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. Michael

    Fox NOISE has been a pulpit for right-wing-nuts for years. We know this, we avoid watching anything on that station, and we hope their backing of such lunatics as limbaugh, hannity",oldriley" and beck shows the Country that the trash they call "news" is a desperate plea for the bad ole days.

    October 18, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Dave C

    The difference between Fox and CNN/MSNBC is simple: Hannity, O'Reilly, ect lie. Just You Tube them and see the constant stream of lies that come from them. They are always wrong and basically full of garbage. Keith and Rachael do their homework and thus are never called out on anything because what they say is the simple truth.

    So here is is: Fox lies, the others don't. That's why the WH has a problem with Fox.

    October 18, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Kingssman

    lets see, Fox invented the "liberal media" and "media lapdogs" ect. ect. Now somebody is calling Fox out to be what it is "Mouthpiece of the RNC" just like Fox calls CNN "mouthpiece of the DNC" its just fair

    October 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. John

    And this is what happens when one side takes control. This country will NEVER rebound from what has been done since the liberal side has taken over. I'll bet no one can remember why this country was founded in the first place. What were the people trying to get away from? If you want to see where we are headed start focusing on Europe. They don't have a middle class, as we won't after we have been squeezed out of existence. I hope you parents are hoping for a good life for your children because in your own quest for selfishness you will leave them nothing.

    You have no idea what you have helped do.

    October 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. harry

    Why wold anyone want to watch Fox news anyway, knowing what they stands for and what contribution they made to the Bush agenda...lies lies and lies

    October 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. MrWright

    One of my biggest problems with FOX (whatever you want to call it; News, Opinion, Trash,etc.), is the FEAR that they instill in people. I have to regularly calm down my elderly mother who is convinced that the flu vaccine is an attempt by the Bush administration to ELIMINATE the US senior citizens so that they can "take care" of the Social Security budget. or any insurance reform automatically equals higher costs, or (Thank you Ms Palin) there are "Death Councils" that are being created by the current administration or even that Obama is not a US citizen. And as a foreigner he is appointing "Czars" to head various committees. My new name for FOX is FEAR NEWS. How can anyone defend FEAR NEWS? They are laughable and not my source for real world news.

    October 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Susan

    I am sick and tired of ppl saying that White House is working on closing Fox News. I wish it was true: we will have less wing nuts then.
    However, if the White House really works on to close the channel, can anybody stop it? I know there are judiciary and procedures etc but with Senate and House in control, what can anybody do?

    This is why many countries in the world have regulations banning majority foreign stake in media by foreigners (Fox News is owned by News Corp:Australia), they care more abt profits than the way it affects the nation.

    October 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Stop Destroying Discourse

    It is a common problem in today's newscast networks that they no longer favor impartiality. . . Why? The answer is as simple as the stuff you carry in your wallet or purse. Indeed, Fox and MSNBC know that it is far more profitable to play to the tune of one extreme or another because the attentions garnered are irresistible to their advertisers.
    Now, a fine American profit is nothing to sneeze at, but there is something at risk here isn't there? We see it everyday whether we watch Fox or MSNBC or not. The risk we run, and I feel that we have already fallen to, is that we abolish discourse in this country. Discourse is the back bone of our Democracy. Democracy means nothing if the people cannot meet and share ideas and argue their merits and come to some consensus. No, now we as a nation are reduced to the cheap banter from the likes of Glen Beck, Keith Olberman, Hannity, and Maddow.
    I understand why this nation watches these commentators, it's because they play to our bruised egos, our ideological lowest denominators. And in the mean time they twist facts and package them in something a little more palatable than the mundane machinations of bureaucracy and they do that by inciting fear, anger, and incensing the masses.
    Suddenly we are overrun by Tea Parties, and discourse is locked up because one ideologue or the other has the biggest microphone.
    Stop listening to the biggest microphone and start talking with one another. By doing this, you couldn't be more American if you tried.

    October 18, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Chris

    When it comes to politics, there is no real news. Each news organization has there own agenda. Each reporter uses their power to spin their view to us the people. When a reporter can ask a non-bias question that is geared to get to the bottom of what they are reporting and not a question that panders to the person or organization that it is asked to. Then and only then can you call it news!

    October 18, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. MrWright

    One of my biggest problems with FOX (whatever you want to call it; News, Opinion, Trash,etc.), is the FEAR that they instill in people. I have to regularly calm down my elderly mother who is convinced that the flu vaccine is an attempt by the OBAMA administration to ELIMINATE the US senior citizens so that they can "take care" of the Social Security budget. or any insurance reform automatically equals higher costs, or (Thank you Ms Palin) there are "Death Councils" that are being created by the current administration or even that Obama is not a US citizen. And as a foreigner he is appointing "Czars" to head various committees. My new name for FOX is FEAR NEWS. How can anyone defend FEAR NEWS? They are laughable and not my source for real world news.

    October 18, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Gene Surber

    Anyone who obtains news from multiple sources will quickly discern the orientation of Fox news politically. I have consistently been astonished at the level of rancor that Fox has shown this White House. It appears that their entire programming has been an massive attempt to delegitimize this presidency. They consistently blur the line between fact and opinion, blow up insignificant "facts" about their opposition, and hardly are in the question asking business as much as they are in the declarative statement making business. It is frequently alarming to me how other news organizations seemingly take their lead from Fox news. While other news agencies, such as MSNBC, for example, clearly have a liberal bias, it doesn't go to the extent that Fox news does. When you have commentators starting marches, calling the President a racist, and outright declaring their hatred of 9/11 families... without any recourse from the station that is airing such filth, it is apparent what the situation is. I hope the White House continues their boycott of Fox "news." The only option is to freeze these spinners out. Let them continue to rant and rail... but to engage them is sheer insanity. I listen to Fox quite regularly, and to claim that what they are airing is news is to say an elephant is a duck.

    October 18, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Rob in NH

    Wow! This is scary. It is easy for Fox haters to agree with this because they hate Fox. As an independent who watches both CNN and Fox, it scares me that the Whitehouse is now going to influence how the media operates.

    We need balance in this country. What would happen if a right wing president takes office and says they want nothing to do with MSNBC? That is the bigger picture. It is very short minded of people to believe this is ok just because they dislike Fox.

    October 18, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Jerry Rivas

    I do not want my government to tell me what is news and what is not. We the people choose the members of the fourth estate; the government will not lest we have a totalitarian state on our hands. That is what makes this country great. I may not agree totally with Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or MSNBC but I will defend their existence as members of the fourth estate against any government. It is a sad commentary in this country that we even have to have this discussion. Fox News is more popular than either the executive or legislative branches of government, and more trusted by an increasingly skeptical populace. The rest of the members of the fourth estate need to wake up and realize that their positions are in jeopardy. I remember what my father said regarding the civil rights movement and a suggestion that we deport black people to solve our problem. "After them, who's next?...Italians?" he said. So, after Fox News, who's next, I would ask?

    October 18, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. indiana voter

    So many liberals on here being deceived by this administration that they look foolish in their attempts to defend his "war" on Fox News. As a supporter of Fox NEWS, I say BRING IT ON! There is a reason why Fox News stomps all the other stations. Most Americans view it as a legitimate news organization. Just because there are a few liberal wingnuts on this site posing as many different people to trash Fox News, doesn't mean that they represent the vast majority of Americans who actually support Fox News, according to the ratings.

    If only President Obama would actually fight the "real war" that he campaigned on, in Afghanistan, we might actually win that war. The problem: he has no backbone to actually fight the real enemies of the White House and this country. Too bad liberals are such idiots.

    October 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. PK California

    The president is too kind! FOX has done more to divide this country than any other organization. They do not report the news unless they can make a slur, twist it, or use a tone of voice so as to make people think the president is wrong in whatever he does! They are doing MY country a disservice and they can go live in THEIR country, wherever it may be. Their disrespect for our president is beyong my comprehension. They started when he announced his running and continues. It won't end until he no longer serves. Does that tell you something?

