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"