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. Ruty

    The only people who watch Fix News are uneducated, uninformed, small minded, misinformed, cannot think for themselves,self absorbed maniacs. I believe I just painted a picture of McCain, Lumbaugh, Hannity, Beck and O'reilley and the republican party.

    October 11, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Alex

    NBC is liberal? Have any of you claiming this ever actually watched Brian Williams? Did you forget about David Gregory hip-hopping it up on stage with Karl Rove at a public event?

    October 11, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. TN

    I love when the GOP guys get in trouble with scandal and Fox news airs the story and puts a "D" by their name, that's priceless. Everybody knows Fox isn't news...it's an OPINION channel. The only opinion that matters is what Murdock sets for the day (even their own reporters will tell you that after they leave). You people that think it's news really should look for "outfoxed" it's a great documentary about what REALLY happens at Fox news.

    October 11, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  4. Mary Mary

    All or nothing. If you ain't with us you're against us. Bring it on.
    Many people would not recognize the truth if it bit them. I try to find what is reasonable and plausable and mostly factual on the "news" channels. I can take about 2 min of FOX Noise, then their absolute nonsensical blathering about the incarnate evil of anyone or anything from the Democrats reminds me of being in church . . . support my god, then one true god, or I'll kill you. The weather channel and even HSN have more facts than FOX Noise. All the bigots I know watch FOX. I'm sure FOX is the only channel the devil watches.

    October 11, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Precious

    So is CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NY TIMES. Thank God there is Fox news or else all we would have is wool over our eyes regarding this administration. Boo woo, fox is calling me out, boo woo what should we do, Boo woo let's bring Fox new down, so the people won't know the truth, boo woo woo, I am too BIG to fail.

    God bless America.

    October 11, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. Big Fat Earl

    Reality knows no political bias, and has nothing to do with either political cult. Reality does not have a "liberal" bias, but both "liberal" and "conservative" have a bias against reality.

    October 11, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Randy-Alaska

    Faux News, is the leading cause of brain damage. Just look at the republican party.

    October 11, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. MT

    It's simple, there is always at least 2 sides to every story. Rarely do I see a dumb liberal or a dumb conservative. I do see dumb democrats and dumb republicans on a daily basis though.

    But when people like JN say "FOX News wouldn't exist if more people in the US had a higher IQ and education level." I have to get a chuckle. How do you think most MD's vote, Republican or Democrat?

    I can tell you that most teachers, union laborers, and public servants vote Democrat. Most business owners vote Republican.

    October 11, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. WisconsinEric

    She's right, and the sad thing is that a good chunk of the American public (hopefully far from a majority) won't realize it. Honest, well-researched reporting of the facts and their implications apparently isn't glitzy enough, and demands too much of viewers who want entertainment; most networks (Fox, but also CNN, MSNBC, and local stations) seem obliged to write their "news" to pander to what they evidently think is their viewers' inability to draw conclusions on their own. And viewers then think that what they are watching is "news". Good news reporting isn't primarily entertaining, it is thought-provoking. Or should be, IMHO. That's where we've gone wrong, and our democracy is paying the price.

    October 11, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. Danny J

    Is Fox objective? No. Should the White House complain about it? Well, not really.
    Several other major news sites and stations work like the long arm of the democratic party. In a way, it seems to even itself out. For every Fox, there's an MSNBC. If the White House wants fairness and accuracy, the should be objective and complain about both.

    October 11, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Gerry

    Now anita cry really loud so everyone can hear you.

    October 11, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. E

    So what does CNN/ABC/MSNBC/CBS count as? I rarely hear anything other than the liberal arguments from their respective news. It's the United States. Everyone is entitled to their opinion here including Fox News. If Obama's administration is really that worried about it then they're wasting their time. I don't recall Nixon crying over a news network going after him, same for Clinton. Grow a thicker skin, people.

    October 11, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. John E Lexington KY

    Fox was responsible for giving the cover that allowed Jeb Bush and the GOP to steal the 2000 election. They all but bragged about it. Bush's cousin and Ailles are operations of the party. This isn't even controversial. It's obvious. They should have their license revoked.

