Here is a good example of the White House's hypocrisy and it demonstrates that the real reason the administration is attacking Fox News is NOT that Fox News is not a real news outlet, but because the White House cannot tolerate any opinion that disagrees with theirs.
First, background. In case you haven't noticed, the White House has declared a war on Fox News. The administration has not provided Fox (now, we're talking Fox News Channel here, not local Fox affiliates) much access to the President or other high ranking officials since day 1, probably because Fox tends to question the administration and be highly critical of its actions, but now they've openly declared war. White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, said that Fox News is not a real news channel and urged other media outlets to not treat them as such. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Fox's White House Correspondent Jake Tapper that he should try watching Fox News' 5pm and 9pm programming with him to see what the White House means. Jake Tapper was quick to point out that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity hold the 5pm and 9pm slots on FNC, respectively, and that those programs are OPINION programs, not NEWS programs. Gibbs shrugged it off and said, well, that's the White House's opinion.
Okay, let's break this down.
Starting with Gibbs first. What he's essentially saying is that either the White House can't tell opinion from news, or they're intentionally mixing the two. He's saying that the White House has an opinion, but people who express opposing viewpoints are not allowed to have an opinion.
To further this point, not only does the White House NOT have a problem with liberal OPINION shows, such as those that belong to Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, but Obama actually invited Olbermann and Maddow TO THE WHITEHOUSE for some personal time this past week. Okay, are you following? It's okay - and actually encouraged - to be opinionated on a supposed News channel, as long as your opinion agrees with the White House.
And who is this Anita Dunn, anyway? Well, maybe all we need to know about her is that she is on video saying that two of the people she turns to the most - two of her favorite philosophers - are Mao Zedong and Mother Theresa. When people point out that she praised Chairman Mao, supporters of Dunn's like to point out that she also praised Mother Theresa. Many people don't understand the extent of Mao's violence. He is said to be responsible for the deaths of 30-70 million people through is policies and political purges. In context, and not to belittle the Holocaust in ANY way, but it is said to be responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews and 5 million others. WWII itself is said to have killed up to 80 Million. So, Chairman Mao? On par with all of WWII. Now, would you accept a public official praising Adolf Hitler and his philosophies and shrugging it off because they said they also liked Mother Theresa?
Other Dunn supporters have said, well, Mao said a lot of things. People quote him all the time and maybe don't even know it. Dunn did not just randomly quote Mao. She said he is one of her favorite philosophers and a person she turns to ALL THE TIME.
Dunn is just another in the string of radicals occupying positions in the White House these days.
Anyway, the White House tried to take this further this week by inviting the media to talk to Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg who proposed legislation this week to limit salaries of executives from companies that took TARP money. They excluded Fox News.
To the media's credit - and you all know I've been a tough critic of the media - they refused to interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included. Kudos to the main stream media for standing up TO the administration and FOR freedom of the press.
Maybe it was an act of camaraderie among industry players, maybe it was doing what they felt was right, or maybe they understand all too well the potential for political karma to come back and bite them in the ass should a Conservative administration come into power, but whatever the motive, they DID the right thing.
Knowing that a vast majority of the media is liberal, this was nothing short of an attempt by the White House to silence the opposition. Ridicule is a tool the administration uses on a regular basis to delegitimize opposition (as in calling anybody who opposes Obama for any reason a racist, to cite one example), so this was neither new or unexpected.
Remember, the media is our watchdog of the government. If nobody is asking questions, if nobody is taking the government to task, if nobody is presenting opposing viewpoints, then the government can run rampant over us - hang us from the gallows while they tell us they're just fitting us for a new necktie. No matter who you are, which side of the political spectrum you fall, you should be supporting Fox News in this battle. You don't have to watch them, but the minute their right to air opposing viewpoints is snuffed is the minute the government runs the media.
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11 but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.