Obama aides take on Fox News TV

Fox News logo and Right: US President Barack Obama

In the midst of a review of America’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy in the war against terror, President Barack Obama has opened a new front of a different kind targeting Fox News TV channel owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch.

On Sunday, two of Barack Obama’s top aides took shots at Fox in a CNN programme. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it was “not a news organisation,” and the president’s top strategist, David Axelrod, said it was “not really a news station.”
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has called Fox “an arm of the Republican party”.

The raging war of words with political and media commentators weighing in was set off by President Obama himself saying that there is “one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration.”

The trigger for the stand-off seems to have been in late September, when Obama appeared on every Sunday morning talk show except for Chris Wallace’s show on Fox News, effectively snubbing the network.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, added fuel to the fire on Tuesday. Asked whether Axelrod should have described the Fox network as one that is not really a news organisation, Gibbs said: “We render opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness of their coverage.”

Asked for clarification in terms of distinguishing the network’s coverage from other cable channels, Gibbs singled out the specific programming slots featuring Glen Beck and Sean Hannity, both vocal critics of the administration saying: “You and I should watch sometime around 9 tonight or 5 this afternoon.”

The New York Times columnist Kate Phillips wondered “whether the administration’s war-room strategy against Fox — giving rare interviews, writing blog posts attacking its claims about the president’s policies — represents the smartest approach.”

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