    October 11, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. kevin

    Good on Obama to realize that fox news is much like the national inquirer....Fox news has entertainers...Like O'reilly from Entertainment tonight, Hannity from a sad Catholic boys school, Glen beck from the planet Mars,...and all the rest of their female hot leg crew. This is not real news to me. Rupert Murdoch has found big dollars to tell lies....it isn't about truth, rather about lies.

    October 11, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. js

    Fox has never been a news station, just a propaganda arm for republicans, with Beck, O'Reilly and Hannity pandering to the nutter fringe. The WH is simply calling Fox what it is.

    I politely ask restaurant and business managers here (in the Dallas area) to switch channels to ESPN or something less provocative if their t.v.'s are tuned to Fox. Interestingly enough, in the last year of the Bush regime and since, fewer and fewer of the local businesses have their t.v.'s on Fox in their lobbies and waiting rooms. Good riddance.

    October 11, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. thinkb4votin

    Face it. If you are white, work and like your freedom, then you probably like and watch fox. If you are black, homosexual, or a non-citizen, then you need to keep promoting CNN and the democratic agenda so you can have the things that white people actually go to work and earn.
    It cannot last forever like this.

    October 11, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. texgeekboy

    I've stopped watching CNN and ABC news several years ago due to their blatant liberal bias. MSNBC is laughable. I still go onto CNN.com regularly because they tend to have a jump on most breaking news issues over Fox by 30-60 minutes. I then go to Fox to read the truth and the other articles, like Van Jones, that CNN chooses not to report.

    October 11, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Shawn the alien

    All news here in the US is made for one reason only: to get high ratings. They don't care about the facts. Doesn't matter which channel. In essense, they are the same. They scare us into being afraid, voting for their candidates, regardless of how corrupt they are, they tell us what we should think, etc.. How about this: turn off your TV. Quit watching the news channels and think for yourself.

    October 11, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Shel

    Fox seems to have discovered what the GOP discovered many years ago. The voting public does not verify what they see or read. That is why after 20+ years of aggressively working on Republican campaigns (from local to national) and seeing firsthand the negative and often false information being pumped out, I gave up and quit. I still try to watch Fox but, after researching what is said, I often find it to be exaggerated or flat out false.

    October 11, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Linda C

    You will know them by their fruits...... Fox news- No. 1 cable news network; CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS-circling the drain!!!!!

    October 11, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. The Truth

    Yes fox news is basically a branch of the Republican party, which is a branch of big business. The goal is to brainwash Americans into offering up their lives and souls to the corporate elite.

    October 11, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. Mickey, NY

    FoxNews is to America what Joseph Goebbels was to Hitler.

    October 11, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. BJC

    Poor, Poor Anita. If only Anita had FACTS to prove that what FOX airs isn't FACTS. Could it be, she can't prove them wrong because they're right?

    October 11, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Jenn, Philadelphia

    There are no unbiased news outlets. FOX criticizes everything the President does and all the other channels can't find one negative thing to mention. During the campaign, when it was the duty of the media to vett the candidates, not one found anything wrong with Obama, except FOX. He says judge him by the company he keeps, but the likes of CNN, ABC, NBC and the like don't even mention Rev. Wright, William Ayers and Van Jones until FOX points them out.

    October 11, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. Spare

    Very interesting ....

    The vitriol from the left hardly indicates any level of civility or tolerance. The White House creates a diversion where none exists, but then plays fast and free with the Constitution, sacrifices the lives of young men and women while it sits on its thumb trying to decide what is the politically expedient strategy against our enemies, and subverts 1/6 of the economy into their hip pocket, all while diverting the government largesse into the pockets of their supporters..

    ".. no freedom of the press to defame the President..." Well, actually, there is ... it's called the Constitution. But, apparently, the liberal knowledge of the tenets of our country is as weak as their lessons in intelligent discourse and proper manners.

    October 11, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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