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Whiner-in-Chief posted by John Nichols

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joeycola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:15 AM
Original message
Whiner-in-Chief posted by John Nichols
He does make some good points but OUCH!


http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat/483551/whiner_in...


Whiner-in-Chief posted by John Nichols on 10/12/2009 @ 8:08pm



First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox News because the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.

Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.

These are not disconnected developments.

An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants.

But before the president and his inner circle go all Spiro Agnew on us, they might want to consider three fundamental facts regarding relations between the executive branch and the fourth estate:

1. Since the founding of the republic, media outlets (the founders dismissed them as "damnable periodicals") have been partisan.

White House communications director Anita Dunn was not exactly breaking news when she told CNN's "Reliable Sources" that Fox was neither fair nor balanced. "What I think is fair to say about Fox -- and certainly it's the way we view it -- is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party," grumbled Dunn. "They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that's fine. But let's not pretend they're a news network the way CNN is."

Fox hosts do go overboard in their savaging of Obama and the Democrats -- sometimes ridiculously so. But their assaults on the president are gentle when compared with the battering that Benjamin Franklin Bache's Philadelphia Aurora administered to John Adams (appropriately) or the trashing that Colonel McCormick's Chicago Tribune gave Franklin Roosevelt (inappropriately).

To suggest that Fox is not a news network simply because Sean Hannity echoes RNC talking points would be like suggesting that the Aurora was not a newspaper because it took cues from Tom Jefferson or that the Tribune was not a legitimate member of the fourth estate because it was sweet on Alf Landon.

2. Presidents are supposed to rise above their own partisanship and engage with a wide range of media -- even outlets that are hard on their administrations.

....................

When Dick Cheney kept giving "exclusive" interviews to Fox "personalities," there were those of us who ridiculed both the personalities and the former vice president for going through the ridiculous exercise of lobbing softballs and swinging at them.

Obama should be better than Cheney. But aides are not helping the president prevail in what ought to be an easy competition.

..................
3. The worst mistake a president or his administration can make is to try and "whip" relatively like-minded writers and reporters into line.

Yet, that appears to be what the Obama team was trying to do with the silly "policing action" of having a White House "adviser," speaking on condition of anonymity, encourage liberal bloggers to "take off their pajamas" and get serious about politics. On Sunday, when gay rights marchers challenged the Obama administration to make real the equality rhetoric of the president, NBC White House correspondent John Harwood:


For a sign of how seriously the White House does or doesn't take this opposition, one adviser told me today those bloggers need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely-divided country is complicated and difficult.

Harwood told Huffington Post:


My comments quoting an Obama adviser about liberal bloggers/pajamas weren't about the LGBT community or the marchers. They referred more broadly to those grumbling on the left about an array of issues in addition to gay rights, including the war in Afghanistan and health care and Guantanamo -- and whether all that added up to trouble with Obama's liberal base...

The bloggers took offense. The White House tried to "disassociate" itself from the comment. But that's standard operating procedure: toss the bomb and then avoid the fallout.
................................
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
1. I don't believe everything that's printed, i.e., John Harwood.
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
2. Shouldn't you be posting this on FoxNation?
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joeycola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Would you care to discuss the content vs post Rove-like hit on the
messenger type post?
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Fox News is propaganda and it's viewers know it's propaganda
that's why they watch it.
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joeycola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. I like what JN has to say about letting the people decide.....
Most people are not stupid.


.......Obama should sit down with Fox reporters and anchors and do interviews. That does not mean that the president has to put up with the emotional wreckage that is Glenn Beck. But there is no reason why he shouldn't go another round with Bill O'Reilly (as Obama did during the 2008 campaign) or sit down with Chris Wallace (as Bill Clinton did).

If the Fox interviewers are absurdly unfair, the American people will respond with appropriate consternation. On the other hand, if they are aggressive and pointed in their challenges, Obama will rise or fall on the quality of his responses. His aides, if they have any faith in their man's abilities, should bend over backwards to accept some Fox interviews. They should also accept an invite from PBS' Bill Moyers, who would pose tougher and, yes, more informed -- questions than the Foxbots. ...............
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OregonBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
3. Obama is right, you are wrong. Go post it at FR.
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joeycola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Another Rove like response.
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Bgno64 Donating Member (255 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-13-09 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
8. as for Fox,
this is a repeat of Nixon's broader "nattering nabobs of negativism" strategy. Which worked like a charm, both in the short term and the long term.

Short term, the Nixon administration's painting of the press as hopelessly biased agains the president both put the media back on its heels and created the impression of the "liberal media" that is still with us today. It resonated with the bulk of the populace, who pride themselves (correctly or incorrectly) on their basic fairness; when told the media wasn't being fair, many were poised to believe it.

Now, Obama seeks to marginalize Fox not amongst its supporters - because that will never work. Rather, he's trying to plant the seed amongst the people whose kids are watching SpongeBob instead of Glenn Beck at 5 p.m. that Fox News is nothing but knee-jerk partisanship. And when Fox inevitably ratchets up the partisan attacks in response, the president gets to say to the vast, non-ideological American middle - see? This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

So I love the strategy. If Fox was legitimately fair and balanced - if its criticism was based in objectivity - I'd be against it. But this is Fox - Dunn was absolutely correct in her depiction of it as the propaganda arm of the GOP. Fox doesn't merely give voice to the opposition party - it IS the opposition party. The GOP, at this point, is media-driven; Fox driven. So take the fight to Fox as you would any other political entity. Fox Nation will be OUTRAGED!!! The rest of America might begin to think: Hey, Fox really DOES seem partisan and unfair. And that's what it's all about.
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