web analytics
Your Independent Alternative!

Why Fox Will Outfox Ill-Advised Obama

The following editorial is by Al Neuharth, founder of USA TODAY.

Back when newspapers were the primary source of news, politicians were advised, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel."

Now they should be counseled not to pick a fight with anyone who reaches millions of TV viewers 24 hours a day.

Disagreeing with or debating the media on any given issue can be good for politicians. But picking an ongoing fight is futile.

President Obama's top advisers have done that - chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser David Axelrod and White House communications director Anita Dunn.

What they've said:

- Axelrod: Fox is "not really a news station."

- Dunn: Fox is "opinion journalism masquerading as news."

- Emanuel warned other media not to "be led (by) and following Fox."

Fox was excluded from separate Sunday interviews that Obama granted to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision last month.

Despite such tactics, Obama and his counselors can't outfox Fox or silence critics.

I'm a frequent Fox viewer, as are many political independents. Best-known Bill O'Reilly is so blatantly conservatively prejudiced it is actually amusing.

But Fox is not alone. Much of MSNBC's liberal leaning, led by Hardball's Chris Matthews, is equally entertaining. CNN's Lou Dobbs sometimes is laughable when he gets on his anti-immigration kick.

Some of our biggest newspapers have strong partisan political perspectives - the liberal New York Times and Washington Post and the conservative Wall Street Journal. But they keep their views on the opinion pages.

Most of you understand the difference between news and views. The president's advisers - and Obama himself - should be smart enough to encourage people to listen to and read it all and then decide.

Remember that campaign slogan: "Yes, we can!"

Feedback: Other views on White House vs. Fox

"By infusing its news with opinion, Fox is undermining the American tradition of media independence. The administration's criticisms may not be smart politics, but they have the virtue of being true." - Jacob Weisberg, chairman, The Slate Group

"To have credibility, the White House must acknowledge right-wing bias at Fox News and left-wing bias at MSNBC. It's certainly their choice to do partisan programming in prime time, but it is apples and oranges when compared with what CNN does." - Campbell Brown, anchor, CNN's "Campbell Brown - Plain Talk"

14 Responses »

  1. If you want to know what real media bias is, read Weisberger's "America Afire", the story of the first contested presidential election between Adams and Jefferson, which eventually led to the duel between Burr and Hamilton, and resulted in the Alien and Sedition acts. Makes the cat fight between Obama's team and Fox look like baby pats.

  2. Fox in really a joke. They ask for it by saying "fair & balanced"

  3. You shoot yourself in the foot when you admit that O'Reilly is merely entertaining in the extremeity of his viewpoint, relegating him and his ilk to something other than newsworthy status. However, what you miss completely is the activism of Fox News in their organizing and publicizing of political activities, like the Tea Parties.

    If we "Understand the difference" then surely we will understand that Fox is NOT news, merely opinion and activism in sheep's clothing.

    The Obama administration is reading and deciding as you suggest. It chooses to deal with news organizations not political organizations and says so. I choose that view, others are free to choose their own.

  4. For years the major tv news sources have presented news to us in tidbits to back up whatever view they were trying to present. We only had their word on what was said. I watch Fox because they do present their obvious bias but they show the whole clip then let us decide what was actually said. CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, the print media should take a lesson from this and let we americans decide the truth. I am tired of the left leaning media feeding me a slanted news report. I simply want the truth and the whole truth.

  5. The Obama Administration, IMO, is walking a very thin line. If they continue on this path, they could be accused of infringing on someones first amendment (free of the press).

    At the end of the day, Obama's Administration has far greater issues that they should be concerned with, none of which include putting down a private organization.

    When President Bush was in office, Fox news and other news outlets were very critical of him - some news outlets had no problem insulting the President of the U.S., but at the same time I never saw Bush try to throw out a news outlet.

    Someone needs to remind President Obama and Emanuel that this isn't Chicago.

  6. Obama is such a fool in listening to his savant advisers. They are so pathetic! They shoot themselves in the foot on a daily basis in trying to please their god!

