October 18th, 2009
03:07 PM ET
13 years ago

Emanuel explains White House's view of Fox News

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A week after White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said Fox News operates like a wing of the Republican Party, President Obama’s Chief of Staff provided another window into the administration’s thinking on the cable news outlet.

“It’s not so much a conflict with Fox News,“ Emanuel said Sunday during CNN’s State of the Union, “I suppose the way to look at it and the way the president looks at it and we look at is: it’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective. And that’s a different take.”

Emanuel also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that it was important to the White House that other media outlets not take their cues from Fox.

That said, Emanuel said the White House wasn’t preoccupied with its ongoing differences with Fox News Channel. Instead, the administration is focused on reviving the economy and determining the right course of action in Afghanistan, Emanuel said Sunday.

In a statement e-mailed to CNN after Emanuel's interview on State of the Union, Fox News said it was open to having a discussion.

"Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization," Fox News Michael Clemente said in the statement, "instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."

In an interviewed that aired last Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” White House Communications Director Anita Dunn slammed the cable news outlet. “The reality of it is that Fox often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn told CNN’s Howard Kurtz.

“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 said.

And Dunn also shed some light on the president’s decision to forego recent opportunities to be interviewed by Fox News and instead sit for interviews with a number of the cable outlet’s competitors including CNN.

“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,” Dunn said.

Dunn’s remarks last Sunday only provided more fuel for the already tense relationship between the White House and Fox News. Late last week Dunn traded barbs with Fox News anchor Glenn Beck, who moved to that network last year after a stint with CNN sister network Headline News.

Updated: 1:58 p.m. with Fox News statement

soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. LMC

    I gave up watching FOX News a long time ago. They go for sensationalism and fear. I look for news stations that can provide as unbiased a newscast as possible. Most of the time that's NPR which I listen to on my weekday commutes. The White House is not attempting to censor FOX, they just aren't playing games with them. I see nothing wrong with that.

    October 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. sifto77

    This guy would be scary if he was not so scared........he knows FoxNews is on to all of his crooked games–knows he runs the white house–not Obama–keep it up Rahm–you are making Foxnews rich.......

    October 18, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Kim, Boston

    Fox News is a news source as the Nation Enquirer is a newspaper

    October 18, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. MN

    Foxnews specialize in highbrow sensationalist entertainment run by dangerously angry caucasian men. And masters of creating media disasters. ...some say like the devil's work- they are just doing their job...

    October 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Anne In Houston,TX

    It's suprising to me that after a White House spokesperson explicitly says that they have more important interests than Fox News and refer to it diplomatically as another "perspective" , the Fox "News" company reacts by insisting they are being attacked.
    I can think of a few heads of goverment and institution who tend to overreact this way and insist on being perpetual vicitms. Ahmajinedad is first on my list.

    October 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. GRITS (Girl Raised in the South)

    Why would anyone from the WhiteHouse want to appear on any FOX show where the main goal will be to score something sensational. These "broadcasters" have nothing to lose when they "lose their manners"....

    I would love for the "critics" of Fox to have a very PRIVATE and personal conversation with the POTUS. I know he could certainly hold his ground.

    I have tried to be "fair & balanced" and tuned in on occasion but most of these folks are nit-wits. Sarcasm on any network turns me off...truth or lies. Be professional !!!

    October 18, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. MJ

    Has it really gotten to the point that the White House can dictate what can be said on the air? This is Freedom of Speech. If you do not agree with the facts being stated on FOX – turn your channel so you may listen to what you want to believe is true.

    October 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. paul

    Fox news proved themselves to be an unreliable source of news many years before Obama was on the National scene. They treated Bush like royalty and any criticism of Bush was done only to demonstrate they were "fair and balanced". This is not an Obama issue, it's about the credibility of American news organizations.

    October 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. David

    this is why i like foxnews so much...They are really fair and balance.. If CNN is going to talk about this, they should really have someone that can talk from the other side, not just the left........You say is not really news, but why are they asking the questions no is.....And about the time CNN gets to those questions, fox news will ask other questions....ARCON..anyone...Fox was talking about them for months, and finally everyone wakes up and talks about this...

    October 18, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. John

    Thank you Fox news for being the one voice of the other side. Well that is of course until the Obama administration takes away that right.
    The best part about the Fox news debate, is that the White house rarely disputes the facts that come out of the network. If these items were completely false or lies, we'd hear about it. Fox was right on Van Jones, Fox was right on Acorn. Scary that they're probably right on the other stuff too. Communists writing the stimulus plan, etc etc. Please wake up people! Left and right!

