White House tries to keep Fox News from Pay Czar interview

These guys in the White House are just amazing. You got to figure that they have seen something in the polling that makes them think that what they are doing will be successful among voters, that they are alienating some voters from watching Fox News. But this whole thing is very strange. It is good that the media has responded this way, though they possibly could have responded more forcefully early on (e.g., when Obama boycotted Fox News).

The Obama administration on Thursday failed in its attempt to manipulate other news networks into isolating and excluding Fox News, as Republicans on Capitol Hill stepped up their criticism of the hardball tactics employed by the White House.

The Obama administration on Thursday tried to make "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the White House pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency.

But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included.

The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.

The pushback came after White House senior adviser David Axelrod told ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday that Fox News is not a real news organization and other news networks "ought not to treat them that way."

The decision to boycott the Feinberg interview unless Fox News was included was cheered by media analysts, who said the administration's gambit was taking its feud with Fox News too far. President Obama has already declined to go on "Fox News Sunday," even while appearing on the other Sunday shows.

"I'm really cheered by the other members saying "No, if Fox can't be part of it, we won't be part of it,'" said Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, calling the move to limit Feinberg's availability "outrageous."

"What it's really about to me is the Executive Branch of the government trying to tell the press how it should behave. I mean, this democracy -- we know this -- only works with a free and unfettered press to provide information," he said.

Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. said the administration was potentially in violation of the Constitution with its attempt to restrict access to the "eyes and ears" of the country. . . . .

Even liberal Democrats, such as Jim Moran from Virginia, are getting uncomfortable with the White House attacks on opponents. From the Politico:

A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.

“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”

Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.

“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.” . . .

Just a thought: All this is the behavior of the "post-partisan" president? Does a "post-partisan" president put out an enemies list?

UPDATE: A little more information is available here:

A Fox News executive told the Huffington Post Saturday that the network "absolutely" did request an interview with Obama administration "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg and that the White House acknowledged a mistake on the part of a Treasury department staffer in failing to initially include Fox News in the round of interviews Feinberg conducted Thursday.
"Of course we requested an interview," Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente told the Huffington Post.
This directly contradicts reports by the Associated Press and Talking Points Memo, both of which reported that the White House had excluded Fox News because it did not request an interview. . . .

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a Baltimore Sun guy to oppose this White House move shows how radical this White House is. The Baltimore Sun--for those not in Maryland--is similar to the Soviet Pravda, although the editors of the Pravda didn't truly believe in socialism.

10/23/2009 1:28 PM  
Blogger austin-tatious said...

The media showed some common sense. "If they can do it to thee, they can do it to me."

10/24/2009 11:15 AM  

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