Those of you paying even the slightest attention these days realize that President Barack Obama has been the target of a near-criminally biased and antagonistic mass media.
Someone had to put a stop to the madness.
The organization most persistently engaged in reporting on issues that put the administration in a poor light has been Fox News. Or should I say Fox "News." Unfair. Unbalanced. Uncooperative.
"They're not really a news station," White House senior adviser David Axelrod recently explained.
"It's not a news organization so much as it has a perspective," chief of staff Rahm Emanuel added. Mao enthusiast and communications director Anita Dunn claims that Americans should not "pretend" Fox is a "news network the way CNN is."
For those who missed it, the key phrase to remember is "not a news organization."
Dunn also asserted that when the president "goes on Fox, he understands he's not going on it really as a news network at this point. He's going on to debate the opposition." Who knew debating the future of the nation is such a ghastly thought?
So what is the underlying rationale for this hypersensitive strategy of trying to delegitimize the voice of cable opposition? "We're doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible," a White House official explained to Politico.
It's about time someone charged the White House with the task of "making sure" news coverage is "fair." It's "important" work, you see. After all, who better than the executive branch—supposedly in the business of representing the entire nation—to decide whether a station qualifies as a legitimate news organization?
Then again, does biased political coverage disqualify one from reporting legitimate and useful news stories? Fox News may not be able to unsheathe the intellectual rigor of Obama favorites David Letterman and Jay Leno, but it has covered numerous stories in the past few months that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
Remember that ACORN's penchant for aiding the child-enslaving pimp set was a valid story. Uncovering the radical ramblings of Van Jones—a man tasked with creating "green" jobs even though he never had created a job for anyone but himself—was legitimate enough for the czar to abdicate his crown. The National Endowment for the Arts' attempt to politicize art was genuine enough to elicit a White House apology.
And whatever its intent, Dunn's inane admission that all-star mass murderer Mao Zedong was one of her "favorite political philosophers" (insert Hitler for Mao, a Bush administration figure for Dunn and stir) is a story worth hearing.
Hey, Mao was no dummy. That's probably why Dunn is employing the noted dictator's notion that one should "despise the enemy strategically but take him seriously tactically." In this case, it is precisely the legitimacy of the stories Fox News covers—rather than the bias of the station—that drives the administration to conflate news with opinion.
The public doesn't need to be reminded that Fox News Channel is a right-wing cable news network any more than it needs to hear that MSNBC is a left-wing network. We can handle all the opinions.
In reality, the symbiotic relationship between right and left continues. Good for Fox News. Good for Obama.
Even so, it doesn't change the fact that the nation's most dominant government entity—an entity that allegedly represents all Americans—is using tax dollars and its considerable influence to try to squash a privately owned news organization that disagrees with it.
In the sinister years of the former administration, this would have been referred to as chilling free speech. And if this administration can't handle one cable station's opposition, what does that tell the American people about its mettle on issues that matter?
David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.
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