October 11th, 2009
08:29 PM ET
12 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. republicans hate america

    I love it take it strait from the GOP playbook about labeling the media a certain way over and over again so the people think there is some liberal slant. keep hitting them with it Obama. the media is conservative bias and that is wrong.

    October 11, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. If Fox is the GOP....

    make that...what is MSNBC and the NY Times?

    October 11, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. republicans hate america

    so many years of GOP harping about liberal media bias and now the tables have been turned and they dont like it?

    October 11, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. JILL

    FOX News has gotton sooo ridculous that anyone with a brain the size of a pea could figure them out. They are so over the top they look foolish. FOX News is a farce.

    October 11, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. rachel

    Every other station acts like an arm of the white house so what's the difference?

    October 11, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. S.B.

    I agree that they're like the editorial page of a newspaper, a very right wing newspaper, but a lot of people don't seem to be aware of that and think they're actually reporting the news. Herein lies the problem.

    October 11, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Tony in Maine


    Fox varies from the All Testosterone Channel (that would include both Malkin and Coulter) for obvious reasons to the Cartoon Channel for its juvenile approach to the world, but it is very definitely not to be mistaken for a news channel.

    Which is why I'm at a loss when broadcast news and other cable news channels emulate Fox.

    October 11, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Kirk

    FOX News is made up of propaganda that only the stupid believe.

    October 11, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Leo

    While its quite healthy and advisable to debate "oponents", Fox News have always surprised me with their uncannily biased reporting against Pres Obama. Its almost shameful at times if it wasn't democratic.. 🙂

    October 11, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Rance

    Anyone with a brain has FOX News figured out.

    October 11, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Enough

    Obama is afraid to appear on FOX because he is afraid to do a REAL interview and answer real questions. He is so used to be on stations that are in the tank with him, he couldn't handle a real interview. What a huge chicken this man is. If he wants to get his message out for his healthcare plan, he needs to go to the #1 rated cable station........FOX.

    October 11, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Allison

    FOX News is always the butt of our jokes in the cafeteria. I think most of us know what they are truly about....nothing.

    October 11, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Censorship in Practice form at CNN--S Callahan NYS

    i think President Obama would be wise to fire some of his advisers....in this free world it's a good thing to have differences of opinions....we may not like what the other says in objection to our own views....but just the same it's a right that should be cherished not disregarded or belittled.

    Funny thing is..I primarly view CNN but also check out FOX to see what is different and it appears they get the AP stories on line sooner...they like all other sites have the political forum's..but it really is the readers decision to take away from it or not.

    October 11, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. Amazin

    He knows he doesn't stand a chance answering hard questions, so he avoids them. Even that weasel Barney Frank goes on Bill O'reilly.

    Mr. President, go on FOX, we deserve to see an interview with the questions we want answered. When you go on with your buddys, Couric, Gibson and your best friends at MSNBC we don't watch, it is all just talking points.

    Obama can make all the excuses he wants............he knows he would choke and chooses to avoid FOX..........the only source for HONEST reporting.

    October 11, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Olivia

    Thanks to FOX News and me pointing out all their over-the-top, outragous and obsured propaganda, four of my friends voted Democratic. In realty, most of America do know how FOX operates. They'll nuts on a stick. They need to be called out......

    October 11, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Raul

    Fox News is the Republican new network Democrats know it Republicans know it. Anyone that watches it knows it. You can't get away with calling yourself a real news network just because your traffic reports are unbiased.

    October 11, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Kayla

    FOX News need to be called out on their obsured comments. They never have to prove or justify their comments. They have become a yapping machine that never thinks before they blurt something out. Idiots one and all. GO CNN

    October 11, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Larry

    That's why I don't watch Fox. Anyone who thinks Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter are even worth the time of day..........

    October 11, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. David

    Faux News...We Distort, You Comply.

    October 11, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Honest Question

    If Fox News operates like a arm for the GOP

    What about MSNBC, CNN, CBS, ABC opearating like a arm for the White House?

    October 11, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. pat c.

    pleeeese... fox news is a joke to smart americans. i feel so bad for the older uneducated folks that take this garbage they spew out as real news! . i can't stand to watch the bashing, nasty slurs that come from all there mouths. shepard smith is the only professional they have worth listening to. greta has her moments but as a whole they seem to be grasping at anything they can find negative on president obama.
    glen beck as well as sean hannity are the most disgracful of the bunch with open hatred for our president. neither are smart enough to handle an interview with barack obama neither are smart enough to talk intelligently about anything other than made-up dirt coming from republican has beens or dick cheney. obama would wipe the floor with either one of them.harvard grad against two non-college red-necks......hummmm!

    October 11, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Viewer

    I agree. Fox News reporting does seem like an arm of the GOP. I don't tune in unless I want to hear what the opposition has to say. For instance, I tuned in briefly to hear the Left's response to President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

    October 11, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Jami Sue

    I banned fox news in our home years ago because I had young children in the house who might have believed this was an actual news channel. We use a variety of news sources and trust very few. The BBC and CNN being the most used news in our household.

    October 11, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Unbelievable

    I find it humorous that the White House discredits FOX News but thinks CNN and MSNBC to be legitimate. Give me a break!

    October 11, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Sandy

    That's true. Fox news is not fair or balanced.

    October 11, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
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