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. sarahh

    Poor Fox News? I think its clear that there is a political slant on all of the "news networks". It makes them money.

    October 18, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Oy Vey

    Let's just be honest about it ... FOX broadcasts hate charged performers.

    Fox stations are owned by a billionaire Australian named Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also owns several big daily newspapers in the U.S..

    It's no secret that Murdoch is a neo-con and is prepared to spend whatever he has to to destabilize our moderate American ideals.

    We don't hesitate to drag a Muslin into jail to question him about terrorist activities.

    Terrorism doesn't just come from poor working slobs in the street. Someone has to pay the bills ... and Murdoch is the guy behind the funding of much of our American angst.

    I don't understand why our government and security enforcement agencies allow this rich neo-conservative from Australia to plan terrorist attacks (albeit propaganda) on America?

    Didn't we just vote to eliminate our American neo-conservative leadership?

    They haven't gone away. They are like cockroaches who roll over on their backs and pretend to be dead.

    Squash them under your shoe, or let them run wild in your house ... you chose.

    October 18, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. rj


    Either that, or they work for Acorn.

    October 18, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Donna Blinkhorn

    The Whitehouse is practicing Chavez revenge on Fox news. Why doesn 't CNN call it what it is. The news media has two choices, reporting what the Whitehouse finds acceptable or reporting the news. MSNBC is already a puppet or mouthpiece for the Whitehouse. Is this the way of all other news outlets or journalists?
    Dr. B

    October 18, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Tek

    Why don't people and networks just admit they are bias? Msnbc and Fox News are bias and CNN can also be bias but at least they stay in the middle more than the other two. CNN at least doesn't have blatant bias people like Beck (although he was with CNN for a while), Hannity, Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow. Let's be honest you idiots, if you like Fox News then you're a Republican and if you like Msnbc then you're a Democrat.

    October 18, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. kmrtx

    How can the WH take on world dictators when they are scared sh****** about taking on talk show hosts?

    October 18, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. klo

    What are all of you people complaining about? The stock market is up, job loss is slowing down, and jobs will come. You can't so undo the widespread damage that bush did to the country over 8 years within months...

    October 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Flo

    The only credible straight news on Fox is Shep at the 7pm hour all the others are playing on peoples fears. That is a recipe for violence and I bet Beck, Hannity, Oreilly will distance themselves when some nut run out there a blow up a federal building. The right like to call liberals nazis but Fox channel is the real nazis with the way they try to brainwash their audience with nonsense coming out of Beck's mouth. Murdock wont put a stop to it because of greed but I predict Fox will pay a price down the line for their obtuseness.

    I don't care much for CNN, MSNBC, CBS or ABC for that matter but they don't try to inflame (most of time) controversies. I like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC because she does alot of investigative news challenging the other side. Chis Mathews is a joke, especially when he interrupts his guests and talk over them sometimes I question why he has guests on his show. Anderson cooper is the best in my opinion on CNN and I like watching his show because he tries to challenge his guests assumptions (right or left) and that is a good thing.

    October 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. fencer

    How hypocritical of Obama!!

    Fox News...keep doing what you are doing because the Chief Commentator is scared

    He is worse than a do nothing President

    he is a talk everything but do nothing President

    October 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Clinton Fringer

    Methinks, some of you protest too much. For so many Fox haters, there sure does seem to be a lot of Fox watchers on here. If you don't like it, don't watch it.

    October 18, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. JLS another Emmanuel plant

    JLS's comments on here are a prime example of Dem's dirty tricks. JLS charges that Gleen Beck is

    College Dropout
    2. Convicted Felon, Drug Abuser, Alcoholic
    3. Draft Dodger.

    Well I am surprised the CNN moderator posted this (well maybe not) Let's take these in reverse order.

    3. Draft Dodger - There has not been a draft for Beck to dodge - it has not existed in Glenn's period where he would have been eleigible He was not botn until 1974, turned 18 in 1992 – when there was no draft to register for - this is slander

    2. Felon – this is actually defamation and slander – and is NOT true

    1. College dropout Beck dropped out of Yale - Bill Gates, founder of microsoft and richest person on the planet, dropped out of Harvard, and did the founder of Apple – Steve Jobs. I think Glen is in good company

    October 18, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Steve

    FYI Chris, when you call people communists and bring up the birth certificate issue you lose a lot of credibility. Incidentally, so does Fox. I don't think CNN is any less biased than Fox, but at least CNN isn't going around calling people names and generally acting less than mature.

    October 18, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. john froese

    It is poor tactics on the part of the white house to take their disagreements with Fox News to this level. This does not hurt Fox News at all it has the opposite effect of increasing the channels ratings. All cable news is opinion based these days. On Msnbc you have people just as opinionated on the other side Lawrence Odonnell, Keith Olberman anyone? The sad thing is that there is this belief that in the past the media was more tame more genteel which is not supported by history. Politics is a dirty business always has been always will be. Its a contact sport and it is more than a little funny to see someone with the reputation for less than scrupulous tactics such as Rahm Emannuel complain. All this whining from the white house has even been panned by well know liberals such as Camile Paglia,

    October 18, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Independent Senior in Bandon, Oregon

    I'm happy that the White House is taking on Fox "News."

