Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Crybaby Administration and Fox News

Great piece on why the Obama White House anti-Fox strategy is completely wrong.

When (White House spokesman Anita) Dunn was asked whether the president refused to accept interview requests from Fox because the White House sees the network as "a wing of the Republican party," the communications director responded: "Is this why he did not appear? The answer is yes."

That is such a radically wrong response that it calls into question the whole communications strategy of an administration that has somehow managed to take a man who was elected with a mandate and lodge him in a corner where there are now serious questions about whether a Democratic president and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress can enact basic elements of the Democratic agenda.

Obama should sit down with Fox reporters and anchors and do interviews. That does not mean that the president has to put up with the emotional wreckage that is Glenn Beck. But there is no reason why he shouldn't go another round with Bill O'Reilly (as Obama did during the 2008 campaign) or sit down with Chris Wallace (as Bill Clinton did).

If the Fox interviewers are absurdly unfair, the American people will respond with appropriate consternation. On the other hand, if they are aggressive and pointed in their challenges, Obama will rise or fall on the quality of his responses. His aides, if they have any faith in their man's abilities, should bend over backwards to accept some Fox interviews. They should also accept an invite from PBS's Bill Moyers, who would pose tougher – and, yes, more informed -- questions than the Foxbots.

Barack Obama had a virtual coronation last November, and his administration seems to think the fawning coverage should continue, even as the POTUS flip-flops and lies and tramples on every promise he made to those who elected him. This is a White House which prides itself on its "new media" communications strategy, but it has forgotten that the new media isn't all that different from the old media. They will still ask tough questions and dig where presidents don't want them to. The only difference is the speed at which such results are posted.

If Barack Obama were smart--and not so egotistical--he'd do a few interviews with people like Bill O'Reilly and Chris Wallace, taking his lumps and working the audience. Fox News viewers, despite the stereotypes liberals want to foist on them, are not knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers. They are intelligent people interested in politics and current events. If President Obama wants to be the President of All of Us, he needs to accept the loyal opposition as legitimate and quite whining about it.