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. ThinkAgain

    Everyone knows that all news organizations – be it broadcast, Internet or print – to a certain extent reflect the bias of the editor(s).

    The problem with Fox is that, despite their motto of "fair and balanced," it actively promotes just one perspective – that of the conservative base of the Republican Party – to the point of lying.

    Fox presents opinion as fact and doesn't demand fact-checking. And instead of engaging in civilized debate, it promotes name-calling and demonizing of those who share a differing opinion or who present facts that contradict or debunk their perspective.

    In other words, as any person willing to do a little research of their own knows, Fox most certainly is a propaganda arm of the GOP.

    October 18, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Mike Buck

    Are you telling me that Hannity, Beck and O'Reilly are not really news people but instead are political propagandists that brainwash a certain uneducated segment of the population? I'm shocked! I thought that they, along with Rush Limbaugh, were there for Jon Stewart and Colbert to have someone stupid and hypocritical to laugh at!

    October 18, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. AndyB

    When they have the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Hannity etc. how can they taken as a serious news organization? As opposed to the anti-American, lies and hate mongering that they spew on a daily basis.

    October 18, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. brad

    Rahm and the Bamster are TERRIFIED of FOX news. They are the ONLY real News organization on cable thats left in this country. The rest all take their cues from the Chief Of Staff of the POTUS.

    October 18, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Ralph

    CNN, MSNBC etc., etc, etc. aren’t the news organizations they used to be. They are now mostly starry-eyed cheerleaders for Obama and company. Most of their “newscasters” should be on the Democrat Party payroll. (Or maybe they are….)

    October 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. james

    Fox news is not a legit news org because they have a line of opinionated shows that are very right leaning? If so, this argument can also be made against CNN and MSNBC, no?

    The issue is not that we have too many opinions, personal point of views or critics on the airwaves. The issue will be there if we do not have enough opinions, view points and those who are willing to criticize the governing body of this country. While i am not a faithful Fox viewers, i am uncomfortable at how uncomfortable the WH is with the critism coming out of FOX. While i try to suppress the thought, i am beginning to question whether the adminstration has something they would like to hide............and so i have been tunning into fox a bit more to see what has ruffle the feathers of the obama administration.

    October 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. deo Uvetie

    i agree that fox are bias. they are Republican arm but the white house should not engage with them. what the white house should do is to correct the facts which are distorted by Fox-news.

    engaging Fox-news is the some as urging with a fool. if you urge with a fool you will look like a fool. this is the some as having a bath in river, then a crazy man takes your clothes and run off. if you chase this crazy man you will look like him. (you all look Crazy)

    so my advice to the White House is do what you have to do but don't engage with fox. course you put fox on the mansion house them instead of mad house.

    October 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Jason

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. Yes, Fox News might be leaning right, but the Liberals have MSNBC and CNN.

    October 18, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. William Lester

    And CNN doesn't have a perspective! The Obama Administration is cutting off important contact with an important portion of the American people.

    October 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Marwan

    I think that if the WH is really concerned about objectivity, they would be better off having these interviews with Fox News and tell them in their face that they are being biased.
    For me having these interviews with WH by CNN without being challenged is a coward act on part of the administration.
    We all know that each news outlet has news reporting and commentaries programs just like CNN and all other channels.

    When Bush was being attacked by every news agency I don't remember any of his staff whining about a certain news instead they executed agenda anyway. That is how each administration should act whether we agree with their policies or not.
    I think that the Obama administration is trying to blame Fox News on how the country is reacted to their actions and decisions.

    October 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Obamanation

    What would the left have said if W would have done this with CNN or MSNBC?????

    So much for those civil liberties. To quote Denny Green, "Obama, you are what we thought you were". Their only civil liberties if they agree with you and the press is only the press if they bash the other guy.

    What a joke!

    October 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Fox news spreads false propaganda filled with hate and fear and it's up to those who listen to do their own fact checking.

