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. A

    Obama's just mad that Fox took part in taking his ACORN down.

    October 11, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Democrat, socialist, gay, and proud of it!

    See the Greedy Old Party worship at the stained porcelain shrine of Faux Noise.

    October 11, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. TangledThorns

    The White House is afraid of FOX News so how do we expect them to defeat the Taliban. Weak sauce direct from the White House.

    October 11, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Joe Power

    When did Fox become a media outlet? Why is this news? Anyone with even a single functioning brain cell knows that Fox is owned by the same guy as the National Enquirer and is just a way for the GOP to keep the wingnuts up to date on their talking points.

    October 11, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. James

    If Fox compares itself to an opinion magazine, then maybe they should stop calling themselves "Fox news".

    October 11, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. bill

    All I know is that FOX news is kicking the butt of these other so called news organizations in the ratings. The people of america want to hear the straight story so they listen to FOX news, it's obvious.

    But the liberals that you guys are just don't see it that way and that's fine. Cry all you want, but FOX is too fair as far as most americans are concerned.

    October 11, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Kris in Denver

    “An increasing number of viewers are relying on Fox News for both news and opinion..." because those viewers are not only incapable of distinguishing news from opinion, they are also incapable of forming an opinion on their own.

    October 11, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |

    Doenst CNN stand for Clinton News network?

    October 11, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Elaine

    I suppose if Fox fact checked the Saturday Night Live skit that poked fun at Obama's lack of accomplishments they might be taken more seriously......

    October 11, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Ray

    Apparently the White House has not learned that whenever they go after FOX News the onlt thing that happens is that FOX News ratings go up and the Obama Administration looks silly. NOTE to Obama and his staff: If you are so right & rightious, what are you afraid of??

    October 11, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Bob

    Let them say what they want, but they shouldn't have press credentials, they are part of a political party. The Propaganda arm of the Gastapo, er GOP

    October 11, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. chosen truth

    one of fox's lead stories the past 48 hours is how a CBO report found 41 Billion in health care savings if tort reform were implemented in any health care bill. That's a lot of savings, no? Unfortunately, no tort reform is in any health care bill. i checked nbc, cnn, msnbc, abc, and cbs. No one reported it. If Fox news did not exist, the CBO report on this very important issue would never be reported. Call Fox biased and call them homers for the GOP, but thank goodness for them. No one reports anything that is not Pro-Dem. I'd be in the dark on other points of view.

    October 11, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. mark

    The WH will only use media organization that will read the news they write. CNN=Clinton News Network, MSNBC=Socialists

    October 11, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. annie against biased news

    Unfortunately for the gop, FOX reports both sides of the news unlike the government run news media who only reports made-up wonder stories for obama.
    With the rating FOX has if they were an 'arm' of the gop, the gop would not be in the dumper. Isn't this sorta whiny cry baby for the obama administration? Only one news media reports ALL the news the rest of the so-called news media just reports glowing admiration for this so-called administration and just because one network doesn't bow down to the arrogant you-know-what the white house whines and cries like infantile morons.

    October 11, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. barrie Hunter

    I moved from Australia to the US in part to get away from Rupert Murdoch and his rabid, right-wing excuses for objective reporting. Unfortunately he followed me here and now I have to put up with the same rubbish from Fox that I thought I'd left behind. I'm sure when the founding fathers said "give me your poor, your huddled masses" they didn't have him in mind.

    October 11, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Tom

    It is no surprise that this white house and liberals think CNN and MSNBC are unbiased in their reporting. There are no neutral news organizations today – all of them have political bias.

    October 11, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. dan harrigan

    so lets look at this.She claims fox is an arm of the GOP yet she appears on CNN the channel that "Fact checked " a satire on snl that was not favorable to Obama. The administration does not want a free press they want Pravda

    October 11, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Tired

    This statement is correct. Which I could live with if the rhetoric was not full of anger and hate. It is more the tone of what they say and not the partisanship alone.

    October 11, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Tina in PA

    Fox news is all hate talk. No healthcare yeh! No Olympics yeh! Go to war yeh!, No abortions but yeh, die in war yeh! Look out for yourselves and not your fellow country men yeh! Were religious minded but look out for ourselves Yeh!

    Negative, negative, negative

    October 11, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. SandyB

    A rational person needs only to listen to Fox "news" for a short time until it becomes obvious that it is totally slanted toward the GOP. This is so obvious that only a fool would try to say otherwise.

    October 11, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  21. jrzshor

    holy freedom of speech!

    the white house calls out a news network for not liking HIM!

    HIM must be very happy with MSNBC. (mighty soft news barack channel)

    October 11, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Charles

    Why is the WH always pointing fingers and the blame lol. its like bush issueing statements saying msnbc is the left wing prop machine and denying them interviews. No 1 is forced to watch Fox yet the ratings indicate that every night all night they beat cnn, msnbc, hsn combined...does that tell u anything white house. they go to fox for the real truth not the watered down 5 days late truth.

    October 11, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    For every story bashing Obama on Fox there are 10 kissing his butt on other networks. His news conferences have pre-staged Q&A's. No one dares ask hard questions. Fox is the only network to do it's job. The other MSM outlet's are just so biased to the left that when someone reports from the center it looks extreme. Try to tell me that CNN 'journalists' like Roland 'kiss-Obama's butt' Martin are impartial.

    October 11, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. mike

    what a joke!!! CNN and all other media outlets are Obama's cheerleers. CNN is not a objective media outlet but is on the payroll of Obama's adminstration. CNN wake up and do you job and report the facts and don't let Obama and the liberals dictate what you report and information CNN provides to the amercian people. Until CNN does that, CNN's rating will continue to be low

    October 11, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Cnn please post my comment! 1 love!

    Fox has done more to discredit America in the world than any other station....they conduct tv polls and exclude all the presidents supporters and blatantly lie and mislead their viewers....they are the reason people overseas think all Americans has a low IQ....WELL GOOD JOB THEN!

    October 11, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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