What is the White House’s Fox News End Game?

Rory Cooper /

It has been an interesting and puzzling couple weeks watching the White House communications office at work. First, on October 11, Anita Dunn publicly rebuked Fox News on Howard Kurtz’ CNN show calling it the “research arm of the Republican Party.” Then, we learned Ms. Dunn counted Mao Zedong as a “favorite philosopher” and it seemed like a score was settled and everyone would move on. But the White House stepped up their attack on Fox News last Sunday by sending Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor David Axelrod on the morning shows to continue this confusing line of attack, that Fox News is not a “legitimate news organization” by White House standards. And even worse, President Obama then joined the fight.

This week, President Obama said Fox News was “operating basically like talk radio.” Missing that millions of Americans listen to and trust “talk radio,” this was meant as another jab at Fox’s credibility. Jake Tapper of ABC News courageously questioned Robert Gibbs on the White House anti-Fox policy. And now yesterday, the White House decided to try and ban Fox News from a briefing with Obama’s Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg. Entering into potentially unconstitutional territory, the White House press office did not expect what came next. The White House press corp united against this behavior and demanded Fox is included, or nobody goes.  The White House relented. So the question today is, what is the White House end game here? (more…)