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. madmommy09

    I remember the reporter from CNN claiming that Tax protestors were "Anti-American and Anti-CNN"..... the bias of CNN is abominable! Hypocritical! And its killing your ratings..... You blame Bush, you blame captialism, and if all that fails,.. you blame it on racism.

    October 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. DB

    I dont listen to Fox news simply because I am tired of the emotional cajoling, the lies that they perpectuate there. I listen to MSNBC when I can because they mostly debunk the lies and expose them for what they are. I also see Olberman take on the democracts too and expect Maddox would do the same.

    From Fox...mostly lies, and statements meant to engage people's emotions rather than brains.

    Do we have need for news stations to be watchdogs. We surely do. The previous poster is right...Fox is owned by an expariate with no interest in America than the dollar she brings him....regardless of how its gotten.

    October 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Elaine

    Everyone is after Fox's reporting..............Why not take the challenge and call up Fox and prove that what they are saying is false. Beck has certainly, many times, asked the White House to prove his facts to be wrong. Never a word has been said..........what does that mean?

    October 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. JG

    I imagine the White House would like other news organizations to take their cues from MSNBC. I am sure the White House likes an organization that openly supports their views and policies, like MSNBC. I do not hear Obama complaining about MSNBC. Since there is not a mainstream (middle ground) news network out there, although CNN is getting closer to being more in the middle, we have "news stations" like Fox and MSNBC. Today we have to filter through the reporting and commentary that is called contemporary journalism.

    October 18, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Ken

    CNN, since you can't win in the ratings I guess the only other option is to attack instead of trying to figure out why you are so far behind. I will admit that Fox has some commentators that are far right, but has anyone caught the angry rants of McCafferty in his spot on the Situation Room? Now there's fair and balanced. Maybe CNN should take the liberal out of their own eye before they point to the bias of others.

    October 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. rafael gutierrez

    I am of the opinion that Fox News Broadcast oporates like a wing of the Republican Party. Their news broadcast is very divisive which is very unfortunate. It is apparent their desidre for the President to fail. It is sad!

    October 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. whiner in chief

    Yes, Fox News is conservative but no more conservative than MSNBC, CNN , ABC, NBC and CBS is liberal. So, what's the promlem?

    October 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. joe richards

    I was interested at first by their assurance that they were Fair and Balanced. It took me about three viewings nto see that it was anything but. I never watched it again.

    October 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Richard

    The big 3 are blind, for GOD sake, they lie, and have sold out to the big O gropies and wantabies..... The right wingers are doing no more than the liberals are doing, standing up for there rights. There is NO real truth in journalism, just controlled media. The O is evil, and time will show he is a classless leader. We are a country that has lost it's passion for truth.

    October 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Bill

    Looks like the Whine House is feeling some pressure. That's a good thing. We would rue the day when everyone agreed with the politicians. Yes, our president is a politician. In fact, he doesn't seem to realize he won the election. He is still in full bore campaign mode. I guess that's all he knows how to do.

    October 18, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Citizen of California

    During the campaign,this administration criricized the Bush's administartion about everything and said they will change it better. That is why Americans believe in and voted for "yes we can". Now after almost a year in office, they can not do anything better but worst, from economy to the war to the relationships woth the world (economy get worst, war get worst, our allies just say we love Obama but did not do anything to show their love).

    Now this administration is going back to the stage of blaming. Blame previous administration for economy, for not having enough resources in afghanistan, blaming the media, etc.... You are a good sale team and that is why American bought your product. We are using the products and will let you know how good the product is. Your sale skill is no longer useful at this stage, do not waste your time and energy to fool people, but try to find the way to improve your product.

    October 18, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Adalbert

    Fox is everything but a news organization. It should be called what it is; the "right-wing network".

    October 18, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. RK

    I think these 150-some comments speak to everything that's wrong with politics dating back to Reagan/Bush. It's now more important to divide and argue than it is to discuss and compromise. Politics is no longer about what gets done, but who yells the loudest.

    The fact of the matter is that no "news" agency can be 100% fair and credible. On key debatable points in politics, I always tell people to listen to all sides. It's interesting when you get perspectives from Republicans, Democrats, and then key allies. There are several times when foreign opinions should dictate national policy.

    But no one wants to do that anymore. Since I am a democrat I should automatically agree with what comes from the left. I wholeheartedly disagree with that. It would be refreshing if our "news" agencies, our blogs and our politicians started caring more about our great country than who is "right" and whose "wrong".

