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. S M R

    I would love to debate ANY Representitive of Fox news.

    October 18, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. Hugh Jorgan

    Fox News doesn't broadcast a presidential news conference, but will spend hours tell the world Obama was educated in a madrasa (not true).

    When truth is optional (or avoided), you lose all credibility as a "news" organization.

    October 18, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The administration is so "not preoccupied" with FOX News that every other day they complain about them. Every news organization, be it radio, television, newspapers, etc. has its biases. It isn't just evident in how they report a story, but in what story they choose to report. Read, listen to, and watch everything. Believe half of it.

    October 18, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. jobless recovery

    Obama and his administration wasting time constantly attacking a cable station? How thin-skinned is this guy. The "news" portion is news (shepard, updates...). The commentary (beck, hannity...) is commentary. It's not that difficult for anyone with a brain.

    October 18, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Dale in Michigan

    We need news organizations like Fox that question and point out inconsistencies in the administration. Frankly I wish there were more of them and not less.

    October 18, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Tired of Republicans and the fake outrage!!!!!!!

    The White House is only saying out loud what a lot of us already know has been going on with fake newwws. I used to be Republican, up and until 2006, when I finally opened my eyes to the lies and twisting that goes on in this party, got tired of the hypocrisy, the double standart, the raping around the flag for all the excuses the could come up with, wars and more wars, and then complain that we have no money for our on people and their needs. And there was no other channel that I watched but Fox day and night, believed all the crap about the liberal media, didn't even bother to see other news, they are always calling every other news outlet that doesn't live up to their on standarts. Republicans have done a lot of damage to this country trying to divide its people on fake outrage, but all the problems that really are hurting us (wars, economy, emploinments) have a republican root and fox right behind. I don't know if it's good for the president to engage fox directly, but I'm glad that they are!!!!!

    October 18, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Cal

    Uhm... Fox News cable has the highest number of viewers, more then the next two combined. It is mainstream. If you consider that left wing it just means your a socialist or communist and can't handle the truth. The numbers and facts are what they are, look it up.

    October 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Danny J

    Fox is an opinion channel? Fine. What the White House should be concerned about is not that, but the fact that millions are tuning in and AGREEING with the Fox opinions. Change minds, White House!

    October 18, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. JOY

    Could anyone in their rightful mind take FOX propaganda machine seriously My father went to his grave and left this earth disappointed in the fixture of that amchinery Never a day would pass snd he didn"t sit watch and listen to Fox. The man got so turned off by the muck piled and shot out to people, coming from the station he loved so that he phoned someone there and complained. I used to watch Fox myself but one PM it got unbearable when Hannity distotred a comment made by Obama, this led me to vote for Obama. I am an Independent and I refuse to listen to Fox anymore, too much lies and distortion , the viciouness spewed to people is sickening

    October 18, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. bill

    It's about time that FOX News is exposed for what it really is. They aren't even close to being "fair and balanced". They must be joking. Ever notice how their so called "contributors" are almost always conservative? Ever notice that for 24 hours a day they constantly attack Obama or some other Democrat? They don't attack conservatives. Glad that the White House is finally firing back. And this clown "Glenn Beck". Where did he come from? FOX news is a disgrace.
    If I want news I sure don't turn to FOX News. I go to CNN, the REAL "Fair and Balanced" news organization.

    October 18, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Joyce in South Carolina

    Anyone with any intelligence does not watch FOX News. They prey on people with low intellignece. The sad thing is that there are so many of them and they are allowed to vote.

    October 18, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. Judy T

    Obviously Obama and the White House can't tell the difference between Fox News and Fox Opinion Shows. I watch Fox News as well as other news programs, CNN, MSNBC and Network News and I find Fox News to be fair on the issues. I can usually get deeper input into many of the important issues and Fox. The other programs such as Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, etc are opinion shows NOT news! I guess the White House is upset because Fox is not getting those tingling sensations going up their legs like some other news outlets.

