The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hypocritical Nonsense

Remember when Karen Hughes, a Bush administration spokesperson lambasted MSNBC for their blatantly left-wing agenda and their heavy criticism of the Bush presidency.

It wasn’t a big deal ... those things happen. But when high ranking administration officials made a concerted effort to attack a network, people took notice. On the Sunday morning talk shows, Bush’s senior advisor, Carl Rove, told George Stephanopoulos: “[MSNBC} is not really a news station. It's not just their commentators but a lot of their news programming it's really not news it's pushing a point of view. "

On another Sunday morning show, Bush’s Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, said "The way the president looks at it - we look at it - it's not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

This, of course, created a firestorm within the mainstream media.

“An adversarial relationship between the media and the presidency, every presidency, is part of the American political landscape,” stated the senior editor of the New York Times, once considered the flagship of American Journalism.

"It’s thuggish for the President to single out one news outlet and directly attempt to deligitimize it” stated Wolfe Blitzer of CNN. “It’s really quite troubling that the President has such a thin skin.”


You don’t remember senior Bush administration officials brazenly attacking the very legitimacy of MSNBC? And you can't recall the media firestorm?

I’m not surprised. It never happened.

But senior Obama administration officials are doing just that with FOX news. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior advisor is responsible for the first bolded quote in this piece, just replace MSNBC with FOX. Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff is responsible for the second bolded quote, just replace MSNBC with FOX.

And the quotes from other media outlets in response to Axelrod and Emanuel and in defense of their media brethren? Never happened. The big question is why?

Tom Bevan comments:
The current presidency, as much perhaps as any in history, is built upon the foundation of the President's personal popularity. President Obama has, out of necessity, become the Salesman-in-Chief for his progressive agenda. But as the White House continues to struggle adjusting to the reality of governing versus campaigning, it is either unwilling or unable to brook criticism of the President or his policies. Thus FOX News is targeted as the enemy.

The White House's direct attack on FOX News is only part of the strategy. As Axelrod and Emanuel made clear yesterday, they also want to drive a wedge between the rest of the media and FOX News, enlisting other television networks in the effort to paint FOX News as illegitimate.

Axelrod went out of his way to suggest to Stephanopoulos that ABC News adopt the White House strategy and not treat FOX News as legitimate. "The bigger thing is," Axelrod said, "other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way. We're not going to treat them that way. "

Emanuel suggested the same to John King later in their interview: "And more importantly is not have the CNN's and others in the world basically be led and following FOX, as if what they're trying to do is a legitimate news organization, in the sense of both sides and a sense of valued opinion."

It's actually quite brazen when you think about it. The two most senior members of the Obama White House - men who control all the information and access to the Executive Branch, the lifeblood of most news organizations - went on national television and suggested that ABC, CNN and other networks follow the White House's lead and join in its war to marginalize a competitor because it takes a "perspective" that displeases the President.

To my knowledge, there has never before been such a organized and public effort on the part of a President to delegitimize a major news organization. Every American (regardless of whether you like FOX news or can’t stand it) should be concerned.

And what about the rest of the media, usually very prickly when they are criticized by anyone. Their silence on this matter is deafening.

If Barack Obama can’t accept criticism, even criticism that is extremely partisan and ill-tempered, he never should have run for president. And if the MSM won’t defend one of its own, even if they disagree with FOX’s editorial content, their frequent protestations of Freedom of the Press are nothing more that hypocritical nonsense.