WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Obama administration's feud with Fox News continued on the Sunday morning talk shows, with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel saying on CNN's State of the Union that Fox News "is not a news organization" and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace venting on his program that "the White House refused to make any administration officials available to Fox News Sunday."
Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said in a statement after both shows aired, "Surprisingly the White House continues to declare war on a news organization 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."
Emanuel told CNN's John King that the issue with Fox News is not a priority for the administration.
Much of this tension stems from an interview Howard Kurtz did with White House Communications Director Anita Dunn on CNN's Reliable Sources last week, in which Dunn refered to Fox News as "opinion journalism masquerading as news." Fox News's high profile anchors harshly criticized Dunn, and one contributer called her comments "an abuse of power."
Kurtz addressed the accusations of both parties on Reliable Sources with a panel of top of journalists.
Marisa Guthrie, programming editor for Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, said that when administration officials target Fox News, it doesn't help the President's image or message, and magnifies publicity for the Fox News brand.
"[Obama] can talk to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but he can't talk to Chris Wallace? So, I think it really undermines his unity credibility. And if he's not on the network and administration officials aren't on the network to counter some of the stereotypical caricatures, then, you know, where do you go from there?" Guthrie asked. "Fox News doesn't thrive on access from the administration. They're the opposition. They thrive on agitation... [Fox News President] Roger Ailes said, 'don't pick a fight with people who like to fight.'"
David Brody, the White House Correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, said Fox News certainly drives stories that are unfavorable to the President and said that battles between administration officials and specific media outlets could become a trend in the future.
"This is the big media story going forward. Has the White House, by doing this, in essence created a new frontier here? In other words, if there's a Republican administration in 2012, 2016, or beyond, will that Republican administration call out MSNBC on the other side?"
John Aravosis, founder of the left-leaning blog AmericaBlog.com, said that Fox News, and specifically Glenn Beck, forced the administration's hand by crossing the line with a joke about poisoning Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and comparing the administration to the Holocaust on his radio show.
"Fox opened a can of worms by finally going too far. Even opinion journalism on the other networks doesn't get into this," Aravosis said.
Brody said the White House will have to walk a fine line if officials are going to continue to call out Fox News.
"If you're in the White House's shoes, if you will, what are you going to do here? I mean, you've got three million-plus folks watching Beck every night, as well as O'Reilly. And, of course, a couple of million and change in the middle with some other folks. I mean, look, they understand that they've got to have some sort of strategy to combat this," Brody said.
Kurtz weighed in from the media strategy standpoint.
"We appreciate Anita Dunn coming on this program," Kurtz said. "She was delivering a message which we saw reinforced this morning by Rahm Emanuel. And if they want to punch back against [Fox News anchor Sean] Hannity or Beck for certain things they've said, absolutely, that's their political right. But by going after the channel as 'the opposition,' as Anita Dunn put it, I question what the White House gets out of that."