    October 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. KO

    The problem I have with all these stories is the description of Fox as "Fox News". Fox is not a news channel. It is an opinion channel. That's certainly their right, but let's not kid outselves that Fox employs legitimate journalists. They have a point of view and ideology, and their entire network is geared towards that. It's no mystery why, for example, you never see anyone from Fox News moderate a presidential debate–they're not a news network.

    October 18, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. GD

    The WH are cowards and CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS are in bed with them. They are having their political orgy. Real news organization have no bias and investigates the truth. The clowns mentioned above are FAR from a NEWS organization. By the way I'm not a republican, just a American that want my news raw and not filtered through the WH lens. Who needs a WH news czar when you have these clowns!

    October 18, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  15. Ruty

    I treat fox news like a cartoon channel. I am amazed at the stupidity of their idiots like Beck, Hannity. O'reilly and Huckabee.

    October 18, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. charlie in Maine

    The Truth has a liberal bias. the other organizations sound liberal when they tell the truth. This makes Fox stand out. We will have to le`arn to live with it. Take it all with a ton of salt.

    October 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. Tom

    So it's okay for a news agency to have a "perspective" if it gets Obama the Democratic nomination and ultimately the election, just don't let that "perspective" become a challenge to his actions. I applaud Fox for being the only news agency willing to question Obama's abilities and results. And it's ridiculous that CNN is caring this story, as they have been Obama's message-carrier and chief cheerleader since his campaign began. Bias is bias and I think we all miss the true journalistic integrity of years past.

    October 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. GP

    Fox doesn't do news. They have a so called news segment in the morning, but each story is then followed by analysis by ultra-right wing operatives or republicans.

    If they really wanted to report and let the viewer decide, can the followup analysis. Are they afraid their viewers will draw the wrong conclusion from their selective story coverage?

    Fox is a 24/7 Op-Ed channel. Claims to the contrary are based on fantasy.

    October 18, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Rick

    More troubling messages from the Obama administration, jeez, it really does sound like big brother.

    Now, the White House is deciding how news agencies should act and picking and choosing who is good and who is bad. Wow, freedom of the press? Hmmm?

    Isn't this the same White House who asked the people of the United States to report fishy emails?

    Folks, you better be paying attention, something very wrong is going on.

    October 18, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. chris

    nobody wants to hear your crying and why is your brother zeke writing the health bill!!! somebeody needs to expose you frauds instead of cnn ans msnbc abc and cbs licking your behinds!! you are afraid of the real america now revolting against you communists!!! Right and cnn is a news organization, they are the front for obama and the reason he is in office, birth cert???? friendship with bill heirs???? hate monger reverand white, if these things happened to republicans they would have been completely smeared and out of the pres election!! come one you have now all been exposed for the frauds that you are and you cannot believe it happened so fast, but the once fooled americans are now realizing the mistake they made in voting this guy into the white house after all of these czars that are anti-american have been brought into the white house, god please help us get through this truly dark time and hopefully we will make it through.

    October 18, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Brenda

    TangledThorns – you've obviously been watching too much Fox propaganda. Too bad for you and your family.

    October 18, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  22. Medi2856

    Obana is a real jerk!! Anyone who doesn't agree with his faulty assertions has his henchmen condemn, humiliate, or blow-off their credibility of their opposition – soundsa like Richard Nixon all over again; What more can you expect from a community organizer weith NO national, no less international, leadership...the great Black hope has evaporated to an embarrassment.

    October 18, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. katiec

    Fox isn't a news channel. It is a media of hate, lies, fear mongering and right wing radicals. They will say or do anything regardless of it's merits, authenticity or misinformation they give to those who are uninformed and put any creditibility in what they spew.

    October 18, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  24. TeddyBallgame

    For Pres. Bush, it was the reverese all the MSM opposed him, now it's just Fox doing the questioning of our President. The rest of the media, including CNN, have decided to be Obama lapdogs and sit this presidency out and not do their jobs. It's sad, scarey how personal politics and preferences drive media coverage in the US today.

    October 18, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. A concern Citizen

    FOX News is a Disgusted channel full of hatred period!

    October 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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