WH to Dem strategists: Stop making Fox so … balanced?
posted at 2:00 pm on November 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
The White House has taken the war on Fox News to a strange new level. Bitterly complaining that the news channel does not provide a balanced presentation of the issues, the Obama administration has now warned strategists from the Democratic Party that they won’t work with them any longer if the strategists appear on Fox’s programming as guests:
At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration.
Political consultants are a staple of cable television talk shows, analyzing current events based on their own experiences working on campaigns or in government.
One Democratic strategist said that shortly after an appearance on Fox he got a phone call from a White House official telling him not to be a guest on the show again. The call had an intimidating tone, he said.
The message was, “We better not see you on again,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House. An implicit suggestion, he said, was that “clients might stop using you if you continue.”
In urging Democratic consultants to spurn Fox, White House officials might be trying to isolate the network and make it appear more partisan.
For an administration that can’t make up its mind about strategy and resourcing in Afghanistan, they seem to have plenty of time to plot their offensives against Fox.
This shows that the Fox war isn’t about getting balanced coverage. The fact that they have to threaten fellow Democrats to bully them out of their media appearances on Fox just highlights the fact that Fox airs their views — which undermines their public argument about Fox. What they want to do is to suck up to the Fox-haters on the Left in order to give them a weird sense of power, apparently the only way they can do it, since the hard-Left agenda isn’t moving through Congress.
It’s counterproductive in another way as well. Their very public campaign undermines the credibility of those networks on which the strategists do appear. It’s no accident that Fox News blew away all of the other cable news outlets on Election Day this week, drawing more viewers than all of them combined. The White House has practically anointed them as the only net truly independent of the Obama administration, making the rest of the nets look like toadies. Chasing Democrats off of Fox News will only make that trend accelerate.
It’s good to see the White House interested in fighting someone. Maybe eventually they’ll get around to America’s enemies.