Is the U.S. White House “attacking the messenger” — or refusing to pretend that the Fox News Channel news is performing journalism, when it’s really part of the partisan opposition?
U.S. online media outlet Politico broke news
of the dispute between the American administration and TV business
earlier this month, noting that White House officials “expressed pique
with what they consider heavy coverage of Obama critics by opinion
shows on the news channel.” Fox News was shut out from a series of
interviews that President Barak Obama gave to other TV shows, Politico
reported, “while the Fox broadcast network declined to carry Obama’s
address to a joint session of Congress, or his most recent prime-time
The New York Times reported on escalating tension between Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch, and the presidential administration.
The White House side is clear: Fox is not a legitimate news organization. Reported the Times:
‘“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said
Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone
interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack
Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the
way that legitimate news organizations behave.” ‘
is equally hard-line: ““Instead of governing, the White House continues
to be in campaign mode, and Fox News is the target of their attack
mentality,” Michael Clemente, the channel’s senior vice president for
news, said in a statement on Sunday. “Perhaps the energy would be
better spent on the critical issues that voters are worried about.” ‘
The nub of the dispute seems to be where, and how, Fox draws a line between reporting news and spouting opinion.
news reporting team seems to have at least some respect; the Times said
spokesperson Dunn called Fox’s White House chief correspondent “fair.”
Fox’s big-name, far-right-wing, polarizing — and in my opinion often crazed — commentators are another matter.
big question is whether Fox’s viewers can tell the difference between
the two. Maybe media outlets need “nutritional content” guidelines like
the mandatory labels on food — but instead of the percentage of
transfats and salt, the media outlets would declare the amount of
reportage and opinions.