October 18th, 2009
03:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Emanuel explains White House's view of Fox News


WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week after White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said Fox News operates like a wing of the Republican Party, President Obama’s Chief of Staff provided another window into the administration’s thinking on the cable news outlet.

“It’s not so much a conflict with Fox News,“ Emanuel said Sunday during CNN’s State of the Union, “I suppose the way to look at it and the way the president looks at it and we look at is: it’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective. And that’s a different take.”

Emanuel also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that it was important to the White House that other media outlets not take their cues from Fox.

That said, Emanuel said the White House wasn’t preoccupied with its ongoing differences with Fox News Channel. Instead, the administration is focused on reviving the economy and determining the right course of action in Afghanistan, Emanuel said Sunday.

In a statement e-mailed to CNN after Emanuel's interview on State of the Union, Fox News said it was open to having a discussion.

"Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization," Fox News Michael Clemente said in the statement, "instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."

In an interviewed that aired last Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn slammed the cable news outlet. “The reality of it is that Fox often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn told CNN’s Howard Kurtz.

“They’re widely viewed as a part of the Republican Party – take [the GOP’s] talking points, put ’em on the air, take [the GOP’s] opposition research, put ’em on the air,” Dunn also said.

And Dunn also shed some light on the president’s decision to forego recent opportunities to be interviewed by Fox News and instead sit for interviews with a number of the cable outlet’s competitors including CNN.

“When he goes on Fox, he understands that he’s not really going on it as a news network, at this point. He’s going to debate the opposition. And that’s fine. He never minds doing that,” Dunn said.

Dunn’s remarks last Sunday only provided more fuel for the already tense relationship between the White House and Fox News. Late last week Dunn traded barbs with Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, who moved to that network last year after a stint with CNN sister network Headline News.

Updated: 1:58 p.m. with Fox News statement

soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Jilleann

    My problem with Fox News is that they don't give accurate facts they distort the facts. They have proven on more than one occasion that they are biased. Need I remind you all of the cases where their own reporters, commentators, etc. referred to Michelle Obama as "Obama's Baby Mama" and made comments about how if Malia Obama was older she'd be pregnant, on drugs, etc. THAT is why I don't ever watch Fox News. They are an absolute disgrace to news reporting and they have no right to be on the air anymore. They have been called out on more than one occasion for their topics of discussion but yet have done nothing to change it because they don't care! I don't watch MSNBC because I feel they are very left leaning, that's why I stick with CNN. In my opinion they are more middle of the road than the other two!

    October 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. arochotech

    There is no one in this administration attacking Fox,they only are making a statement that millions of people already know-the Fox News channel is not a news outlet,they are a an opinion channel that sometimes releases unbiased news. This should not come as a surprise,we were told by the white house that these critics were going to be called out,remember. so if Fox wants to be called a real news station then they need to be unbiased in there reporting.

    October 18, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. amt in CA

    I do not beleive Fox News is a news channel, it is right wing rhetoric giving one side of what people are talking about each day. I never watch this channel(fox) because it has always been obvious to me that it is not a news channel at all.

    October 18, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. FOXLies

    Fox is not about news, Fox is about ratings. It has found a strong hold
    in conservative news coverage for no other reason than it gets the most reaction from both sides.They couldn't care less about its effect on the viewer or honest reporting. .They have pulled other news organizations in to follow suit due to there rating. They have the best graphic artists in the business, they've put millions into visual design. Whether it is covering football or the News no one compares. But there bias in News nothing new and has been going on for years.
    What should concern the average viewer of Fox is-

    1. Do you find yourself listening and believing almost exclusively what Fox saids?

    2. Do you distrust almost all other news organizations?

    3. Do you notice a separation made by Fox by there standard newscasters and columnist or have you noticed that commentary is not separated?

    Have you noticed how much effort is made to reinforce the idea that they tell the truth (and everyone else is a liar) ?

    4. Have you notice Fox focus' on the most exploitive stories and footage they can get there hands on, whether it is news worthy or not?

    Ask yourself those question...

    October 18, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Adelita

    Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill! Fox "News" is just an irritant to be avoided. Would you sit down for an interview with a swarm of mosquitoes?

    October 18, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Bill from CA

    The White House IS focused on the real issues, it's Fox News that is consumed with creating an environment of hatred (i.e. – Glen Beck saying Obama doesn't like white people). I guess when you represent the party of no ideas like Fox does, the best you can hope for is sensationalism to distract people from the fact that the party you represent is responsible for a lot of the mess we're in right now, and are doing little to help solve it.

    October 18, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Wanda, DC

    If FOX news would report straight news maybe people wouldn't be calling them out. They distort facts and present them as truths and mislead their followers. Of course, we care....we care enough not to listen to their fictional stories.

    October 18, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Chappy

    It is interesting that the only people who name call the US President in the entire world are right wingers. I guess they see their ever diminishing tiny world as the only relevant part of the planet. It says a lot about who they are and how they treat others. That is why they do not want health care reform. They don't care about humanity, just themselves.

    October 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Cary G Osborne

    "Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization," Fox News Michael Clemente said in the statement, "instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."

    That Fox News can make such a statement as that above with a straight face is amazing. Their ultra conservative agenda prevents them from reporting on any news item with an eye toward balance at least, or honesty at best. People who agree with their agenda have no desire to read or hear other sides to the stories. Doing such a thing might actually make them think for themselves, instead of being spoon-fed a negative, hateful line of mis-information.

