October 11th, 2009
08:29 PM ET
13 years ago

WH aide: Fox News operates like an arm of the GOP

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Far from backing away from its recent slam at 24-hours cable news outlet Fox News, the White House is stepping up its criticism of the cable news network.

“The reality of it is that Fox often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Dunn said that Obama had recently chosen not to appear on Fox because of the administration’s belief that Fox is ideologically predisposed against Obama and his agenda.

But Dunn pointed out that during his presidential campaign and since being elected, Obama has been interviewed by Fox News, and will be again in the future.

“He’ll go on Fox because he engages with ideological opponents,” Dunn told CNN’s Howard Kurtz. “He has done that before and he’ll do it again.”

But Dunn was quick to add that the White House does not consider an interview with Fox comparable to interviews with other media outlets.

“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."

“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 told Kurtz.

“But let’s not pretend that they’re a news network the way CNN is,” the White House communications director added.

In a written statement given to CNN, Fox News said its programming was comparable to the editorial page of a newspaper.

“An increasing number of viewers are relying on Fox News for both news and opinion,” Fox News Senior VP Michael Clemente said in the statement, “and the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents.

“So with all due respect to anyone who might still be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion, my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts rather than the attack the messenger . . . which over time has never worked.”

In an interview with Time Magazine released late last week, Dunn said Fox News was “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”

"They are boosting their audience. But that doesn't mean we are going to sit back," also told the magazine.

Filed under: Extra • Fox News • GOP • Obama administration • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. umm??

    Why is this news!! 168 people died in a flood in indonisia and even more died in a tsunami in samoa, Who cares if Fox News is hurting the white houses feelings GET OVER IT! the white house didn't cry when the media went after Bush so who cares if one station goes after Obama.. I don't watch the news anymore because its to political. the next pres. election aint til 2012!
    I wanna hear about stories that matter. And if the media thinks that Fox news picking on Obama is more important than 168 people dying then we have a serious issue..

    October 11, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  2. Fenney Derden

    If it weren't for FOX, we wouldn't know what Pelosi, a proven liar; Reid, her henchman; Rangle, so crooked he has to screw his pants on; Murser, another robber of the public till for needless improvement to an airport with no incoming/outgoing planes; and all the other high jenks of the ultra liberal democrats, are up to. Fox has more viewers than all the other networks combined. That should tell concerned Americans something. Our soldiers need help in Pakistan, and Obama is more concerned with his persona, his health plan (which will fail); queers and lezbos; Guantanomo; and if McCrystal doesn't get the 40,000 troops he needs, don't be surprised if Mc resigns. And if he does, Obama is toast.

    October 11, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Bob the Observer

    The media elite and the political left can whine all they want, but Fox is the most-watched news network in America.

    And I'm just saying that as an outsider. I'm a CNN man myself. But maybe there's something there that some people need to sit up and notice.

    October 11, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  4. wbn

    Oh, you weak, thin-skinned President! You have all the major news organizations as lap-dogs, and you begrudge the one network that refuses to be that for you. You wouldn't even be in office without the media blitz for you! And I say "you" Mr. President, since you are just speaking through one of your minions; next you will try and shut down FOX just as you long to try to "legally" do away with conservative talk radio. Spoiled fellow–you want ALL the marbles ALL the time! You are fast losing respect of those of us who simply disagreed with you earlier on.

    October 11, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. HM

    MSNBC = TASS or Pravda.

    October 11, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  6. MSS

    Refusing to agree to an interview with the Fox News Network on the basis of "ideological differences" is just as arrogant as it is politically disengenuous. If the Obama dictatorship insists on putting this Country on an inevitable path for economic collapse and "public option," (taxpayer subsidized), healthcare..., he owes it to the heterosexual segment of society to reveal the realistic cost of providing ongoing healthcare to AIDS victims and pro choice advocates. Now that he's a "Nobel Prize" winner..., he's undoubtedly worried about saving face while deciding whether to support our troops in Afghanistan while they are being ambushed. Considering that 98% of the other media outlets are arms of the left wing establishment, I can't see how censoring the one network that will challenge "his" ideology is a bad idea.

    October 11, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  7. Just Say No to Socialism

    Keep going to the other stations and get the softball questions. We all know the real reason behind not going on Chris Wallace or Bill O'Reilly, you would like the questions and the American people wouldnt like the answers. Transparent?????

    October 11, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  8. I used to be a Democrat

    No offense to anyone but journalism is dead. Period.

    October 11, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  9. Paul in Austin

    Obama's hilarious! He'll talk to Kim Jung Il, Ahmadenijad, Chavez, Castro, but Fox news is simply too biased. LOL!

    Hey Obama, maybe Fox will unclench its fist if you just reach out your hand.

    October 11, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. Buzz

    Oh course the WH doesn't consider an interview with FOX the same as with the other media outlets. The other media outlets are all an arm of the WH and would never challenge the dear leader. They are more like PRAVDA West.

    October 11, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  11. Brent

    Fox is the only news channel that is not an arm of the democratic party. Democrats want complete control of the media and Fox stands in the way. Obama wants to be a dictator.

    October 11, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  12. Maria - Proud Democrat


    Come on it's silly to complain about Fox.

    If FOX is the arm of the GOP then…..

    MSNBC and CNN are the arms of the Democrats.

    So it looks like we are ahead by one arm, so exactly why are we complaining again?

    October 11, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  13. Dear Leader Chairman Maobama

    Wow. If you don't bow before this man, he does not want anything to do with you.

