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. B

    Lets face it, Fox is a Republican propaganda network and everybody knows it !

    Its like calling Rush Limbagh fair and balanced.......

    Come on people !

    October 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. www.firedoglake.com

    Emanuel: "It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

    That's putting it kindly.

    Faux 'news' has more in common with Jerry Springer than it does with CNN or MSNBC.

    What Emanuel should have said: "It's an organization that parades around pretending to be something that it is not and as a result is irrelevant, or even harmful, to our country's political discourse."

    Faux 'news' helped the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress create a lot of the problems that we are now facing.

    The least that organization can do is help the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress fix those problems.

    October 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. Tek

    Rick, I understand that you don't like the Obama administration but you don't have to be a hypocrite. How can you accuse the current administration of expanding govt. when it's a fact that one of the biggest period of govt. expansion was during the Bush administration. How can folks also complain about spending now when the previous administration spent record amounts. Man, you guys are hypocrites.

    October 18, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. p. lobley

    Come on, now. Can't the highest office in the land, along with all of its power & brawn, determine & carry out a viable course of action to shut down the fox "news" airways for once and forever?

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Rick

    Fox is not a news organization??? Fox news headlines this AM: UCon player tragedy, Iran's blame of US for bombing, white house's opinion on not pushing for public option, Colo. balloon bust. CNN headline? "20 years after the quake, are we better prepared, are ebikes commuter cool, a new musical instrument, and the top must watch video? Meghan McCain's chest.
    Rahm Emmanuel is a deceitful despicable human being. Americans are not idiots, as you seem to presume, and we will show you on election day – be sure of it.
    And I am an independent, not some marginalized republican.

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Martha

    I think we need a bottom line here. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the White House. I am almost 70 and cannot ever recall a President who had such a thin skin. In my view, the vast area between the two coasts appreciates coverage that presents both sides. We need more of that from all who cover the news. CNN is beginning to ask tough questions. It's about time. That's a cue from Fox news that every news group should take.

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Marry

    Freedom of speech – Fox uses it to distort, insult, lie, scare, mislead, smear, and misrepresent…..the President of the USA.
    Since that is their aim, there is no need for the President to even acknowledge the stupid and mean things they say all day.
    So I could not agree more and say:
    Different opinions and asking questions are good. But when an organization puts out misinformation and repeats these lies day after day until people believe it, that organization, whether on the left or right, should be called out! Fox (entertainment) news lies constantly and each of their lies should be called out and they should be held accountable!
    But the President does not have to do that. He is busy cleaning up after what the GOP produced during the last 8 years. And as everyone has noticed, that is a lot!

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. HandsomeCowboy

    Wow.....such anger and name-calling here from the liberal numnuts....if Fox is so bad why are their ratings higher than cnn,msnbc,hn, crass matthews, keith odorman, ralph madcow, COMBINED..?

    Please refrain from calling me ugly names because that's not a nice thing !

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. JC

    Oh but Chris Matthews' tingle running up his leg is not biased? Give me a freaking break. Obama is afraid of any pointed questions. He's afraid of being challenged on all the lies he tells so this is the excuse he gives. The rest of the so-called journalists are not going to do their job and call him out, like they would any Republican in the same position. These people – media and aides – are completely complicit in his sale of scams to uninformed Americans and the rest of the world. They are nothing short of traitors.

    October 18, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. Ted Tartaglia

    The viewers who watch the Fox channel are mostly the same people who listen to Hannity, Limbaugh, and other right wing talk show hosts. They are looking for confirmation of their beliefs and Fox provides that. Fox promotes a right wing perspective and tries to masquerade its opinion as factual news – seldom providing facts and even less seldom providing news.

    The other cable news outlets like MSNBC and CNN provide news and they also provide opinion. They differ from Fox by presenting news with facts and using fact checking by news people and using analysists or contributors to provide opinion. This is a great difference.

    Right wing wingnuts are resentful because all news outlets do not promote right wing views. Come to think of it, these wingnuts were not complaining when Bush was giving tax cuts, fighting a war off budget, and borrowing vast sums of money from China, exploding the national debt and saddling future generations with the bill. They only started complaining when the American people rejected their policies. They now suddenly realize that the country is deeply in debt and try their best to avoid responsibility for their own actions and policies that caused the problem by shifting blame to someone else.

    Would you call this bigotry or idiocy?

    October 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Independent Perspective

    Oh sure. Like MSNBC and 'The View' are news organizations. It is so disheartening to see our government-elected officials acting like a 'bunch of cry-babies'.

    October 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. citizen

    Hmmm, we dont like people with a different perspective. What kind of government do we have again?! It is still democracy the last time I checked. Since when we all required to have a polarized political view?!

    I am going to check out Oreiley and Glenn Beck's shows to see what is all the fuzz that make an administration so uncomfortable and yet so popular among so many people. They must be doing something right.

