In a column which went up this morning, Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, whose political positions certainly lean left and is a self-described liberal, ripped into President Obama and his administration for what she correctly characterizes as their "strategy to delegitimize a news organization" -- hers.
Her column is about far more than Obama's recent complaint to the New Republic's Chris Hughes (covered by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters) that "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it." What Powers recounts is a strategy first employed in 2009 and apparently being revived, now that Obama no longer has to answer to America's voters, to marginalize the only U.S. network which still tries to be fair and balanced (bolds are mine):
His show's called The Daily Rundown. And sure enough, Chuck Todd ran down Rick Santorum this morning as just another "flavor of the day" who "probably won't be the nominee." Apparently, trouncing Mitt Romney in three contests last week, and leading by a reportedly huge margin in Romney's native state of Michigan, isn't enough to impress Chuck.
But Todd totally swerved around Anita Dunn, failing to question his guest about the story of her big-money hypocrisy making today's news. As Obama's White House communications director, Dunn regularly went after hedge funds. But now as a PR consultant, as the Washington Free Beacon has reported, Dunn is taking hedge fund money for a campaign to promote the industry's image. Incredibly, nary a word about it from Todd. Video after the jump.
Emily Lenzner, Executive Director of Communications at ABC News for its DC-based shows, who spent eight months in 2007-2008 as editorial producer for This Week with George Stephanopoulos (for whom she also toiled inside the Clinton White House), has left ABC News for Anita Dunn's “strategic communications firm.” SKDKnickerbocker announced Monday she'll be a Managing Director with the firm led by Dunn, the Obama administration's Communications Director in 2009. SKDKnickerbocker's “About” page boasts:
We helped Barack Obama by being the only firm in America to do direct mail and television advertising for his 2008 presidential victory. We helped SEIU fight to stave off millions of dollars of healthcare cuts.
Their “Case Studies” page, which touts work for a bunch of liberal candidates, highlights “FAR-REACHING ROLE IN ELECTION: Obama for America.” That page trumpets: “No other firm had as far-reaching a role in President Obama's election...with Anita Dunn serving as one of the top officials of the campaign and the firm producing both television advertising and direct mail for the campaign.”
Previewing the State of the Union on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who claimed the GOP “made a decision a year ago that they weren’t going to cooperate on anything.” Smith replied: “I don’t think you can say what you just said and look at what happened with health care, especially in the last month, and be honest about it.”
Dunn, who just recently stepped down as communications director to the Obama White House, disregarded Smith’s challenge:
Harry, I disagree with that, mostly because I was working at the White House for most of this time. And I saw how many meetings with Republicans, how many attempts to reach out, how much time was spent listening to their concerns. An entire summer spent giving a lot of room to a bipartisan process which ultimately Republicans walked away from, even as their leaders from day one announced that they were going to kill health care no matter what was in the bill.
NBC's Matt Lauer dismissed the idea that Barack Obama was weak on terrorism, as the Today co-anchor, on Wednesday's show, wanted to "get rid" of the notion that "the President doesn't take the threat of terrorism seriously enough because he's not out there talking about it every day." Lauer, in a political roundup segment in the 7am half hour, also spun the retirements of Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Byron Dorgan as something "that might work out better in the long haul," for the Dems.
First up Lauer, in a question to former White House press secretary and current Fox News contributor Dana Perino, dismissed the idea Obama isn't taking the threat of terrorism seriously enough.
On his Nov. 16 program, Beck responded to the "South Park" interpretation of him - that he wasn't making accusations, but phrasing them in the form of a question. The show's character Eric Cartman played a spoof of Beck in which he railed against his school's president, Wendy Testaburger. Beck maintained he wasn't making the "accusations" in the form of a question - but playing the words of the "accused" themselves.
"Have we gotten to a place you can't ask questions?" Beck asked. "What were my crazy accusations or questions? Well, the accusation was that Van Jones was a communist revolutionary," Beck said. "I didn't describe him that way. In his own words he described himself that way. He was a 9/11 Truther. He was forced to step down. Was it that the administration was using NEA as a propaganda arm for the administration? That was a question. We played tapes of the call with Yosi Sargent and Yosi Sargent had to step down."
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Video of this interview now available.
Outgoing White House communications director Anita Dunn on Friday praised the "fact-checking investigative journalism" skills of Comedy Central's Jon Stewart while she pushed back against any suggestion MSNBC was at all biased.
For those that have forgotten, this is the same Administration official who a month ago said Fox "is not a news network."
The following is a partial transcript of an interview Dunn did Friday with Bloomberg's Al Hunt (h/t Washington Times):
There's little doubt that at hand is an ongoing effort by the Obama White House to marginalize the Fox News Channel - especially after the administration attempted to leave Fox out of the White House pool last week. That is something conservative columnist Cal Thomas said is eerily comparable to Cold War tactics of the old Soviet Union.
On the Fox News Channel's Oct. 24 "Fox News Watch," Thomas alluded to an Oct. 21 column he wrote, which he compared what the Soviets did with radio signals that penetrated the Iron Curtain to deliver a message of freedom from Western Europe - they jammed them.
"I wrote a column on this, this week - if I can promote myself and my own column," Thomas said. "I likened it to what happened during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union especially tried to jam the signals of the Voice of America and Radio Europe, other entities that were trying to pump truth into the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries, the so-called captive nations."
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.
For months NewsBusters has been reporting how the media aided and abetted the creation of Barack Obama's Cult of Personality leading to his eventual election as the 44th President of the United States.
Eight days before his inauguration, Obama's Fox News-hating communications director Anita Dunn and his digital strategist Ben Self, while at a conference in the Dominican Republic hosted by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, confirmed the allegation in a tutorial they gave to President Leonel Fernandez and other government officials and guests on how to turn an unknown politician into a messiah.
