Commander-in-Chief Rewind: Mishandling the News Media

By Eric Seidel, CEO
The Media Trainers

Are these really the same people who ran Barack Obama’s brilliant campaign? And is this president the same man who, as a candidate, talked about bringing an end to a politically polarized Nation’s Capitol?

It’s too difficult to refrain from commenting on this “war” between the White House and Fox News. You can tolerate such stupidity only so long. And it is stupid.

By declaring war on Fox, the administration serves the best interests of Fox. Now all the other networks, as well as other national and local media nationwide are talking about Fox. You can’t buy that kind of exposure. And where does any administration, Democrat or Republican, get the right to ordain which media are legitimate news organizations. Additionally, where does their chutzpah originate to tell other networks not to follow administration stories that Fox breaks.

Especially interesting about that suggestion is that it came right after senior editors at both the Washington Post and New York Times admitted they failed to follow up the two major Fox stories on green jobs czar Van Jones and ACORN. Apparently, those mea culpas alarmed administration insiders.

There are other stupid things about this White House campaign. Fox dominates the cable news ratings by better than 2 to 1. Yet senior advisor David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel fired shots on separate networks a couple of weeks ago. That followed the first volley from Obama communications director Anita Dunn. And then, Valerie Jarrett, one of the president’s closest associates and advisors, joined the fight on CNN (click on video below). Ironically, she chose the network that comes in 4th in a four network race and where the smallest audience was watching.

There’s been some conjecture that the White House picked this fight now in order to divert attention from other things, like health care reform. But, has this ill-conceived offensive actually backfired and validated Obama’s fiercest critics?

Instead of their ongoing boycott of Fox News, the president and his senior aides could get a lot more mileage by making themselves accessible to the number one cable network. Since Fox has the largest, most diverse audience, it simply makes much more sense to reach out to all those people instead of alienating them.
Some other observations. If the administration continues trying to divide and conquer…that is, convince other news media to ostracize Fox, it might just find itself arming a bigger army of defenders. After all, the others have to figure if today it’s Fox, tomorrow it might be us.
And, in the video below, CNN’s Campbell Brown asked Jarrett if she believes MSNBC, often accused of being an administration lackey network, also is biased. Jarrett evaded the question and then proceeded to make vague accusations that Fox has aired inaccurate, inflammatory stories. Brown, a veteran reporter formerly with NBC News, failed to press Jarrett on the MSNBC question, and did not ask for specifics on Jarrett’s claims against Fox. As a result, her timidity provided more evidence to CNN’s own critics that it, too, is “carrying water” for the president.

One thought on “Commander-in-Chief Rewind: Mishandling the News Media

  1. This is excellent glad you covered it. What are they thinking?? It seems arrogant and dumb. I do like that it’s shaking up all the other media outlets – to at least cover it and start to question the heavy handedness and control the white house is trying to obtain.

    More on this topic please! 🙂

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