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."
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."
If White House communications director Anita Dunn thought she was going to get away with attacking the Fox News Channel without a response from the objects of her disaffection, she was sadly mistaken.
As NewsBusters previously reported, Dunn told CNN's Howard Kurtz on Sunday that Fox is "a wing of the Republican Party" and "not a news network at this point."
On Monday, FNC's Neil Cavuto answered Dunn, and did so in a fashion that should make all those opposing the Obama administration's position on this matter quite pleased.
In fact, I can't wait to see how the astoundingly thin-skinned White House will respond to this (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
(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.