    October 18, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Colleen Summaria

    I am more impressed every week that i watch John King. I find his questions to be pointed and thorough in his follow up.
    I also love how he invites at least one conservative to his panel of 5.
    Maybe he will eventually have 2 conservatives on the panel. That does result in a "brisk" debate. Again, John you are winning me over in the morning from Fox News at that time.
    Thank you for being 'fair and balanced' in your approach to your interviews.
    A recent convert

    October 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. djc

    People are confusing "Fox" news with the other programs that air on the Foxnews Channel. There isn't a "news anchor" anywhere or on any network that doesn't induce their own opinions into their broadcasts. Unfortunately, the public who watch these programs regardless of their political affiliation have no choices. Will it be Glenn Beck or Keith Oberman??? Two great choices. I listen and watch both of them. I have never heard anyone from on the Fox News Channel call anyone a "Liar", "A War Criminal", Homophob, or a Racist. I never heard anyone on Fox News, refer to Far Left / Progressive / Radicals as "Angry Mobs, or Nazis. Sean Hannity drives me nuts, and I rarely watch of listen to him. Rush is Arogant, and Obnoxious, but he turns out to be "Right" in what he says. So is it that you don't like the men? or is it you don't like their messages? And Finally, I have never heard Glenn Beck, Rush, or Sean Slam one side more than the other. BUT PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY BETTER WAKE UP! and ask this question: Where in the constitution does it say that the federal government is made responsible for establishing, and maintaining a "Social Peridime" for it's citizens? Why would 300,000,000 people let 535 elected people tell them how to live their lives?

    October 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Mike

    Fox News is not a legitimate news station! The Fox News station is not the channel I want to sit down and get the news of the day from. I'd rather watch ABC World News or some other legitimate source. Fox News gives lots of spin and a very conservative view versus reporting the news. Fox tries to give about 3-to 4- minutes of news then goes after attacking Hollywood, White House, and the democrats. It's more of an entertainment channel.

    October 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. HJA

    benjamin dover October 18th, 2009 12:47 pm ET
    "If a "news" organization agrees with Messiah Obama they are okay. If they are not lapdogs for the Messiah Obama agenda, they are not okay and under attack. "

    I see pro's and con's on all sorts of "news" outlets. The difference is FOX is not only always "con" they use distortion and "talking heads" such as Rush & Beck. Both of these "commentators" are now crying they are unfairly being attacked. As I see it when you throw BS out as news and facts sooner or later you will "hit a fan". Back at you FOX!

    October 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. rkm

    Fox News is the one and only reliable news source in existence today, they're not afraid to report all sides of an issue. The other news organizations have destroyed what credibility they once had with the American people because of their commitment to protect the Obama administration. We should be able to ask our government questions, why is that a problem? Sean and Glenn would simply like some of their concerns addressed, but they never get a response. Why doesn't Rahm, Axlerod or their boss go on Fox News and set the record straight? All this complaining by Obama and his administration makes them appear weak, petty and quite paranoid.

    October 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. indiana voter

    @victim of republican greed,

    Instead of being a victim, get up off your butt, get out of your pajamas, and get a job. Stop whining that everything is everyone else's fault. You say you are victim? How specifically in your life, not anyone else, are you a victim? Or do you just spout of Democrat talking points because you have no original thoughts of your own and are being told what to say? Regardless, you look foolish every time you type.

    October 18, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. beanne

    They do not view Fox as a news channel? What...I quess Obama does not know that Fox has more viewers than any of the other stations....gee if he went on Fox he would not have had to wast his time hiphopping from station to station....just goes to show ya how inefficient the government really is......and they want to run health care....give me a break!

    October 18, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. Robert

    Of course the humorously-named "Fox News" is not a news channel. It barely bothers to keep up even a pretence of being a news channel.

    It's a propaganda channel for an extremist ideology - not so much a Republican propaganda channel, as a propaganda channel for the loony far-right wing of the Republican party. They agitate against Republican moderates - an endangered species ("RONAs" they call them, "Republicans in Name Only") almost as much as against the humane, normal people they call "Liberals" (saying the word with a sneer in their voice).

    October 18, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Alex

    There is a big diferrent between reporting and attacking, lying, and disturbing the audience. That is what Fox News do.

    October 18, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Craig Nazor

    Fox news is appealing to the portion of America that is looking for proof that it's OK to feel the way they feel. They are already angry, they just want to be told it's OK and be given a target. This "making it OK to get mad" is very attractive psychologically, but the blame is being shifted from those who are really responsible (which in many cases is the disconnected American public) to the "easy targets" of American culture.

    This has nothing to do with news – it is about making money. The other networks, including CNN, feel that they must do something to compete, so they now have a much-changed Lou Dobbs. It's still not news. That's why I threw away my TV and cancelled cable years ago. How good is that for business?

    October 18, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12