Tommy Christopher catches Robert Gibbs in continuing the Obama adminstration’s war on Fox News. Coming from a White House that has now botched three of its health-care anecdotal scare stories, this response should have produced laughs in the Briefing Room:
TC: How would you respond to criticism that the White House’s current posture toward Fox News constitutes some kind of bullying, or chilling of speech?
Robert Gibbs: (long pause) We…get questions throughout the day, seven days a week, about policies here at the White House, questions you guys want answered, and our goal is to make sure that you have the facts, that you do your job. That’s what we do for everybody.
TC: Well, specifically, the comments by Anita Dunn about Fox not being a real news network…
Robert Gibbs: I have watched many stories on that network that I have found not to be true. I think everybody in this room has been likely on the other end of a phone conversation with me when I’ve had issues with your stories. I don’t think that’s news.
Tommy’s not sure what to make of that caveat at the end. Is Gibbs accusing all of the media of being enemies of the Obama White House, or is it just confirmation of what Chris Wallace said last month — that this administration is the biggest bunch of crybabies ever? After all, Wallace reported that they don’t call to complain about factual errors in stories, but also tone, and guest selection on their shows, and so on. If Gibbs has done that with all of the major broadcast outlets, then perhaps he can explain why the White House has begun to single out Fox, as Anita Dunn did, if they have the same problems with everyone else.
It almost sounds to me as if they’re already regretting their decision to launch a public war with Fox, perhaps stung by criticism from the Left, such as The Nation, that paints them as crybabies unable to play in the big leagues — or as Nixonian with a new kind of enemies list. Gibbs sounds as though he wants to broaden and therefore lessen the criticism when it was the administration who picked this fight in the first place.