    October 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Chris

    Saying that Fox News merely presents a differing perspective stops well short of what it really is. It is a propaganda machine for the radical right. If they want to merely present the perspective of the right, that's perfectly okay, but what irks many is that they present themselves as a fair and balanced news organization. It's plain to see they are far from what they call themselves. That sort of misrepresentation in mass media is dangerous. I think it is equally dangerous for MSNBC to do the same thing for the left. If you want to take a side, say you're taking a side. Neither MSNBC nor Fox are fair or balanced and thus deserve to be called out over and over and over again until they stop misrepresenting themselves as respectable news organizations.

    October 18, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. elsie

    The WH is calling a spade a spade. True journalism is fact-finding that you publish no matter the results, because the truth is what counts and no party or ideology has a monopoly on the truth. Fox, on the other hand, is laughably obvious in its agenda. It is a propaganda tool of the far right in this country and is about as fair and balanced as a campaign manager.

    MSNBC, CNN and other networks offer a variety of 'perspectives' in their commentary but also simply offer up "straight" news that's just the facts, maam. Fox has no news that is not also commentary. Thus, the WH is right, they're not really a news organization.

    October 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Todd

    So The White House decides what is news for us now do they? Since when does the government get to choose which messages we hear and which we do not? Sounds a bit like our Asian "friends" to the East to me. Just imagine for a moment what would happen if a Republican administration made this statement about any new organization OTHER than Fox.

    Fox is "fair and Balanced" only from the standpoint that they are the only news organization standing on the scales to balance the incredibly biased "perspective" from CNN, MSNBC and the Broadcast outlets. It's cowardice and further proof of the incredible lack of experience evidenced in this administration's domestic and foreign policies.

    October 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. benjamin dover

    If a "news" organization agrees with Messiah Obama they are okay. If they are not lapdogs for the Messiah Obama agenda, they are not okay and under attack.

    The more that Fox News is attacked, the larger their audience grows.

    Thank God for Fox News and news we can believe in.

    Since Fox News does not push the Obama agenda are they considered racists as well?

    October 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Andi

    Quit crying. No one is trying to 'suppress' FOX, as one poster claimed. The rights to free speech don't stop with the President and his administration.

    October 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. victim of republican greed

    If it wasn't for Fox lies, where would the wingnuts get their daily talking points?

    October 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Freedom

    Glenn Beck is not a news anchor. He is a radio talk show host ,and a tv host. Who in their right mind would think that Gleen Beck is a anchor except for CNN. This White House doesn't seem to tell the truth ,and that's why their scared to go on FOX NEWS. Dunn doesn't want him going on FOX because everyone will find out the truth.

    1. Dollor going down the tubes
    2. Our liberties in trouble
    3, Obama destroying the constitution. (quotes from obama may 2003)
    4.Goverment wanting to own more companies.
    5.President that doesn't listen to his General's advice.

    And on And on. Like this white house thinks just another day of fooling the dum down american public.

    October 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Rick

    Merry, why not simply respond to facts as I wrote. Compare the two today (CNN versus fox) compare the two EVERY DAY believe me, Rahm Emmanuel does, which is why he wants to marginalize them. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for you and I) it is backfiring.

    October 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. D. Tree

    Fox News acted like cheerleaders for the administration as our economy tanked, and now they only jeer from the sidelines – contributing nothing but negativity.

    Hey Fox News, instead of sitting back saying, you're not holding the mop the right way. Why don’t you grab a mop?

    October 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Franz Dibbler

    Reality has liberal bias.

    October 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Annie, Atlanta

    I don't understand how Fox News is allowed to operate as a news source. They promoted tea bag demonstrations, which quickly removes them from news, to a right wing promotion channel. Add to that the fact that their entertainers (Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly etc.) keep poking at the sore spots of their viewers with code words like Nazis, socialists, marxists, and the like. They understand and play upon their audience. Look at O'Reilly's constant chanting of Dr. Tiller the baby killer, until someone murdered Dr. Tiller. I blame Bill O'Reilly in part for that man's death. We can't pretend anymore. Especially when they know exactly what they're doing. They're stoking the fires and it's very dangerous at a very dangerous time in our history.

    And CNN, you're attempting to steal some of their viewers (remember folks, it's all about numbers to these corporate owned "news" stations) by slanting your political stories through the eyes of the right. You reveled in covering the incomprehensible ignorance of the town hallers who hated government run health care, but yelled don't touch my Medicare, without calling them out, as an example. Like I said, it's all about the numbers. The thing is, when you've garnered some of those right wingers from Fox, you'll lose the rest of us.

    October 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Cris

    Would someone please inform me of at least a couple of examples of a Fox News report that was fabricated? I can name many from CBS, NBC, ABC & CNN. Does anyone not think reporters and anchors from other networks don't have bias? Doesn't anyone remember Dan Rather and the forged documents on Bush's Texas ANG service? I'm an independent and that ruined the credibility of CBS News and all the other media that backed up Rather. I think the left in this country needs to take a step back and ask yourself what exactly would you think if Bush had said these things about CBS? Be honest. I don't like Fox because I voted for Obama and they remind me everyday that the mistake I made on election day my be one that ruins my country.

    October 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. Dave

    What a load of dung! The administration has met with every enemy of the US since taking office but is scared to go on FOX. What a coward.

    On another not Castro, Putin, Chavez and China love this president. Wonder why?

    October 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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