Brit Hume Fires Back at White House Attacks on Fox News: Calls It 'Risky Strategy'; Says 'Republican' Label Intentional

October 13th, 2009 1:28 AM

It's obvious the Obama administration has a low regard for Fox News as a media outlet - whether it has been President Barack Obama hinting at what he has thought about Fox News, the administration passing over Fox News in a recent round of Sunday morning interviews or as White House communications director Anita Dunn recently has done - just declare open season on the network.

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."

Hume noted that generally presidents have remained above the fray when it comes to these disagreements with the media.

"Most presidents though refrain from directly attacking media outlets, perhaps with that adage in mind or perhaps mindful of another saying that it is bad idea to get into a public fight with someone smaller than you are because it diminishing you and elevates your opponent," Hume continued.

And Hume also pointed out there's not a clear definition of what a victory for the Obama administration would be. News outlets are protected by the Constitution and that makes it difficult for politician to gain an upper hand when they want to go one-on-one with a particular media outlet.

"Fox News may be the biggest news channel by far but it is not as big as the presidency," he said. "There is an additional problem in fighting with the press. The protections by the First Amendment make the media largely invulnerable to attacks from politicians. For all these reasons, the kind of salvos recently fired at Fox News by the Obama White House represents, as you heard [CNN political analyst] David Gergen say, a risky strategy."

But Hume did explain how the Anita Dunn described Fox News as a "research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party" instead of a "conservative outlet in her Oct. 11 CNN "Reliable Sources" interview.

"The White House has though chosen its words with some care," Hume continued. "Note the characterization of Fox not as conservative but as Republican. A lot more Americans identify themselves as ‘conservative' than as Republican. What is more, though, if Fox News really were a GOP mouthpiece, the White House would not be attacking it. It would feel no need to."