NYT: White House Attacking Fox Because It Is News, and That's the Problem
It is news, after all, when an organization potentially receiving billions in federal funds aids and abets what it thinks is a criminal organization. It is news when a high-level White House adviser, responsible for the distribution of $80 billion in federal funds, is outed as a communist and a 'truther' conspiracy theorist. It is news when the president's chief communications officer admits her admiration for a murderous dictator.
... officials at the White House had decided that if anything, it was time to take the relationship to an even more confrontational level. The spur: Executives at other news organizations, including The New York Times, had publicly said that their newsrooms had not been fast enough in following stories that Fox News, to the administration's chagrin, had been heavily covering through the summer and early fall - namely, past statements and affiliations of the White House adviser Van Jones that ultimately led to his resignation and questions surrounding the community activist group Acorn...
There followed, beginning in earnest more than two weeks ago, an intensified volley of White House comments describing Fox as "not a news network."
"It was an amalgam of stories covered, and our assessment of how others were dealing with those stories, that caused us to comment," Mr. Axelrod said in describing the administration's thinking...
Mr. Clemente suggested that the fight was part of a larger White House strategy to marginalize critics. He cited a report in Politico about a strategy session in August at which officials discussed plans to move more aggressively against opponents...
"This is a discussion that probably had to be had about their approach to things," Mr. Axelrod said. "Our concern is other media not follow their lead."
There you have it. The administration's attacks are a means to prevent other news organizations from picking up on stories that originate at Fox. The White House knows that without Fox's megaphone, controversies such as that surrounding former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones would have fizzled and died, and would not have created the public uproar that it did.
If these stories were not newsworthy, there would be no pressure on the mainstream media to cover them, and the New York Times certainly would not apologize for delaying its coverage.
The fact that Fox News actually reports news that is important to Americans, thereby forcing other outlets to report the story, is what concerns the White House. As Rich Lowry stated at The Corner, "their problem is not that Fox isn't a real news organization, their problem is that it is."