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. Nan

    All the right-wing-things are upset because President Obama had the Nobel Peace Prize thrown at him instead of 2 smelly shoes. That hurts them dearly. You can just smell the right-wing-thugs fuming and stewing.

    October 11, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Andy in ATL

    The truth may be bitter but the White House just said the truth, period.

    October 11, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. Doug

    I am thinking that if the dunn house of politics keeps playing attack politics, they will be very surprised next year that they lost the house and ten democratic senators. My President Obama needs to stop paying people like anita dunn, they should be volunteers, not white house staffers playing politics, besides she is not very good at it.

    October 11, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. On the other hand...

    NBC's Political Director Chuck Todd is such a Liberal Kool-Aid drinker it's almost comical to watch them try and report on National politics. This has and will continue to be to their detriment.

    October 11, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. JonDie

    FOX and everyone associated with FOX is a joke, we all know that (though of us who aren't suffering from dementia, that is). Unfortunately, most of the news media inclucing CNN most of the time doesn't do any better job covering the news that FOX.

    October 11, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  6. all of America

    It dosen't matter any more , obama and his demacrat socialist reshime are going to get the boot soon,and all of his brain dead demacratic followers will follow him over the cliff to defeat !He's a do nothing looser !

    October 11, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Chuck

    What a newspaper doesn't do is mix the editorials with the news. They are in different section to give clear separation between news and someones opinion. Fox mixes the two so closely there is no way of knowing where news ends and opinion begins or if they are one in the same.

    October 11, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Peter

    The news will always have a certain level of bias, left or right....HOWEVER, when you take it to the extreme of Fox News, it is no longer news, but angry voices.

    Fox News is a bias news station: Fact

    Msnbc is a bias news station: Fact

    Obama has the right to say that either of these is bias: Fact

    Sean Hannity is stupid: An opinion, but its widely accepted among Americans.

    October 11, 2009 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  9. Jeremy

    So, Obama and the Democrats criticized George W. Bush for not opening a dialogue with countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela because of their stance towards democracy, human rights, and socialist and/or dictatorship governments...but now Obama won't talk to Fox News because they won't report what Obama wants them to report.

    These double standards are getting ridiculous.

    October 11, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Uh, read before you hit send

    T McKinley wrote:To all of you Fox "news" supporters out there who wrongly compare our President to the likes of Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez:

    You better thank God that our President is NOTHING like Castro or Chavez. If he were, Fox would have either been shut down completely or taken over by now.

    The very fact that our President allows Fox to spew their hatred toward him is proof that he has NO intention of being a "communist dictator."

    Uh, isn't that what he is trying to do???? By discreditting FOX news...he is essentially trying to silence his opposition. Do you not believe that if he could shut them down, he would???

    October 11, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. kate

    This is extremely funny.
    Fox news beats CNN and MSNBC every day.
    They have twice the viewers.
    What kind of communications director is this woman?
    She should be fired.
    All of Obamas media advisors should be terminated, they are clueless.
    Gibbs is an arrogant moron and this woman is a complete idiot.
    No wonder why Obama is having such a hard time getting any of his programs passed.
    He's preaching to the choir at MSNBC and CNN.
    If he wants to get his message out there to real independent minded Americans he needs to go on FOX.

    October 11, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Val in MA

    What a bunch of cry babies this White House is! It is pathetic! Fox News doesn't even deem it worthy to respond to this pathetic whining. Good job Fox News!

    October 11, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  13. Vince Whirlwind

    What planet is the WH communications director living on?

    The country is divided almost 50/50 on most issues. CNN is your mouthpiece no matter what you say.

    What don't you and the rest of you liberals get about that?

    October 11, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Tim

    I forget, which president has had several ex network and cable executives come work for it?

    I forget, which president had a free day of programing on NBC to tout his healthcare plan?

    I forget, which networks didn't ask Obama a single tough question during the campaign?

    I forget, which network has Olbermann?

    I forget, which network forged documents to try to take down Bush?

    I forget, which network never heard of the corruption at Acorn?

