White House Director of Communications Anita Dunn took to Howie Kurtz’s Reliable Sources show on CNN this morning to elaborate on the new, more aggressive press strategy laid out by TIME magazine this week.
“The reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn said.
Dunn confirmed this was the reason Obama didn’t not include Fox in his Sunday media blitz a few weeks ago.
The nine minute interview looked at difference between Fox’s opinion shows, and its news coverage. Kurtz read, and Dunn responded to the statement to that affect, issued by Fox’s SVP of News Michael Clemente on Friday.
The administration is fine with Fox White House Correspondent Major Garrett but not with the network’s use of talking points, opposition research, and misleading chyrons.
Dunn also gave Kurtz homework to do on what Fox is not covering: “Did you see coverage of that (the Senator Ensign scandal) on Fox News? I’m not talking Glenn Beck, Sean, the Factor, I’m talking Fox News.” “I will have to check on that,” Kurtz responded.
UPDATE: Fox News SVP Michael Clemente issued the following response: “An increasing number of viewers are relying on FOX News for both news and opinion. And the average news consumer can certainly distinguish between the A-section of the newspaper and the editorial page, which is what our programming represents. So, with all due respect to anyone who might still be confused about the difference between news reporting and vibrant opinion, my suggestion would be to talk about the stories and the facts, rather than attack the messenger…which over time, has never worked.”
MORE: The NYTimes’ Brian Stelter has more on the White House – Fox News “volley.”