    October 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Nancy G

    Fox News is hardly "news". The only credible person on that network is Shephard Smith. Fair & balanced to the right. I wonder if those defending Fox news are just a tad upset because CNN shows both sides of the argument instead of just conservative viewpoints which is the way journalism used to be.

    October 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. JT the concerned College Freshman from MO

    I think journalism in general, true journalism, is dead at this point. There is no problem with having your own political opinion, but if you let it get in the way of giving all sides of the political spectrum a fair chance in a argument or any event, that is going way too far. Walter Cronkite would be very dissapointed if he saw what was going on now. He was the last true and fair journalist.
    “You spoke with passion for the civil rights
    of all Americans — regardless of if they’re gay or straight. Thank you.
    Fairness is something that we should all agree on so in many ways this was no
    surprise. One day, I hope you’ll even join me on a trip to Capitol Hill to
    argue for this basic right,”
    Joe Solmonese quote
    If we are to succeed as Americans in the future, we have to make at least a true effort to unite and work together. I am 18, and I have a lot to learn, but at least I know this. May God bless the USA, President Obama, and his family. CNN, please post this!

    October 18, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. j

    Fox is really biased if you believe it or not. I remember watching it one day just to see for myself and found out alot. For one they showed a clip from the daily show making fun of Obama, BUT, they convinently left out the funny part and the part that made fun of McCain's health and well being. They showed the part showing the person who does the daily show (forget his name) and him holding a piece of blank paper saying this was Obamas health report over the last 10 years. And that was the clip they showed. They didn't show the part that mentioned McCains 1500 page long (yes it was that long) health report from the last 10 years. So from that clip they seem to get the idea that Obama is either lying about his health report or that he didn't realease it. And that's all i saw from about 15 minutes of fox network.

    October 18, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. SaintStephen68

    The White House is being very immature about this. They imply that there is exactly ONE news organization with a political bias, and that it works against them. The reality is that EVERY OTHER major TV news organization has the opposite bias to some extent. Stop campaigning and run the country.

    October 18, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. James Michael Roberson

    Yeah FOX news would like Obama to come on their programs so they can edit what he says and try to make him look bad. Fox news is more like a cheerleader for the right wing conservatives who have already made up their minds on most issues and just want to see the truth as manufactured by FOX.

    October 18, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. justin

    its really weird... this is supposed to be a free country and yet there cencoring what you can put on the internet not that cool

    October 18, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Yellow dog Democrat

    Anyone who can't see that Faux News is closely controlled by the Republican Party has curdled cottage cheese for brains.

    Faux News is the political equivalent of professional wrestling. It's all fake, but people buy it anyway. If ignorance were a virtue, we would indeed be an illustrious people.

    October 18, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Elizabeth Little

    Hi,
    Also guilty of being an independant...and watch both CNN and Fox news.
    For the White House to be speaking over the media is actually very SCAREY!! This is not their place, when the goverment tries in any way to control media, we need to wake up.

    October 18, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    Dave @12:49 – I think you're missing the point. This administration isn't afraid to go on Fox "News," they're dismissing their relevancy as an actual "news" source. Big difference.

    October 18, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. justin

    Fox is biased but most networks are... Its hard to find any network that their boss doesn't try and influence their ideas in any way. Fox is just usually the one that does it the most and in the harshest way. I'm an independent and doesn't really care for politics and i have watched fox a few times and it really is no doubt

    October 18, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. tochi

    Just look at the people Fox employs. Right wing extremists who care little about facts as long it fits there agenda. Their agenda is to destroy this president and means don't matter. Stop pretending we are talking about alternative view point. It is nothing short of promoting right wing theories and propaganda regardless of merit or facts

    October 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Tom in Pa

    Let's call it what it is...

    News = facts
    Editorial = viewpoint or opinion
    Fox News = Right Wing Editorializing

    It is impossible to report "facts" with out influencing the message. Regardless, Fox News is FAR from "news" – it is right wind editorializing. Fox supported and still supports the policies of the Bush era Republican party and anyone who says otherwise is either an idiot or blind. Does that make Fox wrong? Maybe not... but you can't be honest and at the same time claim Fox isn't a right wing organization.

    October 18, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. Concerned citizen

    This administration appears increasingly desperate to silence any opposition to its agenda. What will they try next when their attemps to deligitimize Fox News fail? This administration is demonstrating a troubling lack of respect for the freedom of speech. Just how far are they willing to go down this road?

    October 18, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Carey Stevens

    At least Fox reports the conservative outlook rather than totally ignoring it like the rest of the mass media.

    If the rest of the media is so fair why are people defecting to Brit news to get a picture of where the current administration is taking the USA.

    The Democrats want everything their way but have not figured out that you cannot have your cake and eat it to.

    October 18, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Jen

    Did the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy determined that Fox News was the least bias of all news programs? I do believe some people confuse the program Fox News with the other programs on its channel. It would be similiar to stating what is said on the View should be associated with ABC news.

    October 18, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. me

    Just becuase the opinion expressed on Fox News is not one the WH appreciates does not mean its not news. It is a real trick the Dems play on the public to villanize whomever they do not agree with. Unfortunaly for the WH, most viewers are Fox viewers.

    October 18, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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