    October 18, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. carol

    It's about time the White House called Fox News out for the fools they are. If there were awards for the best liars and spin merchants Fox would win hands down. Just talking heads for the Republican Party and nothing more. Fox wouldn't know "fair and balanced" if it smacked them up side the head. Now, "unfair and unbalanced" is more in line for them.

    October 18, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. kcl

    The White House doesn't need to validate Fox News no more than a recognition of Comedy Central or the Food Network. It's an entertainment network, is there a need to comment?

    October 18, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. loops

    I agree with many that this makes the Obama administration look "thin-skinned." The country already knows that the majority of news outlets support Obama's agenda. And for the administration to quabble over Fox New's only empowers Fox.

    October 18, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Steve-)

    The differing perspective is not understood nor appreciated by the POTUS or his staff. If we all just bobed our heads and approved of everything from the White House, then they would be happy. Many aspects of the health care, budget, and military operations have been PROVEN ineffective, incorrect, and trecherous, but Emmanuel and crew don't care to have the facts, they just want their spin on the circumstances.

    October 18, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Jason G

    I think his point is, the other networks are not VOICES for the republican party. Fox news is. The now free documentary, "outfoxed" explains it all. And, MSNBC does have a slant but not all day long in it's real news programs as Fox does. This is verifiable. And MSNBC's goal is not to bring down the opposing party. Fox's is. Murdoch loved Reagan, hated Kennedy and management at Fox each day pre-determines the stories and how they should be covered - usually WITH a right leaning slant. Check out "outfoxed" which interviews actual former Fox employees. Eyes will be opened. Fox has not adequately responded to that documentary.

    October 18, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. Jim in Asheville

    Fox News provides a service to a growing number of viewers who believe a left-of-center bias exists with the other networks (see RatherBiased.com for an example). I'm sure the White House would love for Fox to parrot the party line, but they won't. Attacking them makes the administration look cowardly and petty. If I was Obama, I'd take them up on their many offers of interview time to set the record straight to a large group that is suspicious of his motives.

    Democracy is often a messy business and needs the vigilance of an active, aggressive Fourth Estate to keep politicians honest. I'm sure none of us wants government controlled media (or a one-party state).

    October 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. M Frost

    Obama administration's starting to sound like Chavez. Since Fox doesn't say what they want them to say, the administration is try to sell "Fox isn't a news outlet." Creepy.

    October 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Dan

    Give me a break Raffi! You don't like Fox because they are disagreeing with you and the Obama administration. Fox News is holding you accountable, which you don't like, and they're not drinking the Kool-aid. Without Fox, all of America would be in deep trouble with your administrations reckless actions....

    October 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. SALLY

    How is FOXNEWS not a news organization? Fox brought us news
    on Van Jones when no one else would...Fox brought us news on
    the march on Washington by people fed up with the debt when
    other media outlets ignored it...Fox has been on top of Charles Rangel and his tax evasion even though it's largely been ignored by others...it seems FOXNEWS is the only news source getting us
    the important stories, czar updates, and much more.

    October 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  22. KC

    I wouldn't talk to Fox News either. First of all, they would attack with misinformation, then cut the President off before he can reply to correct the bad information. Finally, Sean Hannity, or Bill O'Lie-ly would claim victory. How on earth are they even allowed to call themselves a news network?

    October 18, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. barton

    Attacking Fox makes the Whitehouse look like they can't take any heat. Fox has the ratings it has because they aren't afraid to report the sides of the issues that this administration doesn't happen to like. What the Whitehouse is doing smacks of censorship and it's going to backfire.

    October 18, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Josh

    Fox News is right wing propaganda. To call them a "news" network is ridiculous. Their whole goal is to brainwash people into voting for Republicans.

    October 18, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. steve

    "Fox-News" has never, ever been a news-source, news-outlet, or news-anything; it has always been an 'entertainment' channel, utilizing "new-items" as it's basis for entertaining...if 'licenses' were required inorderto 'certify' a bonafide news-organization, "Fox-News" would be unable to qualify for such a license...
    (i have been a registered "independent" voter for more than 40-years; i have no other affiliatins of any kind; and, the opinion expressed is solely my own)

    October 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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