    October 18, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Debra

    True journalist report the news with facts and let the viewer and/or reader determine what conclusions they draw for that. Fox is a commentary show, not a true new show. MSNBC is also a mostly commentary show, slanted to the left. That is not to say that some of Fox and MSNBC's reporting isn't unbias. Nothing is ever that black and white. I have to give in to CNN that they are more of a news organization. They do however have certain reporters and anchors that offer thier opinion too. I occassionally watch Fox for shear entertainment, especially Glenn Beck, who use to be on CNN. That's why there ratings are higher, they are amusing, sometimes.

    October 18, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |

    Richard Nixon tried to blacklist certain news organizations and now we all know what he was trying to hide.
    What is President Obama trying to hide?

    October 18, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Nestor, Austin, TX

    Fox News leans a little right. Yes, Beck and Hannity are very conservative, but they tell you so. The rest of the organization does lean a little right, but they also report on actual news. The other "news" organizations are little more than lap dogs for the White House. The problem Emanuel has with Fox is that they don't report exactly what the White House wants, and actually ask the Administration hard questions. Imagine that, a media outlet actually attempting to hold politicians accountable.

    October 18, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Michelle

    The white house proves once again that the president is only interested in representing one specific group of people in America. I have watched all channels of cable news shows at various times of day and all of them have their own agendas. However, when actual news is being reported, most of them are interested factual reporting. But, actual news is never reported in regard to politics or the government in general. Those stories are always opinion based and biased no matter which channel they are on.

    October 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  15. CH Brown

    fox news is not news...it is entertainment for those who listen to a program for the shock value or fear factor or conspiracy theory. news programs deal in reporting the facts of a story, something fox rarely does.

    October 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Politics 101

    Boycott FOX - I never ever watch FOX news. Although it is often on in Doctor's waiting rooms - I accuse them of being GOP and ask them to turn it off. It's medical malpractice!

    October 18, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Katy

    Fox News is fair and balanced. They report what the other very liberal networks will not. The Pew polls during the election proved it. MSNBC was over 80% pro Obama coverage while FOX was even with it's percentage of negative coverage between the two candidates. The critics of FOX are speaking about the opinion shows and Fox does lean right on those just as MSNBC leans to the far left with their opinion shows. If it weren't for the investigating of FOX News ACORN would still be going strong, Van Jones would still have the ear of the president and anything slightly negative to the president would remain unsaid. Do you really want just the stories that make you feel good about your choice for president?

    October 18, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. GuyInVA

    Priceless. "It's not so much a conflict with FOX News..." Yeah. It isn't now that FOX kicked the administration's collective backside. It sure seemed that the administration was preoccupied with its "ongoing differences" with FOX. The problem for the administration is that their attacks on FOX accomplished only one thing: boosting FOX's ratings. Their attacks failed to accomplish their goal of distracting people from the economy, unemployment, record deficits, and their attempt to force feed the American people socialized medicine.

    October 18, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Roscoe

    The middle appears to be right when viewed from the far left. Fox is slightly right of center, but most of the rest of the mainstream media are way to the left. Fox is less-biased than the other major television networks and the NY Times. I'm sure the White House is serious with their criticism. It's just too bad that they're viewing the world through their own very biased glasses.

    October 18, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. JP of Arlington

    FOX must be doing something right or else the White House wouldn't so upset. Guess I need to watch them more often....hope others will too.

    October 18, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. mimi

    I had this argument with my mom (an Obama fan) yesterday. There is a difference between news and commentary. Intelligent people know the difference. The only FOX people I hear being complained about are those whose shows are more commentary/talk shows (which I do watch on occasion). Mom had never heard of Brett Baier and Shep Smith. They have the more straight up news programs and no one complains about them. They are where I get most of my news.

    October 18, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Eric

    Did we all forget how President Bush used to banish reporters he didn't like from the White House press briefing?

    October 18, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Runofthemill

    this is not "war" on a "news outlet." this is someone finally standing up and saying loud and clear the fox is NOT a news outlet, and that the myth that it is somehow a legitimate source of information ,must be dispelled. it is not only good for this administration but for the nation. if there are propaganda outlets posing as news they need to be exposed. And the WH is dead on correct about the rest of the legitimate news begin cowed by fux to cover things that are not really stories thereby giving them false legitimacy - acorn is a prime example.

    October 18, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Miller, NC

    I watch CNN, MSNBC, and FOX. FOX leans to the right and MSNBC to the left. CNN comes closest to being fair.

    October 18, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Charlie Brown

    Everyone-except those with no common sense-knows Fox is a joke, and no "news" organization

    Even a comedy channel calls them out on their pathetic reporting.

    October 18, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
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