They had better watch what they say*

No surprise that Charles Krauthammer would jump to the defense of Fox News:

The White House has declared war on Fox News. White House communications director Anita Dunn said that Fox is "opinion journalism masquerading as news." Patting rival networks on the head for their authenticity (read: docility), senior adviser David Axelrod declared Fox "not really a news station." And Chief of Staff Emanuel told (warned?) the other networks not to "be led [by] and following Fox."

Meaning? If Fox runs a story critical of the administration — from exposing "green jobs" czar Van Jones as a loony 9/11 "truther" to exhaustively examining the mathematical chicanery and hidden loopholes in proposed health-care legislation — the other news organizations should think twice before following the lead.

The signal to corporations is equally clear: You might have dealings with a federal behemoth that not only disburses more than $3 trillion every year but is extending its reach ever deeper into private industry — finance, autos, soon health care and energy. Think twice before you run an ad on Fox.

I'd say he's not even close and it's a joke to suggest that Fox is not opinion journalism.  The White House has correctly pointed that out, and so have many others.  Nobody is challenging Fox's right to be opinionated rightward, they're only bothering to point out what everyone already knows.

Given Fox's sorry record of GOP worship and partisan hackery in its news division, Krauthammer changes the subject to the slightly related, but dishonest claim that the White House wants to shut it down.  What would that be, a straw man or a red herring?  I'd call it a straw man as it alleges the replacement position (shut Fox down!) is the White House's actual position.

Anyway, here's the funny part:

Factions should compete, but they should also recognize the legitimacy of other factions and, indeed, their necessity for a vigorous self-regulating democracy. Seeking to deliberately undermine, delegitimize and destroy is not Madisonian. It is Nixonian

Roger Ailes, President of Fox News Channel ought to know–he worked for Nixon as a media consultant.

*On the title of this post, see here.

9 thoughts on “They had better watch what they say*”

  1. John,
    Do you think it might be a little case of hasty generalization to conclude that everything that is shown on Fox is “opinion journalism”?
    Also, it seems to me that this administration does not have a problem dealing with all kinds of dictators/criminals, but the big evil in this world is Fox News. If Bush saw everything in black and white, Obama sees Fox as “black” and everything else is just gray.

  2. that’s not a hasty generalization (which is a fallacy of reasoning).  It could be false, which I think it is not.

    I think the second paragraph of your first comment is silly.  I don’t think Obama or really anyone has called Fox News the “big evil in the world.”  And if you’re against negotiating with dictators/criminals, then you can explain the grand success of the previous administration in preventing the spread of terrorism, etc.

  3. Agree, John! Bad choice of words: “big evil”. However, you can argue that White House’ response was stronger against Fox News than it was against Iranian dictatorship.
    I’m not debating the ideological issue (to negotiate or not).  In my opinion, negotiation is a must. It’s just that you should negotiate differently with different administrations.
    I find the whole thing silly to begin with. White House should never take sides on media. They should call them out when media is wrong and leave it at that.

  4. The White House already tried to be tolerant of the misinformation output about healthcare reform and economic recovery. Ignoring the mindless abuse didn’t stop the stream of lies coming from Fox pundits intent on rousing the “astroturf” rabble, i.e. fake “grass” with no roots!

    Didn’t Krauthammer assist the mob who attacked CBS and Dan Rather? Krauthammer may have reached a new zenith of neocon hypocrisy.

  5. BN,

    I think the response to the Iranian “dictatorship” (didn’t they just have an election of sorts?) belongs in a completely different category from their response to Fox’s disseminating partisan talking points as a part of their news operation. 

    I think Jay correctly points out that the disinformation spread by Fox can’t simply go unremarked upon. 

  6. Fox lies for sure, but so do the other news stations (though they tend to rely more on card stacking than out rights lies… well some of them.)  Personally, I appreciate Fox not because it itself is “fair and balanced” as it claims, but because it often raises points and arguments that would otherwise go unsaid in the mainstream media.  If one gets a large portion of their news from television broadcasts, then Fox News should be part of their repertoire (though of course not their only source.)  For the White House to attack Fox specifically simply shows that they don’t really have a problem with bias, just bias that might put them in a negative light.

  7. BN you seem to have your finger on the pulse:

    “Ingraham argued that “a lot of people are saying” that the Obama administration is more “impassioned about” Fox News than “other threats to the United States, whether economic threats or real threats, Islamic jihadists.””

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