On Sunday, World News Daily uncovered one of the nine videos recorded that day which gave clues as to how the Obama campaign successfully manipulated the media to force his cult like status upon an unknowing public (video of part 8 embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t NBer Free Stinker):
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).
Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."
Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."
This won't surprise anyone who reads this blog regularly, but it needs to get on the record nonetheless: The airing of a June video showing interim White House Communications Director Anita Dunn praising Mao and Mother Teresa as "two of my favorite philosophers" to a group of high school students is barely news in the establishment press.
In an August 2008 report on the Obama campaign, Anne E. Kornblut of the Washington Post also described Dunn as "as senior adviser" who had joined the campaign "in the spring."
Roger Kimball at Pajamas Media has the video of Dunn's speech. NB's Jeff Poor (covering Glenn Beck's original broadcast that broke the story) and P.J. Gladnick (on Dunn's pathetic attempt to excuse herself) have previously dealt with Dunn's speech.
Here are the Mao-relevant portions of the speech excerpt:
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel Sunday made one of the most absurd comments to date about the Administration's fight with the Fox News Channel.
In his "State of the Union" interview with CNN's John King, Emanuel said, "It's not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."
Maybe more importantly, Emanuel told King that the White House doesn't want other news outlets to emulate Fox because the cabler isn't offering "both sides' sense of a valued opinion" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t NBer Melody):
The incredibly lame excuses those on the left come up with to try to explain away statements they made that have come back to haunt them is growing more hilarious by the day. Robert Reich clearly stated at a 2007 Berkeley lecture what an honest candidate for president who didn't worry about getting elected would say to senior citizens who face costly treatment to keep them alive: "It's too expensive...so we're going to let you die."
Reich's excuse for this and other bizarre health care statements by a hypothetical honest candidate for president? He was being "taken out of context" despite the fact that Reich himself originally put it into perfectly clear context to the point that his Berkeley audience was applauding in approval of the brutal "truths."
It would be hard to exceed the absurdity of Reich's laughably lame excuse but White House Communications Director makes a good stab at it in trying to explain away why she favorably quoted Mao Tse Tung as one of her favorite political philosophers. Her unbelievably laughable excuse? She was only following in the footsteps of deceased Republican campaign strategist Lee Atwater who also quoted Mao. Before we get to Dunn's Lee Atwater excuse bellylaugh, let us review what she said about Mao:
The feud between the White House and the Fox News Channel took another, thanks to one of Glenn Beck's viewers.
On Beck's Oct. 15 program, the Fox News host played a video sent to him of White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who had previously slammed Fox News and called it an organ of the Republican Party. In the video, Dunn reveals her two favorite political philosophers - humanitarian Mother Teresa and Mao Tse Tung, Chinese revolutionary and Communist leader responsible for an estimated 70 million deaths (video embedded below the fold).
"A lot of you have a great deal of ability," Dunn said. "A lot of you work hard. Put them together and that answers the ‘why not' question. There's usually not a good reason and then the third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers - Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say why not. You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before, but here's the deal."
However Brit Hume, now a senior political analyst for Fox News and regarded as a veteran figure at the news organization, took the White House head on. In his "Brit Hume Commentary" segment on Fox News Channel's Oct. 12 "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume, pointed out this "feud" the Obama administration has decided to elevate is a bad idea.
"Every president ends up disgusted with the news media in general and with certain individuals or outlets in particular, but there is an old adage often attributed to Mark Twain that advises against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel," Hume said. "He is speaking of the big media of his day, which were newspapers."
(UPDATE: Apparently there was a drowned out Republican voice in the promo. See full update below.)
The irony in this story is so delicious, as NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard would probably describe it, that one must take a bit of time to savor it.
Yesterday, Sheppard posted a story about White House communications director Anita Dunn whining at length on Howard Kurtz's "Reliable Sources" about how supposedly unfair Fox News is. Her appearance on that show was instigated by Dunn's complaints about White House coverage by Fox News in a Time magazine story by Michael Scherer. Among her attacks upon Fox News was the assertion that it wasn't a real news network "the way CNN is." Well, Michael Scherer himself wrote a followup blog post and pointed out the supreme irony of attacking Fox News as biased while CNN was running "Anderson Cooper 360" promos pitching that show as appealing to liberals. First Scherer quotes Anita Dunn from her "Reliable Sources" appearance:
But let's be realistic here, Howie. You know, they are widely viewed as, you know, part of the Republican Party. 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.
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Fox officials agree that all this attention is helping ratings.
Three days before Howard Kurtz talked with White House communications director Anita Dunn about the Obama administration's attacks on the Fox News Channel, a number of CNN contributors pointed out how this strategy is helping FNC's ratings while hurting Democrats.
Such was discussed on Thursday's "Situation Room" by a panel consisting of CNN's Gloria Berger, David Gergen, and John King, as well as Politico's Nia-Malika Henderson and Republican strategist Tony Blankley.
Makes you wonder why Kurtz on Sunday didn't ask Dunn about the following tremendously relevant conversation that happened on his own network a few days earlier (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Mediaite):
"I think what is fair to say about FOX and certainly the way we view it is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party...[When President Obama] goes on FOX, he understands that he is not going on -- it really is not a news network at this point. He's going to debate the opposition."
So said White House communications director Anita Dunn on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" in what appeared to be an extension of her shameful attack on Fox reported by NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay Thursday.
Three days later, Dunn was almost seething with contempt as she discussed America's leading cable news network with host Howard Kurtz (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript mixed with commentary):
The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.
Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."
The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.