    October 18, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Nathan

    There was't anyone in Bush's administration was brainless enough to do this because ALL the news outlets had it right. Republican'ts and anti-progressives don't care about the country, they only care about getting tax breaks for their big corporate buddies and letting the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. I'm still surprised at the number of people who listen to uneducated (yes they failed college) talking heads like limbaugh and beck. But I guess I shouldn't be when I read comments like Chris, Rick, and Chubby.

    October 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. Steve

    All supporters of Fox News' "perspective" need to get an education and understand that news agencies are supposed to present the NEWS, not their opinions/perspectives! While CNN may be "liberal," their programs don't blatantly attack conservatives; they let the viewer form their own perspectives.

    October 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. Mark

    So now the white house is trying to control the only voice of dissent that they can hear from the media. May I remind my fellow Americans that during the last administration BUSH was slammed repeatedly and if their bias was questioned the reply was "It is the Job no the duty of the press to ask the hard questions to question power" Now that the shoe is on the other foot If you deviate from the WH talking points you are BLACKLISTED then they have the audacity to threaten the same action against other news organizations if they Take any CUES from the offending network....... In other words we are going to control the propaganda or you will also be blacklisted just like fox.

    The WH needs to wake up and realize that they got into power with the vote of a lot of independents and a lot of disillusioned republicans. Well congratulations this kind of crap is snapping us all back to our senses....this will be fixed in the next election...IF some dramatic changes do not occur ...I'm an independent I watch ALL the news feeds and make up my own mind...NOBODY...tells me what to think I think for myself... Power corrupts and the Democrat party has decided they are all powerful and need NO ONE outside their party. They are of course wrong...but rein it in boys at least Bush took his lumps from the press without the crybaby lets stifle the dissenting voice bull. This will never see print...I probably have been added to a list somewhere myself....I have raised my voice and said "well now WAIT just a minute"... I guess since I'm not lock stepping I am obviously engaged in hate speech

    Sigh me

    Disgusted Independent

    October 18, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. Sol Dunanover

    Typical fascism. Agree with us, or else.

    Of course Fox News is biased toward conservatism. Since the rest of media has a bias toward liberalism, what's the harm in that? To label ANY news outlet as unbiased is ridiculous. If you don't accept that, then explain the antics of Chris Matthews, Keith Olberman, Rachel Maddow, Wolf Blitzer and John Schneider.

    Yet the president of our country openly displays contempt for just one of these organizations. Perhaps that doesn't bother you folks, but it bothers me.

    October 18, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. vic nashville , Tn

    Obama administration leave FOX alone let karma take care of FOX

    FOX news worried about their ratings they don’t care about news

    Glean Beck want to be # 2 in FOX he got blessing from Bill O’Reily

    But Sean doesn’t like that so they will destroy each other wait and see

    October 18, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. lou

    Fox News is for Pathetic,ignorant,flag waving pig racists. It is in no way a news organization. It is the Republican agenda's mouthpiece.

    October 18, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. chubby

    EMANUEL..Have you paid your back taxes yet?

    October 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Oops Bad on me

    I vehenently disagree with many of Obama's policies.

    Having said that, I wish to apologize to my wife for being a racist (even though my wife is black).

    I wish to apologize to my parents for being unpatriotic (even though I served in Vietnam)

    And i wish to apologize to my neighbors for acting as the Party of No ( even though I am a democrat and have been for 40 years and voted for Obama hoping he'd make a difference – he has NOT)

    October 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Dea

    There is no news on Fox; it is all entertainment for those who like that kind of perpetual conflict, attach and just trying to be cute. Jerry Springer comes to mind ...just open the door for drama and people will flock to it. Stir the pot, keep feeding the fire... problem is this is our country and people who care about it are working very hard to keep it safe and with freedoms. I have no use for negative fox or any person that enjoys causing trouble just for the sake of trouble and being in the news. It is all a game for fox and it just looks stupid to me and I am ashamed that it exists. It is not meaningful or intelligent in 2009 to the evolution of human beings on earth. It is dinosaur mentality.

    October 18, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Marc L from West Nyack

    Fox news is no different than all the other news outlets except for the fact that Fox doesn't bend over to Obama. Emanuel's excuse that Fox has a perspective is bull. Watch Keith Olberman and the rest and tell me that is not perspective. Sometimes, CNN presents the news. Most of the time, not. The fact is, the White House is afraid of Fox. Nobody covered the Van Jones story, except Fox, and what happened? The man was forced to resign and then the other news outlets covered it. The press is supposed to be independant of the government, at right now, Fox is the only one showing they are. They are the only ones questioning the administration and that is what ticks off the White House.

    October 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. KUCaliMom

    When I watch Fox, I find myself thinking of those infomercials that have elaborate sets built to look like you're watching a news broadcast. You tune in and realize that they're selling religion or investments or herbal medications. Fox is not "The News" – it's an opinions program.

    I hope Fox doesn't run like a wing of the Republican party. I've preferred to think it has found a money-making opportunity in catering to a certain extremist viewpoint. That many of these people call themselves Republican is not the fault of the party.

    The Republican party must take notice of this sort of news. We're losing moderates and even some staunch Republicans who don't want to identify with such extremist views.

    October 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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