January 31, 2013 6:34 AM

Fox News Channel: Fair and balanced- if you're reflexively Conservative and hate Democrats

There is no war on terror for the Obama White House, but there is one on Fox News. In a recent interview with The New Republic, President Obama was back to his grousing about the one television news outlet in America that won’t fall in line and treat him as emperor. Discussing breaking Washington’s partisan gridlock, the president told TNR,”If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News…for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it.”…. Alas, the president loves to whine about the media meanies at Fox News. To him, these are not people trying to do their jobs. No, they are out to get him. What other motive could a journalist have in holding a president accountable? Why oh why do Ed Henry and Chris Wallace insist on asking hard questions? Make them stop!

If there’s one thing that should never be underestimated, it’s the ability of the Conservative media to simultaneously engage if fact-free character assassination AND play the martyr card. The gold standard in this respect, of course, is Fox Noise Channel. Lax fact-checking and a situational devotion to the truth are more often than not the stock in trade among FNC talking heads. As a group they excel at claiming to be under siege by shadowy (or not so shadowy) Liberal forces who want nothing more than to silence patriots. In this case, Kirsten Powers is claiming that FNC is the target of a coordinated White House strategy to delegitimize it as a news organization. Why an organization that has Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Stuart Varney, Steve Doocy, and Margaret Carlson (just to name a few intellectual luminaries) in its stable needs help being delegitimized is hard to understand. And it’s not as if they need assistance from the White House to look like clueless, uninformed, hyperpartisan jackasses; they’ve pretty much cornered the market.

Powers takes the President to task for “refusing” to sit down with FNC journalists and treat them like “real” journalists…which is nothing if not laughable. If they want to be treated like “real” journalists, all they have to do is act the part. Drop the hyperpartisan, “gotcha” politics, stop drawing maximum conclusions with a minimum of information, and stop twisting things to make the President look bad…and maybe they’d have a shot. Why would the President want to sit down with “journalists” for whom Job One is to use his words against him and whose ultimate goal is to destroy him? Perhaps if they asked impartial questions and acted like impartial journalists, the President might give them a shot. Who can blame him for choosing not to “legitimize” those who’ve turned television journalism into a clown show?

Recently, the White House has kept Fox News off of conference calls dealing with the Benghazi attack, despite Fox News being the only outlet that was regularly reporting on it and despite Fox having top notch foreign policy reporters.

They have left Chris Wallace’s “Fox News Sunday” out of a round of interviews that included CNN, NBC, ABC and NBC for not being part of a “legitimate” news network. In October 2009, as part of an Obama administration onslaught against Fox News,White House senior adviser David Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.”

Fox may have (in their fevered imaginations) been “the only outlet that was regularly reporting on” the Benghazi attack. All they’ve been doing is aiding and abetting those on the Right desperate for a scandal- ANY scandal- they can hang on Barack Obama. That they failed to do so during the President’s first term has only served to make them more desperate. The reason other news outlets haven’t been covering it is that there’s really no story….unless you look at the House GOP’s penurious approach to diplomatic security. Certainly, the deaths of four Americans was a tragedy, one the State Dept. should endeavor to be certain never happens again. If Republicans and their allies at Fox News Channels keep digging, though, they’re going to have to answer some very uncomfortable questions themselves- like why they refused to fully fund the State Department’s request for security funds.

And don’t get me started on Chris Wallace. As a journalist he’s an embarrassment to the legacy of his father. He’s a lazy, unmotivated journalist who’s demonstrated himself far too willing to lob softballs at Conservatives while playing “gotcha” with Democrats and Liberals. If Chris Wallace is a journalist, I’m the Queen of England. Wallace should be embarrassed…but that would presume that he actually has pride in his chosen profession.

Whether you are liberal or conservative, libertarian, moderate or politically agnostic, everyone should be concerned when leaders of our government believe they can intentionally try to delegitimize a news organization they don’t like.

In fact, if you are a liberal - as I am - you should be the most offended, as liberalism is founded on the idea of cherishing dissent and an inviolable right to freedom of expression.

That more liberals aren’t calling out the White House for this outrageous behavior tells you something about the state of liberalism in America today.

I don’t know which is more laughable, Powers claiming to be a Liberal or taking Liberals to task for working to “deligitimize” Fox News Channel. Perhaps her perch at FNC has numbed her to reality, but Liberals generally have no problem dealing with those who disagree with them. What we detest are dealing with “news” organizations whose mission seems to be twisting words and meaning into something they can use to denigrate and (Powers’ word) deligitimize.

That Powers feels the White House to be guilty of “outrageous behavior” is prima facie absurd. Why should the White House be expected to lend credence to a “news” organization that functions as the de facto propaganda arm of the Republican Party? Why should the White House legitimize screaming ninnies like O’Reilly, Hannity, et. al.? Perhaps if they stuck to truth and facts instead of character assassination and “gotcha” journalism, they might find the White House and the President more amenable to playing ball.

The truth is that FNC is a cabal of bullies who can’t stand it when the President and those on the Left refuse to play their game. It’s no fun dancing when no one’s willing to be your partner.

Powers refers to FNC’s “opinion programming” as if its mere existence makes it legitimate. Again, if FNC’s talking heads traveled in the realm of truth and facts, they might find this President more open to playing along. Powers’ whining aside, it really comes down to a very simple question: Why would the President give the time of day to “journalists” dedicated primarily to the premise of embarrassing and painting him in the worst possible light? FNC’s talking heads will celebrate what they perceive as his mistakes and faux pas, yet they’re loathe to give him credit…for anything.

Powers’ sense of entitlement doesn’t give her the right to expect ANYTHING from the President or the White House. If Fox News Channel wants to play fair, they might find more cooperation forthcoming. Until then, they should expect that they’ll deservedly continued to be “delegitimized.”

And one other thing: If Kirsten Powers is a Liberal, I’m Ted Bundy.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on January 31, 2013 6:34 AM.

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