This past week the Obama Administration said that it does not view the Fox News Network as a credible news organization because it has an agenda and a perspective inconsistent with neutrality.
As if to prove the point for them, Fox’s terror dogs immediately went on the attack, led by Karl Rove, asserting that the President is creating a Nixon-like ‘Enemies List.’ Talk about stretching the truth. The ‘enemies list’ created by 1970’s-era President Richard Nixon was a master list, created by the President, to engage in secretive and illegal surveillance on prominent citizens who disparaged or disagreed with the government. Rahm Emanuel, on the other hand, stated rather routinely that Fox News ought to be called out for its transparent lack of neutrality while presenting news to the American people. Quite a difference.
Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Sostern, and then Bill Hemmer, also entered the fray for Fox News, championing their individual liberties, while remarking that Obama’s team was trying to silence a free press; that they were being ‘bullied.’ So the most powerful network on television struts out its stars to reach their massive audiences, and comes to the table shrieking that their rights are being infringed, their freedoms shattered, their lives ruined. Boo hoo! Cry me a river. Who are they kidding? This is hardly a network being silenced.
Fox is a media outlet. It relished every moment of the attack, one long overdue. Frankly, it is about time that liberals fought back, firmly and angrily. What the Obama administration showed is why they got to the White House. They do not run. They stand their ground. They do not apologize for who they are. And they will not stand idly by as Foxnuts seize misrepresentative quotes and misleading sound bites to falsely demonize decent Obama appointees as extremists and radicals.
For years, we have heard all the nasty things about the liberal media. We have listened as right wing commentators took over the AM radio stations beating and bashing those humane liberals who have fought for a 21st century society which embraces diversity. We have been demonized for supporting everything from the right of handicapped to have access to public facilities to allowing for salmon to swim upstream. And guess what, gays are getting married and society is not collapsing. People smoke marijuana medicinally and children are still going to school We liberals are right about wrong foreign wars, corporate exploitation of citizens and making health care affordable and accessible. But our voices have not been loud enough. It is about time that changed. Many of us are strong on crime. We believe Rush Limbaugh should have gone to jail for drug trafficking years ago. And maybe Dick Cheney should not be allowed to own handguns or rifles.
Accordingly, the Obama Administration’s David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, and Anita Dunn should not be censored for firing back, they should be celebrated. Any administration represents a point of view, sets an agenda, and argues its cause. If the Fox News Network opposes it, as they clearly do, then so be it. They have a right to write too. But the administration has no duty to pander to its activist agenda. Fox may brag it is fair and balanced, but there are many, this writer included, that believe their presentations are tilted and unbalanced, leaning to the rabid right and the wrongfully righteous.
As a network, it makes for delightfully entertaining programming. They are the best at what they do. Fox is ingenious at getting under the liberals’ skin, but it has not done much but get them ratings. The Democrats’ control the House, the Senate, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is now not only the obligation of Fox but its duty to call the administration to task for its achievements and appointments, its policies and its practices. That they do so on an entertaining and creative venue like Fox News simply requires Team Obama to rise up to the challenge with good governance and a capable administration. Achieve that goal and it is the best answer that will ever be written. But every news entity has a right to question authority, and challenge those in power. So too may those in power evaluate whether the critiques are credible and the criticisms just.
A feud between the Obama Administration and Fox is not to be demeaned and denigrated. It ought to be publicized and promoted. Each may become better voices at effectively getting their message out, and both can prosper from the discussion. Fox will get more viewers, and Obama may get to refine, streamline, and more effectively present their voice. Neither should be silent or intimidated. Neither has a right to be above criticism or review. Not as long as we live in a free society.
Fox just has to own up to what columnist John Batchelor wrote this week: they may present the news, but they are in show business. So is every campaigner that gets elected to office today with its slick brochures and television marketing. Let’s be real. The most articulate conservative commentators only land in the tv studio after getting prepped in a dressing room for hair and makeup.
We are all mad men and we only get madder if we deny that essential truth. The only significance of the Obama War on Fox is that Fox got to War on Obama. It made for a good show. And that is all that counts in the end, except maybe if you really care that Americans are still dying in a foreign war that has lasted longer than all the combined years of World War I and II. You see, Fox you are no Walter Cronkite. And that’s the way it really is.
NORM KENT, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, publishes The Broward Law Blog, www.browardlawblog.com