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The O’Garbage Factor by Jacob Weisberg

Fox News isn’t just bad. It’s un-American

Jacob Weisberg

Jacob Weisberg

Newsweek/Jacob Weisburg —Last week, when White House Communications Director Anita Dunn charged the Fox News Channel with right-wing bias, Fox responded the way it always does. It denied the accusation with a straight face while proceeding to confirm it with its coverage.

Consider Fox’s Web story on the episode. It quotes five people. Two of them work for Fox. All of them assert that administration officials are either wrong in substance or politically foolish to criticize the network. No one is cited supporting Dunn’s criticisms or saying that it could make sense for Obama to challenge the network’s power. It’s a textbook example of a biased journalism.

If you were watching Fox News Channel, you saw the familiar roster of platinum pundettes and anchor androids reciting the same soundbites: this was Obama’s version of Nixon’s enemies list, the rest of the news media is in Obama’s corner, Obama should get back to governing, and so on. On The O’Reilly Factor, Alan Colmes, the network’s weak, battered house liberal, mumbled semi-agreement while “Doctor” Monica Crowley and Bill O’Reilly lit up the scoreboard with these talking points.

Any news organization that took its responsibilities seriously would take pains to cover presidential criticism fairly. It would regard doing so as itself a test of integrity. At Fox, by contrast, complaints of unfairness prompt only hoots of derision and demands for “evidence” that, when presented, is brushed off and ignored.

There is no need to get bogged down in this phony debate, which itself constitutes an abuse of the fair-mindedness of the rest of the media. One glance at Fox’s Web site or five minutes’ random viewing of the channel at any hour of the day demonstrates its all-pervasive slant. The lefty documentary Outfoxed spent a lot of time mustering evidence that Fox managers order reporters to take the Republican side. But after 13 years under Roger Ailes, Fox employees skew news right as instinctively as fish swim.

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New White House Line Against Fox: It’s War by Ari Melber

Posted by Audiegrl

arimelbersmallThe Nation/Ari Melber—The White House’s battle with Fox News reached a new high on Sunday, when Communications Director Anita Dunn went on national television to blast Fox as a partisan organization that functions as an appendage to the Republican Party.

Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn told CNN, adding, “let’s not pretend [Fox is] a news organization like CNN is.” Dunn also took her beef to the New York Times, saying in a Sunday interview that Fox is “undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House [and] we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

FoxNewsRNC_In the most significant exchange on CNN, Dunn stressed that President Obama now personally views Fox as a partisan opponent, rather than a journalistic organization. “When he goes on Fox he understands he is not going on it as a news network at this point,” she explained, “he is going on it to debate the opposition.”

That’s a big departure from how most of the Democratic establishment engages Fox. It’s been a long time coming.

While rank and file Democrats view Fox News as an obviously hostile force, elected Democrats have long struggled over whether to engage or fight the channel. In fact, the Democratic establishment even agreed to empower Fox as an official host and moderator of a debate during the presidential primaries — but that bit of self-handicapping was scuttled after a coalition of progressive bloggers and activists objected. By the homestretch of the presidential campaign, Obama’s campaign dialed up the heat, aggressively confronting Fox with pointed barbs from senior staff, surrogates and sometimes the candidate. (And who can forget Robert Gibbs turning the tables on Sean Hannity on Fox last October?)

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Ari Melber’s commentary has appeared in The Nation Online, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Post, The Times Union, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Kirkus Reviews, The Huffington Post, The Forward, Alternet.org and TomPaine.com. Melber served as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and as a national staff member on the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. He was born and raised in Seattle and he currently lives in New York.

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White House’s Anita Dunn: Fox News An Outlet For GOP Propaganda

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