Posted by Audiegrl
The 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.”
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?)
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.
Posted by Buellboy
Time/Michael Scherer—There was never a single moment when White House staff decided the major media outlets were falling down on the job. There were instead several such moments.
Obama aides say they can't rely on reporters to referee public debates
For press secretary Robert Gibbs, the realization came in early September, when the New York Times ran a front-page story about the bubbling parental outrage over President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren — even though the benign contents of the speech were not yet public. “You had to be like, ‘Wait a minute,'” says Gibbs. “This thing has become a three-ring circus.”
For deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer, the more hyperbolic attacks on health-care reform this summer, which were often covered as a “controversy,” flipped an internal switch. “When you are having a debate about whether or not you want to kill people’s grandmother,” he explains, “the normal rules of engagement don’t apply.”
And for his boss, Anita Dunn, the aha moment came when the Washington Post ran a second op-ed from a Republican politician decrying the “32” alleged czars appointed by the Obama Administration. Nine of those so-called czars, it turned out, were subject to Senate confirmation, making them decidedly unlike the Russian monarchs. “The idea — that the Washington Post didn’t even question it,” Dunn says, still marveling at the decision.
President Barack Obama marks veteran reporter Helen Thomas' 89th birthday
All the criticism, both fair and misleading, took a toll, regularly knocking the White House off message. So a new White House strategy has emerged: rather than just giving reporters ammunition to “fact-check” Obama’s many critics, the White House decided it would become a player, issuing biting attacks on those pundits, politicians and outlets that make what the White House believes to be misleading or simply false claims, like the assertion that health-care reform would establish new “sex clinics” in schools. Obama, fresh from his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, cheered on the effort, telling his aides he wanted to “call ’em out.”
Posted by Buellboy
Huffington Post—Pushing back against criticism that the President is too busy to stop in Copenhagen to pitch Chicago as a host site for the 2016 Olympics, the White House played the patriotism card on Tuesday.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele
Asked about remarks by RNC chairman Michael Steele accusing Obama of leaving Congress directionless on health care by making the trip, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs shot back by suggesting that Steele was rooting for Brazil to win the Olympic bid
“Who is he rooting for?” Gibbs asked. “Is he hoping to hop a plane to Brazil and catch the Olympics in Rio? Maybe it’s Madrid?”
Related Story: Dems: Boehner, Who Criticized Obama Olympics Bid, Took World Tour In August
Boehner went to Mongolia as part of an August trip around the world, and point to a report claiming Boehner didn’t hold any traditional health care town-halls this summer.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for Boehner to criticize President Obama for his brief overseas trip to support the United States’ 2016 bid, when Boehner took a two week trip around the world while refusing to hold a single health care event the entire month of August,” DCCC spokesman Ryan Rudominer emails. Read more: The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog