Via Breitbart, your White House talking point du jour expressed in nearly identical terms on two different shows: Unlike MSNBC and the rest of the media that these two control, Fox isn’t “real news” because it comes with a slant. Candygram for Ax and Rahm from the New York Times: Cease and desist.
It could all be written off as a sideshow, but it may present a genuine problem for Mr. Obama, who took great pains during the campaign to depict himself as being above the fray of over-heated partisan squabbling. In his victory speech he promised, “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”…
On the official White House Web site, a blog called Reality Check provides a running tally of transgressions by Fox News. It ends with this: “For even more Fox lies, check out the latest ‘Truth-O-Meter’ feature from Politifact that debunks a false claim about a White House staffer that continues to be repeated by Glenn Beck and others on the network.”
People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of power dynamics to “punch up “ — that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a “truth-o-meter” against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify. As it is, Reality Check sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue.
The American presidency was conceived as a corrective to the royals, but trading punches with cable shouters seems a bit too common. Perhaps it’s time to restore a little imperiousness to the relationship.
Their strategy of demagoguing Limbaugh as the leader of the GOP made sense because it invited a comparison between Rush and The One, which, given their relative popular appeal, is a good match-up for Democrats. The anti-Fox strategy makes zero sense considering that (a) the public thinks the media is too liberal, which Fox uses to frame itself as a needed corrective, and (b) Fox’s most high-profile competition, such as it is, spent a fair chunk of the Bush years screaming about fascism and insisting that Roger Ailes runs a more dangerous organization than Osama Bin Laden. Not a good match-up. I assume the Fox-baiting is simply red meat they’re throwing to liberals to try to take the heat off on Afghanistan and “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but when even the Nation’s telling them to stop whining, the move to Plan B can’t be long in coming.
Update: I should have mentioned Jacob Weisberg’s attack on Fox as “un-American” in Newsweek here, but forgot. Luckily, Meryl Yourish didn’t.