  7. The quoted aphorism refers to the media's ability to fight back - but in this case, Fox is so anti-Obama, and caters so exclusively to those who would never consider supporting anyone in the Democratic party, that there is literally nothing they can do in revenge, short of crossing the line from blind ideology to outright slander.

    You show me an independent who watches Fox news, I'll show you an independent in name only.

  8. I think its too bad that you believe that anyone can outsmart President Obama. We are fortunate to have the brightest President, ever, to guide us through these perilous times.
    Instead of being grateful and apprciative, allowing the near retardates to try to daily undermine his genius is stupid and ridiculous!

  9. The entire American News media is a joke. The Media here has successfully led people to believe that there are only three choices, Rep or Dem or something in between. They have completely failed to show people that there is something beyond these choices. Until the govt of the united states releases control over the media in telling them what can or cannot be printed, one cannot call this independent reporting. Sensational news are read to us from all channels in question here. They are there to make money, the truth be damned. Everyone is out to have their opinion voiced. However, the job of a news outlet is to REPORT, not state opinions. On this front every news firm fails big time in the US. That's why, for the past 5 years, I have not watched a single news channel except for coverage of major events like presidential swearing-in ceremony etc. The Internet really is the only source where there is even an option to find good reporting today. Just look at BBC reporting. Just see the lack of emotion and bias they show in their reporting. That is what is needed. They actually ensure people know that there is an entire world where people live. In the US, all news is centered around itself and its influence on other countries.

    @Tom French: You say "I simply want the truth and the whole truth" and yet you choose Fox news for your fact finding? Granted all networks in the US are biased, but Fox and MSNBC take the cake. Stay as far away from them as possible.

  10. Oh, Campbell! Though you accurately paint Fox at one end and MSNBC on the other, remember the slogan of your own network: "News and views." Sadly, nobody, no network, no news organization remains with the integrity to just report the facts. But don't be depressed, it's not your fault. It's the fault of an American public that cannot satiate it's hunger for tripe...therefore, the news organizations provide what the public will watch. I long for Walter, Chet and David.

  11. Let me see if I understand you Al. If the bias comes from the left it is OK but if it is from the right it is tainted? That about sums up the liberal left view of the world.

  12. "I watch Fox because they do present their obvious bias but they show the whole clip then let us decide what was actually said."

    To Tom French: My goodness, you watch a different Fox News than I do.

    Fox News has never, and probably never will be, a "news station." It is a network intended to echo the substance and style of the large-font tabloid-style newspapers in the Newscorp syndicate. In other words, they are an entertainment product. It is unfortunate that so many people take the punditry on Fox as intelligent dialog, or that they don't bother to probe deeper than what they are talking about, whether it be the "NAFTA Superhighway" or "Barack Obama hating white people." They blatantly chose pundits as "experts" on various subjects, they draw inciting corollaries between "Obama and Stalin," which simply does not happen in "news" programs.

    I have an idea. Turn off Fox News and try "reading books."

    • What books are you reading?

      Das Kapital
      Mao's Little Red Book

      Tell CO2 (Carter-Obama squared) to stop selling our country out
      to the Red Chinese picking phony side- shows about Fox (a red
      herring if ever I saw one). Obama is lost in space and does not
      know what he is doing except how to screw up our country.

  13. Gannett STILL has it wrong. The purpose of the Fox fight was to create an environment where the other news agencies wouldn't follow the Fox lead in the daily headlines. Fox had created a "situation" by breaking the in-breeding of the news agencies by covering some incredible stories the other media agents had ignored. From my days of watching Superman and learning the lingo from that tv show: Fox "scooped" them several times. To the degree that the other agencies were back-peddling and acknowledging Fox for it's journalistic prowess. The White House couldn't sit back and let that happen: they still have three years of needing the press in their back pockets.

    For more insight into this reality, read Fox vs. Socialism right here in the Observer.

    Jim Davis
    Morning in America

    ps. It's nice to be ahead of the curve. Glad Gannett caught up with me.