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. Gary

    Good for the white house. Fox will attack the Domocrates no matter what, so why treat them as a ligitiment news channel?

    October 11, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Anthony

    "opinion journalism masquerading as news"
    Yes, this is an accurate yet scary description, based on how many people get "information" from this source.

    Try and debate it all you want, any intelligent individual can see this.
    If you feel so negatively about CNN, you're obviously giving them some credence by being here and commenting in the first place....

    October 11, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. veteran

    Isn't that to bad that one network will let a more balanced view be heard! For 40 years all ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times etc. has done is parrot the liberal democrat party line ! Since when did these entities become a political force for the power apparatus to keep the democrat party in power?

    October 11, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Rosalinda

    "opinion journalism masquerading as news.” --
    Dunn hit the nail on the head and that was a nice way of putting it too.

    Unfortunately, a lot of ignorant and/or mentally unstable people who view Fox on a regular basis are not capable of making that distinction.

    October 11, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Peggy

    Anybody who believes Faux News is actually news needs a lobotomy!!!!!!!!! They COULD NOT be more biased. And they don't even have the courage to own up to it, insisting they are "fair and balanced". Fixed and Biased is more like it. Unfortunately I do know some people who only watch Fox News and they all sound like stepford wives.

    October 11, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Nick

    Good for the Obama administration! I'm sick of weak-kneed Dems allowing Republicans to pummel them with falsehoods. The gloves are off!!

    October 11, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. shawn- ga

    The more they do thi and make themselves look more and more foolish the hgher Fox's rating go LOL

    October 11, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Ic

    If you listen to Fox News, three particular anchors you will think that being a Liberal is the worst sin of all sins in America, you will hate being Liberal. The so called Fair and Balanced news network is nothing but a RIGHT WING TALKING POINTS TV CENTER

    October 11, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. T. van Tol

    Who "cares"?

    If you are a supporter of Fox News you need menthal healtcare.
    You better support the dems so you can get affortable healthcare soon.

    October 11, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. 1st Amendment

    Is it now the policy of this President and White House to interfere with the people's right to free speech and freedom of the press?

    October 11, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. LouieD

    Great, so Fox's senior VP at long last admits what Fox critics have been saying all along: That it's not "fair and balanced" journalism at all. Fox and its legion of right-wing sheep were denying it from the get-go, but it is finally confirmed by none other than a high-ranking Fox News representative.

    So now the Fox fanatics have to ask themselves: If we were right and they were wrong all along about Fox's bias, how many other stances promoted and championed by Fox News are wrong? How many stories are being inaccurately presented by Fox and defended by its viewers, even as more reasonable, vindicated minds point out the inaccuracies?

    October 11, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Joyce in South Carolina

    “An increasing number of viewers are relying on Fox News for both news and opinion,"....Oh Brother!!!!!

    Not viewers who have any intelligence.............
    FOX prays on the lower people in the lower rung of the gene pool.

    October 11, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. JD

    Oh, cry me a river! CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS are nothing but shills for the Democrat party for cryin' out loud. Everyone who isn't a left-wing nutjob knows this.

    I don't care much for Fox News, but they at least keep the "mainstream" (sic) media on a nodding basis with the truth.

    Let's be honest...if there wasn't Fox News, we still wouldn't know about ACORN's corruption, the fact that most of 0bama's czars are leftist wing-nuts, and that 0bama's poll numbers were dropping faster than the stock market.

    October 11, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. George Johnson

    FOX has been sued time and time again over the last several years over their claim of "fair and balanced" reporting when the facts repeatedly prove otherwise. Too bad you can't have a live Fact-Check running as FOX presents their Republican propaganda as actual "fair and balanced" news.

    October 11, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. T Mckinley

    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."

    October 11, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Let's make sure..................

    Comparable is a meaningless word. we can also compare a nuclear bomb to a firecracker......it's meaningless. The National Enquirer has more news than Fox news. Now....that's comparable !

    October 11, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. Glen

    I think it's a fair concession by Fox News that they represent a particlar mindset rather than a mechanism of objective reporting.

    October 11, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Gary P.

    And why does CNN act like a Democratic newswork? CNN practically elected Obama. Admit it, folks. It's so obvious it stinks.

    October 11, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. Mike from Pelosiland

    What do you want to bet that Ms. Dung thinks that the New York Times and MSNBC are objective and unbiased news sources?

    There's no mistaking that Fox presents a right of center view but that's not what's behind their ratings increases. With Fox, the line between opinion and reporting is much more clearly defined than with most of the liberal main stream media that this administration favors.

    Americans had a serious lapse of good judgment when they elected this administration but they are not as fundamentally stupid as the liberals would like everyone to think. They are slowly waking up from the binge and beginning to realize that the handsome and charming person they went to bed with doesn't look as good as he did the night before. In so doing they have realized the left wing media's participation in this hoax and are now looking elsewhere.

    October 11, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. DanTheSensibleMan

    I dissagree, not to say the GOP doesn't love FOX News but the difference is FOX is not a political organization, it can say the things that are so crazy and so absurd because they don't have to worry about re-election. Fox News has become more like Rush Limbaughs talk show. Rush will tell you he is not a politician, he is simply a radio personality there to boost his rating by whipping up the far right into a frenzy. Now Fox has taken a page out of Rush's playbook and have decided to lose any credibility as a ballanced news organziation in favor of higher ratings. Well it seems to have been working but they shouldn't get mad next time a congressman or president decide they would rather appear on the daily show with Jon stewart than on their "News program"

    October 11, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Pierre DuBois

    In related news, the White House claims water is wet. Republicans disagree.

    October 11, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Tina in PA

    I personally watch fox cable news. I watch all three cable news outlets. That's the only way I can really judge what's going on. CNN is the fairest of the three. I really watch fox because these people scare me. I watch to see what kind of hate they're putting into people on the right heads. Even their opinion polls are only from the people on the right. And they state with pride these false poll numbers. How can they claim to be fair and balanced when the won't even let the oppossing view of the guest answer a question with out interrupting them if they (fox new host) do not agree. I want to say I watch for entertainment value but If something discusses you it's not entertainment. I watch because ignorance is bliss. You have to know what both side are thinking. And in my opinion the one that never has anything positive to say are not the ones to listen to. Negative = Evil= No good=Looking to belittle=Always looking to put their opposition down with no sense of fairness at all.


    When they (fox news) start saying more positive things about our country and their leaders then they will be Fair and Balanced.

    October 11, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Tim

    Fox is just a communication arm of the GOP. They are not a news station. They have not said one negative thing about the GOP. They promoted the tea party events, while other stations covered it. The National Inquire is more fair and balanced than Fox.

    October 11, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. hal

    They're upset because Fox News doesn't bow down to the WH. They want them to fall over backwards for them and be like all of the other networks. Keep it up Fox News!

    October 11, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. AZ Jake

    I don't even look at FOX news. It enrages me so, I can only imagine how it would rial up Rethuglican WingNuts.

    October 11, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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