    All the media hated Bush and he never whined like this loser.

    October 11, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. Dave

    I love this line...

    "Dunn said that Obama had recently chosen not to appear on Fox because of the administration’s belief that Fox is ideologically predisposed against Obama and his agenda."

    Yes, Obama only goes on news networks who are ideologically predisposed in favor of his agenda. I'm sorry, but when you watch the guy go on 5 different programs and essentially say the exact same thing, you'd excpect at least one of the interviewers to challenge his statements as opposed to simply asking pre-arranged questions which allow him to repeat rehearsed answers.

    It is widely known (and hence the refusal to appear on Fox) that Chris Wallace refuses to ask talking point questions, nor does he give his interviewees the questions in advance so they may prep. Also, isn't it interesting that nobody thought much of Glenn Beck for all the time he was on Headline News. As soon as he goes to Fox he becomes enemy #1 for the left. Perhaps they knew what he would say, but now he would actually have an audience.

    October 11, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  15. Leon

    What a bunch of Left Wing cry babies, why doyou think that anyone who doesn't agree with you is a moron or idiot. You are no different than the Right Wing Zealots except you are on the other end of the teeter-totter. If either one of you extreme wingnuts has enough sense to be civil and get off the name calling ride the other side will fall flat on it's @.

    October 11, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Dayton Paul

    If Anita Dunn actually believes that Fox News is biased, but that MSNBC, CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC are not, then she either is not qualified for the job she holds or is incredibly stupid. And to the morons that confuse people like Bill O'Reilly with news anchors, he is not. He hosts a political discussion show, just like Keith Oberman does on MSNBC on the opposite end of the political spectrum. I find it quite disconcerting, if not alarming, how incredibly uninformed and intellectually incompetent so many Americans are when it comes to simple issues such as this. In any event. Obama's WH is starting to sound like Nixon's WH. What does he have planned next? An enemies list? Unbelievable that he would blacklist a major news network....

    October 11, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  17. floridian

    Let's see...what is worse? A cable news network (FOX) slanting the news (opining) or a WH Press Secretary and the WH news releases slanting the truth? And don't follow up my comments with your raving madness that the WH has been totally honest with what they are putting out as the truth. They "spin" the stories, just as they spin the words from President Obama and VP Biden. Now that kind of action should be getting most Americans angry - not a news channel spinning a story. Lastly, why don't you FOX haters produce some specifics instead of doing what you accuse them of doing –opinionating?

    October 11, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  18. Bill

    Ridiculous. I voted for Obama but to hear that the Dem's want to take this route is no better than Republicans claiming MSNBC.com or the NYTimes or the Washington Post are Democratic media arms. We're not truly as stupid as our politicians – and their spokemen – seem to think we are. Sad. And also sad that CNN would choose this as a "ticker" item hoping to take a shot at a rival network - wonder what side of the political spectrum Republican supporters will say you're on. Disappointing that the media seems to think it has the obligation to take sides on so many issues.

    October 11, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. Roland Olsen

    I watch both CNN and Fox News and got to say, I hear more spirited debate from both sides on Fox. Much more fair and balanced there than on CNN and way more than NBC and MSNBC, the latter being just an another press agent for Barry.

    October 11, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  20. Jakob

    Let be honest with ourselves. Fox News a right of center network. CNN is left of center. MSNBC is socialist.

    October 11, 2009 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  21. Jeremiah

    What a bunch of losers!!!! How many news stations ripped on Bush and operated as lapdogs for the Dems???? CNN INCLUDED!!! Obama is such a whiner....can't even handle criticism. Wow, heaven forbid anyone criticize our supreme leader.

    October 11, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  22. kingwatcher

    this is not anything groundbreaking or new. if you watch fox for a few minutes you can sense this is true. what i find hard to believe is when people disagree with her on this point. its true that fox leans to the right and endorses many of republican parties positions.

    equally surprising is gross ignorance of those who see fox's bias, but think the left is reporting straight. how logical would that be? if your enemy is spewing bias, you will just sit back and report honestly and full story? that is definitely not the way of politics, its a dirty corrupt environment.

    its just sad that so many choose ignorance. both parties have flaws, and both sides of journalism have bias.

    chris matthews said he thinks its his job to make the president succeed(obama), compare that to his intentions with bush, to hold his feet to fire like a gritty reporter to get to bottom of things. and he is one of the most trusted names on the left.

    October 11, 2009 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. Steve

    The White House continues to look for those that will promote their own agenda and want to punish those that don't. I consider myself an independent and don't see where Fox is the arm of the Republican party! Many of us can't wait until 2010 and 2012 to cast our opinion and send Ms. Dunn home.

    October 11, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  24. Prospering Pete

    Gee the White House doesn't like FOX, is anyone surprised by this? They're only exposing the administration for what they are and making their jobs much harder. Good! And MSNBC is owned by Obama's buddies at GE, and CNN projects Ted Turner's super-environmental (etc. etc.) views. No one is objective. That's why you must research everything on your own from multiple sources. If you have a favorite channel and only watch one, then what are you complaining about bias for? Wake up.

    October 11, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  25. Dave

    LOL, One network dares to question the Whitehouse and they are mad..

    BIAS? How many Palin (non-event) stories has the CNN Ticker run, just look at the approvals of comments, CNN is left of center (not as bad as MSNBC), but fox is the only network with a bias? Puhlease!

    October 12, 2009 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
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