Friday, October 23, 2009

Let Censorship Begin! (or not...)

In case you have missed any of the thrilling saga of the White House trying to burn the 1st Amendment of the constitution he is a quick recap of Obama's foray into press censorship via the White House War on Fox News:

The war began when White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that Fox News is "opinion journalism masquerading as news." And “Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party, 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.'' Now this is the same Anita Dunn that just a few weeks ago admitted that during the campaign the Obama team "controlled" the press. And it is the same Anita Dunn who recently told a gymnasium of high schoolers that her most admired political philosopher is none other than Chairman Mao.

And not to outdone by his coworker, on THIS WEEK with George Stephenopoulos (an ABC show) White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod said "Fox is not really a news organization."

Following the rather shocking declaration by two very senior administration officials, ABC wanted to get a clear answer from the mouthpiece of the white house, and what happened was this exchange between Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary and ABC reporter Jake Tapper

Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

Then to cap all of this off, yesterday the White House offered interviews to the White House pool (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and FOX) of the new White House 'pay czar'. Except that when they offered that interview they said FOX couldn't participate.

Now I am assuming that the Obama team made a calculated decision that this was their shot to finally knock Fox News out of the White House Reporting pool. What they didn't anticipate was the backlash from the other four members of the pool. Upon hearing that the interview of the new 'pay czar' would not be allowed to Fox News, the DC bureau chiefs of ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN said they would not participate in any pool activities that the entire pool wasn't invited too participate in.

What has transpired over the last few weeks has been an all out war not just on Fox News, but on the opposition to political ideas. And it hasn't been going very well. The simple fact of the matter is that Fox News, like CNN and MSNBC has opinion programming as well as News. Shepard Smith reports facts and happenings, Glenn Beck offers his opinion on those facts.

If the White House gets a clean pass to censor who gets to report the news, it wont be very long until the White House censor's what news is reported by the select group they allow into the briefing room. And good for the other four members of the pool for taking a stand against the administration.

If the American public and the American FREE press doesn't keep vigilante on this issue, it won't be just Fox News that is kicked out of the White House. Next CNN will say something disagreeable to Obama and get the boot, then CBS, ABC or NBC and eventually they could all be replaced by Pravda.

So don't just look at this "war against Fox News" as an attack on Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, it has much graver consequences than talk radio hosts.

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