Obama's War Against Fox News

If President Barack Obama’s television has a V-Chip it’s likely set to block Fox News rather than content unsuitable for family viewing.

Obama’s latest salvo against the “fair and balanced” network came courtesy of an interview in Rolling Stone magazine, a publication which afflicts the comfortable only when a Republican is lounging in the White House La-Z-Boy recliner.

“We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition—it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world.”

Watch Fox News … and the country will pay the price, says the Commander in Chief. Guess all that rhetoric during the presidential campaign about reaching across the aisle was hooey. Why reach for something that’s inherently “destructive?”

Cartoon courtesy of Brett Noel

Obama’s so-called “Golden Age” hearkens to a time when the media could hide the stories it wanted to hide, and Fox News didn’t exist to disrupt the narrative.

You almost can’t blame Obama for his Fox News obsession. Had he rose up the political ranks in another era, one sans a “No Spin Zone,” his approval ratings would be much higher. Imagine if those videos of New Black Panther members harassing voters never hit the 24/7 news cycle? Picture a media landscape without Sean Hannity pouncing on every presidential gaffe? The public might not know who Van Jones was, or why ACORN matters.

If you needed any more proof that the media leans left just ask yourself why more reporters don’t ask Obama his thoughts on MSNBC’s liberal lineup? Does he feel the same way about that network and its constant attacks on his predecessor as he does toward Fox News? If not, why not?

Elsewhere in the interview Obama reminds us, as if it were necessary, of how the 1st Amendment allows voices like Fox News to be heard. It’s not as if he hasn’t tried to directly damage the network. His lackeys kept key White House figures from speaking to Fox News reporters shortly after he assumed office. Amazingly, other news outlets cried foul and the brief embargo evaporated like so many of Obama’s campaign promises.

The President’s reputation for having a thin skin is well earned. In less than two years in office he’s singled out Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News for derision simply because they dared to critique him.

Did President George W. Bush ever talk trash about Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann or any other high profile critic? Bush could have spent his entire eight years in office rebutting their brazen attacks if he so desired. He had the material.

Obama’s sniping hardly bespeaks presidential gravitas. Every President has his critics, from the clowns at “Saturday Night Live” to the pundits du jour.

One of many inaccurate media memes posits Obama as cool and cerebral—even Spock like. Obama is simply too smart, and too level headed, to let the problems stacking up on his desk wreck his mood. Yet mention Beck and our own Mr. Spock transforms into the combustible Dr. McCoy.

Obama’s Rolling Stone rant is part of a series of calculated attacks meant to marginalize a news outlet that dares to challenge his positions. Sometimes he lets his underlings, like David Axelrod or Anita Dunn, get their hands messy with anti-Fox News slams. But he doesn’t mind doing the dirty work himself, too.

The President’s petulance over Fox News might be due to how the channel goes about its business. Fox News long ago recognized the liberal media bent and saw an opportunity to deliver a different brand of reportage. That’s the free market in action, and to hear Obama describe it in Rolling Stone sounds like he’s none too happy about it

“But as an economic enterprise, [Fox News has] been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask [Fox News owner Roger] Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.”

Perhaps if Obama studied some of the reasons why people tune in to Fox News in overwhelming numbers he might win back a few independent voters.

The President of the United States enjoys the biggest bully pulpit in the world. And he routinely uses it to bully the one media outlet that doesn‘t say “How high?” when he asks it to jump.