JudicialWatch.org, a conservative, non-partisan foundation which seeks accountability in government, has obtained emails going back to the Fall of 2009, when the Obama White House was in a battle with Fox News Channel. At issue: whether the Obama White House had excluded Fox News from interviews with Obama Administration officials.
One email, dated Oct. 23, 2009 went like this:
“I’m putting some dead fish in the fox cubby — just cause.”
That was from Jennifer Psaki, Deputy White House Communications Director to Jenni LeCompte, then-Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the Treasury Department.
In another email the day before, from Dag Vega, Director of Broadcast Media at the White House, to LeCompte, Vega informs LeCompte that “…we’d prefer if you skip Fox please.”
This goes against the administration’s position that it did not set out to exclude Fox News from getting access to Treasury official Kenneth Feinberg. That denial followed a decision by NBC News, ABC News, CBS News and CNN to stand together and refuse an interview with Feinberg if Fox News was going to be blocked.
The battle really began to intensify earlier that month, when then-White House Director of Communications Anita Dunn went on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” and criticized FNC calling it “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.”
The fight headed toward resolution on Oct. 28, when FNC SVP Michael Clemente met with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs at the White House. That same day, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The results of which — including these emails — were produced last week.
Seems like ancient history now, but during the final week of that month, the Fox News vs. the White House chronicle was the 5th most-reported story of the week.