    I forget, which network gets a tingle up it's collective leg whenever Obama speaks?

    October 11, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. David

    It could be Fox News is not as overtaken with the Presdent Obama love affair that is so evident with almost all other "news reporting media". I watch most all of the cable networks. I think the news media has been "left leaning" for the 45 years I've been exposed to the news. Commentary is one thing. Too many news media mix commentary and the news.

    October 11, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. Chris - Houston

    The message behind this story is simple. If a news outlet wants access to the President, it must blindly follow his agenda with absolutely no criticism.

    This administration is terrifyingly Orwellien.

    October 11, 2009 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. Lois Maschio

    Watch your spelling, those of you who are calling the consevative Fox News supporters stupid with a low IQ. Do you even realize that your spelling is less than that of a fourth grader? I hate to tell you how many words you have grossly misspelled. The misspelled words almost always come from the Fox News bashers who are calling the other side the equivalent of "morans." What is your grade or IQ level?

    October 11, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  18. Give me a break

    T, Mckinney – ever heard of the fairness doctrine? It is the law Congress is trying to pass which will shut down any conservative programming. Umm Castro, Chavez?????

    Tina – Fox has liberals on its programming., Won't see conservatives on Oberman or Madcow with MSNBC (Most Supportive National Barack Channel)

    Moderators will not post this. So to the moderators: enjoy!

    October 11, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. JC

    Acorn, Van Jones, Tea parties – where were NYTIMES, CNN, MSNBC, CBS. Where are the in-depth investigations into power and corruption? Fox News is the only station willing to investigate and inform the people what is happening in our government. Is this the real reason the WH doesn't like Foxnews. I guess it is easier to complain about the messenger than it is to address the substance of the message.

    October 11, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. MillsJ

    Oh those laughable libs. The more they open their mouths the more ridiculous they sound. Simply because they don't bend over backwards applauding this do nothing administration Obama and his cronnies want nothing to do with Fox. A little over a year from now when large portions of the left join what wil probably be 12% of the population on the unemployment lines, then they'll have something to whine about.

    October 11, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. Food for thought...

    I do agree that Fox News is a center of right news organization but if Fox is so irrelevant than I would like to know two things:

    1) Why did Obama fire Van Jones after former CNN Headline News Host Glenn Beck played some of Jones' videos? Even Bill Maher acknowledged that "he (Obama) let Glenn Beck fire Van Jones".
    2) Why did Obama drop ACORN like a hot potato after those videos of the "pimp and prostitute" were exposed for the world to see?

    My point is if Obama feels like Fox News is completely irrelevant than he would not have done either one of these two things and Obama would also make a point to ignore them, much in the same way Bush ignored the main stream media.

    October 11, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  22. Texas Veteran

    The liberals posting here would do a far better job of convincing people that they are superior to the Fox News viewers if they could construct a complete sentence or spell correctly. It does tend to weaken your argument.

    The misguided statements as well as the misunderstanding of the Constitution are also amusing. Please read this post below.

    “T Mckinley October 11th, 2009 4:16 pm ET

    To all of you Fox "news" supporters out there who wrongly compare our President to the likes of Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez:

    You better thank God that our President is NOTHING like Castro or Chavez. If he were, Fox would have either been shut down completely or taken over by now.

    The very fact that our President allows Fox to spew their hatred toward him is proof that he has NO intention of being a "communist dictator." “

    The president does not allow or disallow speech, the Second amendment of the Constitution does. Please study history and the foundation on which the country is built.

    October 11, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  23. New Yorker

    Amazing how the DNC complains about reporting and then we hear they pulled an add about health care after Senator Dole complained that it was misleading because it portrayed him as supporting the democratic plan when he certainly does not.

    Thank God we have Fox reporting the truth.

    October 11, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  24. Brian

    That is the studpest thing I have ever heard. So Obama will only give interviews to people the are in his camp, like the liberal media.

    October 11, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. Christi from Houston

    He is scared of fox because they are not in his pocket. The reality is that the media and the socialist government are indistinguishable.

    October 11, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
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