"Fox Wars: The Obama Administration Wants to Delegitimize Any Significant Dissent" (Charles Krauthammer, 10/23/2009):
Rahm Emanuel once sent a dead fish to a live pollster. Now he’s put a horse’s head in Roger Ailes’s bed.
Not very subtle. And not very smart. Ailes doesn’t scare easily.
Househas 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 White House 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...
Fox and its viewers (numbering more than CNN’s and MSNBC’s combined) need no defense. Defend Fox compared to whom? To CNN — which recently unleashed its fact-checkers on a Saturday Night Live skit mildly critical of President Obama, but did no checking of a grotesquely racist remark CNN falsely attributed to Rush Limbaugh?
Defend Fox from whom? Fox’s flagship 6 o’clock evening news out of Washington (hosted by Bret Baier, formerly by Brit Hume) is, to my mind, the best hour of news on television. (Definitive evidence: My mother watches it even on the odd night when I’m not on.) Defend Fox from the likes of Anita Dunn? She’s been attacked for extolling Mao’s political philosophy in a speech at a high-school graduation. But the critics miss the surpassing stupidity of her larger point: She was invoking Mao as support and authority for her impassioned plea for individuality and trusting one’s own choices. Mao as champion of individuality? Mao, the greatest imposer of mass uniformity in modern history, creator of a slave society of a near-billion worker bees wearing Mao suits and waving the Little Red Book?
The White House communications director cannot be trusted to address high schoolers without uttering inanities. She and her cohorts are now to instruct the country on truth and objectivity?
Nationalization of major companies, attempts to muscle out critics in the press, efforts to rewrite history in favor of mass-murdering Communist tyrants... Wow. Note that Obama and Putin go after TV rather than print media; the National Review is safe. It's OK to have small freethinking cliques, but you can't give the other guy access to public opinion. By the way, I made a break with CNN last fall. The last straw was a story last October about people losing money in non-FDIC-insured banks, which was all fine up to the sting: they mentioned that McCain's nephew worked in one of these banks, or something. It was such a low blow. A mere pundit would have been ashamed to make such an ad hominem attack on a candidate's family. I would have been ashamed to see freerepublic.com sink to that level. That was the end. I will simply never watch CNN. I don't think it should be shown in public places, but it doesn't hurt me, because I can look the other way, and I always have an iPod to drown out the sounds. I never watched Fox News either but now I feel guilty about that. If I want to keep my First Amendment freedoms, shouldn't I support the network that is standing up for them, even if I don't like it?