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. Seth Tillerby

    It's time people called out FoxNews, they have been the GOP propaganda department for years now.
    They have misinformed and mislead the American people for far too long. There is a seamless connection with the GOP and they share political people and goals.
    I used to be so distressed when CNN would constantly quote FoxNews, so much so, that I switched to MSNBC.

    the "Terrorist fist bump" statement From the FoxNews Reporter made me sick at what FoxNews passes as news reporting.

    October 11, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. alvaro

    I tend to watch CNN,and FOX news channels and I find that FOX is very much on the money on every thing it reports.CNN is on the money too but it tends to water down some stories or reports them kind of late,while MSNBC is well its realy hard to pay attention when you have an IQ . over single diget.

    October 11, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. cjl

    Well...if it weren't for the fact that 98.9% of the time they report the truth and typically use common sense vs. liberal hysterics, than this article may be irrelevant.

    October 11, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. cjl

    I hope Fox News is able to get Anita Dunn fired as quickly as they got Van Jones fired. Unfortunately liberals, they are looking out for your reputations as well, as they seem to quickly call you out on your stupidity and put a check and balance on our radical politicians. Thank goodness for them.

    October 11, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Biased

    So what if it is???? Does that mean the office of the President and the official White House blog can put out a vendetta on anyone who speaks anything they don't like? Seems MSNBC is a political arm of the Democrats so are they complaining about their fawning coverage? Where is that spirit of change Obama promised -seems the only change is the White House itself is becoming more vicious in its attacks on anything unfavorable. I thought the WH was supposed to be the house of all people not just ones they liked.

    October 11, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. JN

    FOX News wouldn't exist if more people in the US had a higher IQ and education level. They pander to all the paranoid, illiterate, and unintelligent who can't formulate sensible thoughts for themselves.

    It's funny how FOX and the GOP like to blame Obama for winning the Nobel and not having accomplished anything. He would accomplish everything if you obstructionist imbeciles weren't blocking his path. At least the man has real objectives to better this nation for all. Not like the previous occupant of the White House. FoxNews conveniently likes to omit how most of the problems we have today were caused by him.

    It's a shame that Rupert Murdoch uses his media empire to feed baloney to people and prevent this nation from progressing. Mr. Murdoch shame on you . You have the power to really help this world but you use it to give right-wing lunatics a voice.

    Thank God for CNN's balanced and real news reporting.

    October 11, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Vic San Antonio

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

    "That is one against 5, CNN, msnbc, nbc, cbs and abc are the arm of the Democrats – but even when it's 5 to 1 Fox is beating them all because when the American people want the real news – they go to Fox."

    "Yep, Fox news is to the GOP as ACORN is to the Democrats. Which do you think is more corrupt?"

    The statements above says it all....

    October 11, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Dave

    "Fox News said its programming was comparable to the editorial page of a newspaper." – But ONLY the editorial page of a newspaper should give an opinion, not every news article, like even Fox finally admits to in their statement. Whoever gave that statement is either stupid or just doesn't even want to pretend that they are a news organization, and not just a collection of right wing opinion pieces

    October 11, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. charlie in Maine

    The truth has a liberal bias. That just the way it is. A network need merely stae what actually happens to be labeled liberal. Wheres Fox needs to slant the facts. I don't mind that they have their own opinion hell this is America My objection comes when Fox makes up it's own facts.

    If the fired Oreily and Hannity and kept Shep Smith (an honest conservative) they would be all set.

    October 11, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. mk

    Really? What a shock.

    October 11, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. John

    Keep hammering away at Faux News, the furthest thing from a legitimate news outlet on television.

    FAUX News should be renamed FOX Entertainment. That woul dbe far more accurate.

    October 11, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. proud dem in nc

    Fox News, and I use the term "news" loosly has long been the propaganda channel for the GOP. Hannity, the hate mongering bigot, O"Reilly, the despicable Beck get their talking points from the Repiglicans. They hammer away at Obama, without mercy, every day. Yet they offer no solutions. Their mission in life is to tear down this country while a Democrat is in office. The die hard, 20% that dare to admit to being a Rethuglican, hang on their every word. Stupid people. Think for yourselves. Fox News: what goes around, comes around!!!!!

    October 11, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. James

    The w.h. wouldn't know a news outlet if it bit them in the butt. those buffoons couldn't operate unless their state controlled monkeys were slobberring all over them giving pseudo credibility to the ongoing lies and deceit that is the centerpiece of the kenyan muslim dog.

    October 11, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Pragmatic

    Faux News is only 'on the money" if you believe what they say before they say it ... seems reasonable if you are already in agreement. People who listen to Rush, move onto Hannity & Coulter then finish their day with Glenn and his crocodile tears are only hearing what they want to hear ... and won't believe anything else ... keep repeating lies and finally some will believe it is the truth ... like "birthers" You know. some people still think the world is flat and the moonwalk was done on a Hollywood sound stage ....

    October 11, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Nic

    "Fake" News is a joke. I mean when you have Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Bill O'Reilly on your payroll then you're not an independent new source, I mean seriously people. Even Fox News' dumb blonde reporters are anti-obama, with their sarcastic and belittling remarks they always throw out. CNN is the only real NEWS channel.

    October 11, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. texasgreenacres

    I'm 66 years old I don't watch CBS,ABC,MSNBC.or FOX If it's not on CNN it's not news!

    October 11, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. JB

    Libreals are whining because people can now get the truth. Liberals hate the truth. By the way, they just released the cable news ratings. The top 13 shows are all on Fox. And of course, CNN will not post this.

    October 11, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. JB

    And by the way, for marketing purposes (and to prove those who argue differently wrong) there are more college educated viewers on Fox than on any other cable news network. Nice try!

    October 11, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. blue j

    well it looks to me that the republi-can'ts only response to this is that every other media outlet is Obama-lovin' so fox has to be idiotic and rude in order to be fair and balanced (ROFLMAO)

    at least it goes to show the real minority that is the GOP.

    October 11, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Mark

    and CNN and MSNBC an arm of the liberal left wing

    October 11, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  21. Mark

    At least fox will mention some important things such as the deficit and ACORN. CNN chooses to leave these details out.

    October 11, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Aridzonan

    Do me a favor you Fox critics. Take a look at the European newspapers on the internet and their comments on Obama's award and record. They are laughing at him and calling him just a talker and an empty suit.
    Don't believe me? Try it. Or are you too scared and myopic?

    October 11, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  23. Brad

    Fox News does the exact same thing from the right that they claim that the other news netwroks are doing from the left...yet they posture themselves as being "fair and balanced." They are no such thing...there is nothing fair and balanced about what they do. They are hypocrites about their ideological slant on the news. That's the problem. If they would just be honest about what they are doing, I would have no problem with it. They will always look for the worst way to portray a Democrat and best way to portray a Republican...particularly if he/she is a conservative.

    October 11, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. JB

    I find it so amusing reading all of these posts. The crazy leftys are incapable of acknowledging facts. The facts are that Fox is the most popular by far of all cable news networks. The top 13 shows are all on Fox. The smartest people watch Fox. And the majority of Americans consider themselves conservative. How about them aaples.

    October 11, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Jon B

    I don't actually mind the branding of Fox as the outlet for the Republican party. What I do mind is the denial that all others are the outlet of the Democratic party.

    Just another example in the long, long list of double standards. Just another example to add to the long, long history of the media conditioning the public.

    October 11, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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