White House Urges Other Networks to Disregard Fox News

Senior Obama administration officials took to the airwaves Sunday to accuse Fox News of pushing a particular point of view and not being a real news network.

FOXNews.com
Monday, October 19, 2009

The White House is calling on other news organizations to isolate and alienate Fox News as it sends out top advisers to rail against the cable channel as a Republican Party mouthpiece.

Top political strategists question the decision by the Obama administration to escalate its offensive against Fox News. And as of Monday, the four other major television networks had not given any indication that they intend to sever their ties with Fox News.

But several top White House officials have taken aim at Fox News since communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news” in an interview last Sunday.

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN on Sunday that President Obama does not want “the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox.”

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is “not a news organization.”

“Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way,” Axelrod counseled ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We’re not going to treat them that way.”

Asked Monday about another Axelrod claim that Fox News is just trying to make money, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that while all media companies fall under that description, “I would say sometimes programming can be tilted toward accentuating those profits.”

But by urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month with Dunn’s comments.

So far, none of the four other major networks has given any indication that they wish to disinvite Fox News from the White House pool — the rotation through which the networks share the costs and duties of White House coverage and the most significant interaction among the news channels.

The White House stopped providing guests to “Fox News Sunday” after host Chris Wallace fact-checked controversial assertions made by Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in August.

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