacks on Fox News, Anita Dunn, leaving at end of month”