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. peter

    Fox ratings are only high because it is the only source that right wing wackos go to have their opinions confirmed, whereas liberals and independents have any number of sources to get actual news.

    Imagine if liberals and independents only had one source for their news – the channel would crush Fox in the ratings game.

    October 11, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. CRob

    And MSNBC acted the same for the Dems. This is such a non story.

    October 11, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. JOY

    The station has become a septic pit, I find it hard to listen to what is purported to be news. It is too far right, lies deliberste lies are spewed from the mouths of so called educated people. I myself have listened to speeches the president makes and within half an hour I hear distortions that I am shocked at. I have stop listening to Fox and I have told my friends and relatives not to as it is center of fabrications

    October 11, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Cliff

    Wow, I had no idea liberals could be so out of it!
    To think PMSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the like are giving you FAIR REPORTING is funnier than Pam Anderson believing she can act!
    Obama, his czars and croanies just can't handle the fact that one network is not going to bow to them and feed American full of Obama-Bull.
    No, you libs would just soon sit back and believe the "non-news" networks, drink your Obama-Lax and thing all is find while he is picking your pockets clean.
    Peace prize? For a former Chicago ANTAGONIZER???????
    Get real,libs!

    October 11, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. Liz

    oh boo hoo boo hoo.... If Obama can't take criticism from one news network than he's more of a whimp than I thought. Plus its the commentators on the network that he was a problem with are commenting on their OPINION of what's going on... Get over yourself Obama.

    October 11, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. tired of media

    The truth of the matter is that Cnn is light blue, MSNBC is a dark navy blue. Fox news is astonishingly red. But let's be honest. To say that Fox is an arm of the GOP while completely ignoring the fact that liberal media got you elected is a bit hypocritical.

    I long for the day of honest, non-biased media.

    October 11, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. John in Iowa

    "The truth has a liberal bias"
    Truth has no bias, truth just is.
    The way it is reported can be biased however, in both directions.

    October 11, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  8. Go FOX Go!!!

    the obama administration needs to focus on real issues instead of crying over Fox News. grow up!

    October 11, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Sam Sixpack

    If it wasn't for FOX, that $500 billion of Medicare funds would be speeding on its way to insurance execs and ACORN would be deciding how to "fix" the census. Too bad there is no news outlet without a political agenda.

    October 11, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. LibForever

    FOX rarely, if ever, tells the truth! To them, everything has to have a spin - not necessarily conservative or liberal, Repub or Dem - it's just that the FOX newscasters can't tell the truth, they have to turn the truth into a lie to appease their rabid viewers.

    October 11, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Richard-Arkansas

    FAUX News

    We distort, you decide

    October 11, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. LibForever

    Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, et al., are all working for FOX for the glam, not because they are journalists interested in or committed to telling the truth. They are all a disgusting representation of what is bad in America - LIARS!

    October 11, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. Ted

    It is no secret that Faux News is the media outlet for the GOP. Obama is a very talented debater so engaging the pinheads at Faux News is a good way to get warmed up to engaging the GOP side of Congress.

    October 11, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. John in Iowa

    "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?"

    I am sorry but in what way are they interfering with free speech and freedom of the press?

    October 11, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Brian

    the arm of the republican party? i thought it was more like the weiner

    October 11, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. johnnie w

    CNN as FOX Are RIGHT WING GARBAGE NEWS, ask Lou Dobbs with that BIRTHER nonsense, and ask the President of CNN John Klein does Ruppurt Murdock and HOLE HANDS.CNN you have got a Lot of NERVE ,your NETWORK IS GOP as well

    October 11, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. 4 Palin

    If FOX is so biased–how come they have both sides on? And why do they outnumber the other cable news channels in audiences?? President Obama won't go on Fox news because their questions are too tough for him to answer, unlike the other channels, "tingles don't run up their legs when he speaks!!!!!

    October 11, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. JG

    I am sure Obama prefers MSNBC - there is not a mainstream media anymore.

    October 11, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. JCinRNC

    You want unbiased, straight-up reporting? Then watch the BBC. CNN is great, but Fox is nothing but a 'show' complete with drama & hysterics which plays to a certain audience. CNN & BBC are too boring for those people. They want the satisfaction they get from Fox telling them it's okay to hate.

    October 11, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Richard

    What a crock – just because Fox does not kiss his royal butt like the rest of the news networks did during the election and continue to do so – the white house cries like a baby – grow up – not everyone, including myself, agree with the would be king of the world –

    October 11, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. gari

    If some schmuck supporting a family on 12 bucks an hour want to
    go to some rally in D.C. because some guy on Fox making 30 million dollars a year tell him then fine. I just wouldn't want to be that stupid, that's all.

    October 11, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Tim

    Yes Fox is conservative. Yet on most of their programs they invite the opposing side/view; that is more than I can say often for CNN/MSNBC or some of the other networks.

    October 11, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. jas

    I wonder why the ratings for Fox News keep going up and Obama's keep going down. Hmm.

    October 11, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. tate

    I wonder why people who make money and dont want government handouts watch fox. The other people with little intelligence and work ethic watch and listen to the others networks. As a money manager95% if my clients watch fox. Makes you wonder why and how they became successful not waiting on the government to bring there food stamps why the waddle around and watch oprah.

    October 11, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Sol Dunanover

    Of course Fox News is biased. Otherwise, there would be no conservative counterpoint to the liberal bias of the rest of United States media. One poster actually believes that "the truth has a liberal bias." Fortunately, he is wrong – truth has no bias, it just is.

    So we are left with one conservatively biased news organization – Fox, with liberals holding the rest of the media cards. Why are liberals so upset about that? The only reason I can think of is that liberals, are, in fact, opposed to free speech.

    October 11, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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