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. Ted Tartaglia

    If Faux News wants to be taken seriously as a news outlet, it needs to call people like Hannity, Beck, Huckaby, and several other Repub bloviators what they are and not present them as news people. Faux News in the television version of radio's Rush Limbaugh Show and the Sean Hannity Show. If Faux News wants to be right wing talk TV then it should bill itself as such.

    October 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Justin Snow

    I am proud that the current administration has finally made its feelings public about fox news. the white is accurate in saying that its more of "a perspective" than a news agency. Furthermore I applaud the presidents efforts to appear on the network in the past and debate their "anchors" on various issues. I cant recall a single Bush interview on cnn. I think its time that fox takes a step back from the republican party and focuses on reporting the news for a change even if, god forbid, it is something positive about President Barack Obama.

    October 18, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Bowfinger

    Is it me or did this article state that Raulm Emmanuel warned other media, including CNN not to follow Fox News lead? The only thing missing was the "or else" end of the threat. What exactly does he mean by a different "perspective". You mean like bringing to light facts or views that do not support their agenda? Did CNN challenge him on this premise of White House control of the news perspective or did John King merely nod knowingly at such an outrageous notion? You guys are in danger of losing the last shred of credibility you have if you do not push this further.

    October 18, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Rick

    Crap, I forgot I'm a racist, I disagree with Obama.

    October 18, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. JLS

    I don't understand how Fox News can reward Glen Beck with a job. He is a college dropout and supposedely a reforming durg addict/alcoholic. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove all fit the same mold. They are perfect voices for the Republican Party.

    1. College Dropout
    2. Convicted Felon, Drug Abuser, Alcoholic
    3. Draft Dodger.

    October 18, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Rush's Twitties

    Mr. Emanuel is correct. Beck was outed by the ladies on the View for an outright lie about a DC train ride.....admitted it....then the 'next' night went on Faux News and recanted his lie.

    Fox News = Faux News

    October 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Richard

    The Obama administration seems to be playing according to the Bush playbook. If you don't agree with us you are wrong. It's an obamination!!!!!

    October 18, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. ralph in md

    Why are we making this complicated? FOX News is a JOKE!!!

    October 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. John

    If obama and his chicago crooks and thugs have nothing better to do than attack Fox they need to resign. Mr obama this is not Venezula you cannot repress the media. Your thugs need to shut up and do their job .

    October 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Yahbut

    Rahm Emanuel doesn't like Fox News because he and others in the white house (like David Axelrod) cannot control them. Just like any other TV news station Fox News has both news and opinions. One cannot help but notice that if anyone or any organization disagrees with what is said by this administration then this administration tries very hard to destroy them. Maybe they have forgotten what country they live in and, like it or not, we ALL have the right to disagree with our government and we intend to keep it that way.

    October 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Oliver

    I am not so much against Fox News reporting a different side of the stories but what I find disturbing is that some large portion of their reporting has the goal to misinform and sharply divide the American people. I see a lot of hatred in their "news".

    October 18, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Tom Drouhard

    Fox "News" is a joke and actually quite entertaining. Mr. Beck carries one diagnosis and will likely soon carry another.

    October 18, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Chris

    It's funny, during the Bush years, that administration routinely fed talking points and carefully choregraphed interviews and events through Fox News. The Right proclaimed that all other news shows were part of the "liberal media." Now that the Democrats are in power, the Right has started referring to all other news as "the state run media." Fox was the state run media during the last 8 years. And now they are the 24 hour anti-Obama station.

    October 18, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Edmeister

    Fox is any thing but news, I have to listen to Beck's show every day at work and it is just sickening, any one who takes these people seriously really scare me.

    October 18, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Mark S.

    The right wing whack jobs are out in force on this article. All these people saying that the WH and the president are cowards, when they are the real cowards, hiding behind lies and bigotry.

    October 18, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Bob

    All news outlets, including CNN, have their own perspective. Personally, I think the WH is foolish to try and fight the biggest cable news outlet. Take them head on and win the debate.

    October 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. usualone

    Those people who think the other networks are on the President's side, apparently do not listen to the other networks. These networks produce balanced information. I especially notice this with CNN. One reason these folk may believe the other networks are biased is that many reporters show their astonishment as to how angry with vile comments of those opposed to the current administration. I am astounded at how angry people are. Their methods of discourse show their rage and show their unreasonableness to exchange ideas. When the Democrats were the underdog for several years, I don't remember hearing such sensational, disruptive comments from them.

    October 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. David

    The first sign that Fox Brain Washing has succeeded is when you accept the premise that all the other news channels are "left" and Fox is the only one you can trust. It's just like any other cult.

    October 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. richard

    I have to confess I don't listen avidly to CNN or Fox but have seen enough to have some opinion. I'm open to input but was interested in this prior comment---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?-It's hard to see anyone arguing Fox is not right leaning or MSNBC leftist but I don't get the CNN addition. Who's the consistent leftist there(other than the person who doesn't share your bias)? And they do have Lou Dobbs.
    But even beyond the opinion people at least CNN doesn't seem to me to have the interviewer gang up with the leftist interviewee on the right winger as clearly happens on the opposite side on Fox.
    And let's admit it, often perceived bias in a news network is often any news that doesn't agree with our opinion.

    October 18, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. simon

    Fox news should change their name to opinionated news channel. American people knows news when they see them and they also see opinion in the same lense. Sean Hannity always distort president's message to fit his audience and Beck has the audicity to call president racist without any evidence. Fox is in the same class with talk radio and should not be taken seriously.

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Wingnuttia-Free Zone

    FOX: the news you want to watch when what you want to watch is not the news.

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Eric

    Just because CNN doesn't support your point of view about Obama and the White House , doesn't make them leftist or biased or somehow in bed with the current administration.

    I'd like to say the same thing about FOX, but their admitted policies regarding their own journalists make that a little difficult.

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Big John

    The FOX motto: "We report (what we want you to hear ) You decide" (now fall into lock step behind our opinion)
    Fox is neither fair nor balanced.
    Fox sux
    They don't deserve air time

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Neva Stoltz

    Fox reports from a perspective and what does the White House judge all the other news by? "The other news is from the Obama perspective"
    This is another don't ask and we won't have to lie from the White House! Why aren't they complaining about MSNBC and their liberal wing agenda?? I was a Democrat all my life until the liberals raided the political party and now I want nothing to do with the organization! Now the only way to get any news at all is to watch Fox!

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Aileen

    I would think the president would have more on his mind then sending one of his robots out to trash a news station. In America we have free speech, or I think we still do. I watch all the news channels and quite frankly Fox news is the only one that doesn't kiss Obama's butt. I think that Obama is getting worried that Fox News is not to something, like the truth.

    October 18, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12