Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why The Obama White House Stays Losin'.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Fox News is biased towards Conservatives. For anyone just coming to this realization, I have more bad news for you. There is no Santa Claus. You will not save money on your car insurance by switching to Geico.[1] The Easter Bunny is but a pagan symbol. The Redskins have no chance at winning the Super Bowl. I'm sorry to ruin your innocence with such startling revelations.

That said, since seemingly everyone else in the country knows this, watching WH Communications Director Anita Dunn go on this batsh*t tirade over the weekend about how unfair Fox News is to the Obama WH puzzles me to no end.
The White House has gone on the offensive against its critics in the press, singling out Fox News and going so far as to accuse the News Corp.-owned network of waging a "war against Barack Obama."

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has led the charge, appearing on CNN television and conducting interviews with Time magazine and The New York Times in recent days to make her case.

The unusual White House campaign comes as President Obama faces mounting opposition to his health care reforms, growing concern over the situation in Afghanistan and a continuing general economic malaise.

The president also suffered a setback recently when his personal effort to win approval for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics was rejected and his Nobel Peace Prize has met with more barbs than bouquets.

Speaking of media magnate Rupert Murdoch's Fox, Dunn told the Times in an interview published Monday: "We?re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent.

"As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don?t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave," she said.

In comments just days earlier to Time magazine, Dunn, a veteran Democratic Party communications strategist who joined the White House in May, denounced Fox as "opinion journalism masquerading as news."

"They are boosting their audience. But that doesn't mean we are going to sit back," she said.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Dunn said "the reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."

Dunn said the White House would not be a "passive bystander" as opponents try to "tear down the president and his presidency."

"We will push back," she said.

The push back has included a blog post on WhiteHouse.gov in which the White House denounced what it called "Fox lies" and "an attempt to smear the administration's efforts to win the Olympics for the United States."
Here's the video, which has to be seen to be believed.

Anita Dunn, Go. Sit. Down. Anita Baker could do a better job.

C'mon, seriously. What WH focus group convened and decided it was a good idea to do this? It's a no-win situation, simply because singling out Fox News as being unfair and unbiased is only going to further legitimize them. Yes, Fox News' "straight reporting" is about as unbiased as a soccer Dad. Yes, Fox News' opinion guys are full of bile and would criticize Obama for hurting the pharmaceutical industry if he singlehandedly cured cancer tomorrow. It goes without saying that an overwhelming majority of the mentions of the word "Obama" on the channel are followed by a negative remark.

Uh, and to whom exactly is this new information? What exactly do you gain by dignifying such ignorant people with an official Administration stance?

Fox News is a juggernaut for one very simple reason: people on both sides of the political spectrum love agitation, more than they love information. The station does little to no real reporting. Even the stories it supposedly "breaks" (ie: Acorn) are little more than pickups from talk radio and blogs. The next time Fox News breaks a story will be the first. So why bother commenting on such nonsense?

Much as it pains me, by coming on a Sunday morning talk show and whining about this ignance, the Obama WH looks hella petty, and yes, like a bunch of crybabies. Grow a pair, Mrs. Dunn.

I've been saying it, and I'll continue to say it: for a campaign that was run with military-grade precision and professionalism, the Obama WH communications team is about as D-League as it gets. They're always reacting, rather than being proactive and dictating news cycles, something the Bush WH, for all its faults, was actually quite good at. This seems like the ultimate case of tit-for-tat, with the WH apparently forgetting that Fox News has a 24-7 megaphone which they'll use to play maligned victim, only increasing their ratings. I'd have preferred the WH fly above all the haters and just ignore this nonsense, because clearly there's no sound forward-thinking media strategy at 1600 Penn Ave.

From the deplorable Robert Gibbs, to the half-assed efforts of Bill Burton, the ultra-creepy Linda Douglass, and this Dunn clown, these folks wouldn't know the definition of "control the message" if they spent all day Googling it. They have proven this time after time, and until he cleans house and gets some real pros in there, hack "news" outfits like Fox will continue to distort and stay winning.

Question: Is the Obama WH clapping back at Fox News a good idea, or merely lowering ones standards and legitimizing ignorance? How should the WH better handle communications?

White House targets Fox as it goes after press critics [AP]

[1] The rates, nor the service are the best in the biz. They do have the best commercials, however.

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