In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their “strategy to delegitimize a news organization” — hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama’s recent complaint to the New Republic’s Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that “If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.” What she recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America’s voters, to marginalize the only network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
… This latest volley from the president is just one in a long line of comments from his White House as part of their campaign to silence any dissent they detect in the press corps.
Recently, the White House has kept Fox News off of conference calls dealing with the Benghazi attack, despite Fox News being the only outlet that was regularly reporting on it and despite Fox having top notch foreign policy reporters.
They have left Chris Wallace’s “Fox News Sunday” out of a round of interviews that included CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS for not being part of a “legitimate” news network. In October 2009, as part of an Obama administration onslaught against Fox News,White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.”
… That more liberals aren’t calling out the White House for this outrageous behavior tells you something about the state of liberalism in America today.
… During the initial launch of the war on Fox News in October 2009, then-White House Communications Director Anita Dunn told the New York Times of Fox News, “[W]e don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.” On CNN, she declared that Fox was a “wing of the Republican Party.” Then: “let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.”
Gosh, this sounds so familiar. In fact, it’s exactly the line that Media Matters used in a 2010 memo to donors: “Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public.”
In fact, this is the signature line of Media Matters in discussing Fox News, which they say they exist to destroy.
… When Anita Dunn was informing America – as a senior government official – which news organizations were “legitimate,” she conveniently deemed CNN, which rarely challenges the White House, as a “real” network. Presumably she believes MSNBC is “legitimate” also, despite their undisguised disgust of the GOP and hagiography of the president, not to mention more opinion programming than any cable outlet.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume she thinks CBS is “legitimate” after they just ran what amounted to a 2016 ad for Hillary Clinton on “60 Minutes.” CBS is the same place that has a political director who also writes for one of the most liberal outlets in the country, Slate. Who also just wrote in that publication that the president should “pulverize” the GOP. Imagine a political director at CBS hired away from the Weekly Standard who then wrote an article about “pulverizing” Democrats. I know, I lost you at the part where CBS hired a political director from a conservative outlet.
Powers’s citiation of Media Matters is far from peripheral. A Dailly Caller series last September detailed how that Media Matters has collaborated with the Obama Department of Justice “to attack the president’s critics.”
Such moves, if attempted by a Republican or conservative administration against another news organization, would be properly denounced by the press as censorship. But I expect that most of the press, as they did in 2009, will stand by, watch Fox fight the good fight mostly on its own, and secretly (sometimes not so secretly) root against a competitor whose ratings have consistently left them in the dust for over a decade.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.