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."George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton advisor, is one of countless former Democrat aides an officials now working for "legitimate" news organizations as journalists. Chris Matthews of MSNBC is another.
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."
But frankly, the more important part of this story is how the other media outlets, as explained in the clip at the bottom of this entry, managed to salvage their own integrity by refusing to go along with any interview if Fox News was not included. This, by anyone's measure, is a complete repudiation by the major news organizations of the White House's claim that Fox News should be ostracised. And this rebellion by the MSM could be a turning point in my view from the warm reception the media has given the president so far. Just yesterday, ABC News's Jake Tapper, questioned the appropriateness of the White House's eagerness to "decide that a news organization is not one". He even calls Fox News one of "our sister organizations":
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –Is this for real? Where is the outrage from the liberal consortium in this country regarding this most blatant assault on such a fundamental part of any democratic society - a free, open and adversarial press?
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –
Gibbs: ABC -
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.
This attempt at censorship by the White House proves what I have said over and over again; this administration is accustomed to a campaign in which they were fawned over by the media and the people at large. Now, unable to adjust from "campaign mode" to "leader mode", they have been reduced to a bunch of crying pantywaists who can no more lead this nation than Chris Matthews can do a sit up. It's amateur hour at the White House, and we've all got front row seats.