    October 18, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Sari

    Fox "News" is nothing more than crap on a crap cracker. I'm glad someone official is calling them out on it.

    October 18, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Indiana Voter, why do you rely on foreigners to tell you what you should believe?

    October 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Daniel Reinhardt

    I wonder if all you people who are insulting FoxNEWS are just bad mouthing them because they do not fit your opinion or view points. CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS probably all fine tune their news reporting to boost Obama's positive influence on the world to fit everyone of your views. You are all blinded by the media created halo around Obama that you cannot see the negative impact he is having on the US. FoxNEWS presents these negative's which infuriates you all because they shed light on your love affair of Obama. Maybe if you all weren't so blinded by your ideological thought processes maybe you'd see the reality of what Obama is and what he isn't. He is quite simply a failure and a disgrace to the free world.

    October 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Maria - Proud Democrat

    The White House needs to stop attacking Fox News, it is just making them look petty and childish. They need to grow up and man up!

    Censorship isn't cool people!!!

    October 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. cardog

    The only truth that is not being addressed by both this administration and the Republican party is this. To give everyone Nat'l Health Care will require an increase in taxes. No nation that presently has universal health care has not been able to do such a thing without raising taxes.
    Both parties are afraid to admit this simple fact. If we are the generous nation as we falsely pride ourselves to be, accept the fact that our taxes are going to increase and every American citizen will have health care insurance.
    Listening to the town hall meetings and Fox news, all I've heard is basically "I've got mine, you get yours". I find myself being a bit angry at America right now and I no longer will pride myself as an American being a generous and caring nation. We all know that this is not true if we are unwilling to help our own fellow citizens.

    October 18, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. rachel

    Who is Rahm to say what news is? All the anchors no matter how unbiased they are supposed to be have a slant. ABC I will never forget the week we had what the white house 30n minute infomerical the 60 minutes interview and then good morining america with barack and michelle. It was really telling where abc slants as well as CNN


    October 18, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Jessica

    So what? FOX News does lean far to the right, as we all know. CNN leans far into the left- there's not really a middleground on the media. The White House will be blasting on FOX just because they don't lean to their party.

    October 18, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Chris

    Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin, and all the others. They're on the Fox News and also radio for many hours every day. In print in newspapers and magazines, on the net and in numerous books. So many Demagogues and so much punditry! And its all on the Right with the same is virtually unknow on the Left.

    Conservatives like to call Liberals "sheep". But if that's the case, why is it that the Right has all the Shepards? It's the Republicans who need constant reassurance and direction.

    October 18, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Torin

    Fox News is an arm of the Republcan Party and its Chairman and CEO is Roger Ailes. Ailes is a Republican loyalist and was a political and media consultant for Republican Presidents Nixon, Reagan, George W.H. Bush, and many other Republican candidates since the 1960's. Anyone who thinks that Fox News does not shown frequent bias against "liberals," "Democrats" and the Democratic Party has been living on another planet.

    October 18, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Jack in KY

    The False News Channel is a right-wing propaganda station. Everyone knows that! They don't report the news, they make it up.

    October 18, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. sarahh

    FoxNews is pure entertainment... so are all of them when it gets right to it. Many people don't recognize that the news media isn't legally bound to report the truth. It's not. Foxnews knows their audience, they know what news stories gets them tune in and wring their hands in worry -glued to their televisions. Nothing gets people to tune in more than fear and anger. And they do it so they can sell advertising blocks worth millions of eyeballs. FoxNews is more transparent than most others. But they all do it.

    October 18, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. debbi

    I think most viewers knows these things: Bill orielly is a conservative, olberlman is a liberal, hannity is a republican, racheal maddow is a radical leftist and glenn beck is a radical right winger. Ok....now what? are these things really revelations? My question is, why is the WH single FOX out? hmmm, perhaps it is also obvious because the administration is left leaning. I just don't know what the administration is hoping to gain other then to create further division by emphasizing the obvious. Is it really really a revelation that some news organization has always been more of a critic towards a particular adminstration with differences due to partisan beliefs? As to to what are facts and what are opinions and what's news vs not news. Didn't we just see all networks chased after a helium balloon for 2 hours?

    The news in this story is not whether Fox is a legit news organization. The news here is why the Obama administration is so afraid of critism and what steps they are willing to take to suppress the voices of their critics. I will be watching to see.....

    October 18, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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