I may start calling these posts “What David Meant to Say Was…”
There are two issues with Fox News and the Obama Administration: (1) Does Fox deserve to be taken seriously as a news network; and (2) even if not, is it appropriate and useful for the White House to call them out on it?
Not to be too blunt or anything, but if you think you are politically savvy and also that Fox News is just a more conservative version of the other cable news networks, then you really ought to give up show business. Fox is not a news network in any normally-used sense of the word. I’m not talking about its bias towards one political philosophy or point of view. Bias is not the real issue here.
The real issue is that Fox News has a different core mission than the others. Fox is a deliberate, conscious arm of the Republican Party and the conservative political machine more broadly. It sees itself as a cog in a political/ideological movement with a specific role and function that is more important than reporting the news or informing its viewers about public affairs. That function is to advance the GOP cause—whatever it is today—and to damage the other party. Fox’s main concern–its only one, really–is the effects that their reporting has on the political opinions of its viewers. This is dictionary-level propaganda. Fox does not deserve the trust or respect that its viewers place in the network because it does not respect or trust them with information it does not want them to have.
Here are links to just a sliver of the overwhelming evidence of these truths.
The basic idea, although it’s been said a million times:
The phony distinction between Fox’s “news” and “opinion” content:
On the second issue, the appropriateness and wisdom of the White House getting into this, I’m less sure what I think. As I said last night, it is a little disconcerting to have a White House publicly go after any media outlet. But, what they said about Fox is true, and now the whole country’s talking about whether Fox News is real or fake. So, so far so good. But, I hope the White House drops it now.
BTW, calling this a White House “war” on Fox is ridiculous. See Media Matters for a list of Bush efforts to intimidate and silence media critics. On the absurdity of comparing these criticisms of Fox to Nixon, see this.