“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