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)

    For real news watch CNN and BBC for trash news go for Fox

    October 11, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. JD

    Liberals are so pathetic. They whine all the time that they are the champions of tolerance and diversity, but look at how they react to people who don't buy their party line. Liberals malign those who differ as "extremists" and "haters" just because they dare to have a different opinion than those held by the leftists.

    The hypocrisy of today's anti-First Amendment left is positively sickening!

    October 11, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Nat, NYC

    Fox rating is skyrocketing because it is just one network, which speaks the truth and reports for the people not the special interests.

    October 11, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. mara

    CNN is everything but balanced.

    October 11, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. dan harrigan

    One more comment JN claims the republicans are holding up Obamas acomplishments ,well maybe a little info from an ignorant fox watcher,the dems have alarge enough majority to pass any legislation they want without a single republican vote .Stop crying and pass something!

    October 11, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. paul

    Let's be clear. To be a liberal, or a progressive, it takes a certian level of thought. Which is missing from the conservative platform.

    October 11, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. Faiz

    Stop calling it FOX "News". It's not a "news" channel. You can't call every other outlet liberal because it isn't conservative.

    October 11, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Brandon

    I find it funny that so many people who claim to be supporters of Fox news are posting on a cnn message board that they claim it in the bed with Obama. I dont go to Fox message boards at all because I know what you are going to get. Repub talking points. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. I just feel like CNN offers a independent prospective. Fox makes news up and CNN reports news.

    October 11, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Shelley

    Animal Farm is eerily on target for this debate. Obama's attempt to freeze out objectiors is downright Orwellian . How is FOX differerent from MSNBC or several other media outlets (Rick Sanchez? Jack Cafferty?)? None of those are news. The answer is that FOX just disagrees with those currently in power. Remember how the sheep were used by Comrade Napoloean to bleat over the objections of any opposition? Frightening, isn't it?

    October 11, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Glen

    Amazing how egotistical the retrogressive supporters are. Their constant theme is "We are just so clever." If you were so clever how did Obama get into the White House and how did Nancy "the Shrew" Pelosi and sleepy Reid get to head up up congress. You really just like your own kool aid. The Obama administration has incredibly thin skin. If nothing else Bush was emotionally and mentally tougher then this light weight and his administration

    October 11, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Tina in PA

    Why is fox new polls always way different from repitable polls?

    Hannity repeats himself over and over and over with the same talking points. It drives me crazy. It didn't work during the election and it's not going to work now.

    Hannity I have a question for you. Is Bush a good person and Is Obama a good person and why.

    War vs Peace. Republicans choose war every time. Look back over the last 30 years and see what I mean.

    October 11, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Craig

    Face it folks. All of the news outlets play to certain demographics in an effort to boost their own ratings and make as much money for themselves as they can. They aren't in it for you. They aren't in it for the political agendas they gravitate toward. They are doing exactly what you should be: looking out for number 1.

    Don't automatically assume that certain people are less intelligent or less informed because they happen to get their infomation from sources you don't like. Do yourself a favor. Read and watch them all. Develop your own opinion. If you are paying attention at all, then that says a lot about you. Nibble the bait, but don't bite the hook.

    October 11, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  13. alvaro

    IF YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM FOX NEWS. I use to get my news from CNN, but then I started flipping channels and see something on fox and three or four days later CNN would cover the story,so why wait three days get it while is hot.

    October 11, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Al, CA

    GOP is a party of religious extremists, and FOX is a voice of absurdity. Recent incoherent rumblings of Bill O'Railly who attempted interview Richard Dawkins is just one example.

    October 11, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. di

    Obama only interviews with the STATE MEDIA not FOX.

    October 11, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  16. James

    Anyone who listens to fox news is anti American. They are adamantly against America prospering. They love war. They love the child hate the adult. I consider all of them domestic terrorists

    October 11, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. Mary (Texas)

    I guess that means OBAMA neither wants votes from FOX News viewers or cares about them!!! Oh but wait til re-election then he will try to make nice with FOX – LOL... too little to late Mr.

    If you want just "fluff" and "Obama is wonderful" then you don't want to tune in to Fox News because Fox news gives you the REAL news!! and most of us educated people don't like lies!!!

    October 11, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. Kathy

    Someone needs to be critical of this administration and keep them honest. None of the other news outlets will do it, they're too busy admiring Obama.

    Sad that the left can't take anyone criticizing their guy. They did it to Bush for 8 years, and in a virulent manner... what hypocrites. You should WANT someone to watch what the government is doing, fools.

    October 11, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. Welcome to Communist States of America

    Even if all Fox News reports are 100% bad, I'll still listen to Fox. Why? Because I need some sort of opposite opinions rather than only listen to "yes man real" news from other news networks.

    Fox News grabs the most audience because they are the only one who holds the 46% or so Americans who voted for McCain last year. While the other news networks must share the 52% or so Americans who voted for Obozo.

    If let's say there are 5 liberal news networks (CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS), then each of you only get 11% Americans at most.

    Dunn, I hope you're not idiot enough to do the math.

    October 11, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. Bassman

    Without admiting it she also made it clear that ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN act asthe research arm or the communications arm of the Democratic Party,” Otherwise they would be boycotting them. With out FoxNews we would never have learned about Acorn.

    October 11, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Fox News Senior VP Michael Clemente calls what Fox does "vibrant opinion"? Where I come from, it's called lying.

    Fox presents their opinions as facts, not editorial. They twist everything to suit their own propoganda needs – and when they're caught lying, they don't admit it.

    In this day and age of instant fact-checking via the Internet, only a lazy fool believes the junk coming out of Fox News.

    October 11, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. Ricky Atlanta

    Fox news tells more lies per min, than a priest hears in a confession after a Saturday night of partying!

    October 11, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Moe

    I agree; Fox News is not news, but a rant by the right. They talk about the deficit. Who caused it?? There was a surplus when the Democrats left the White House the last time. The President did what he had to to keep our country going. Even he said he wasn't thrilled about having to do what he did - but he keeps getting bashed for it by the very people who caused the problem in the first place.

    October 11, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. jeff

    I think a case can be made that Fox is biased against Obama and is for the RNC, but a case can be made that other stations and news organizations are pro Obama and the DNC and against the RNC.
    Most news oranizations lean one side or the other.
    Not many are down the middle

    October 11, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  25. Dude

    Tha White House hates FOX because they EXSPOSE their law breaking! Hard to be a criminal if FOX is watching!

    October 11, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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