Congress Responds to White House Stance on Fox News

By Andrew Gauthier 


Anita Dunn caught a lot of flak this week for her denouncement of Fox News as “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” In an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Dunn told Howard Kurtz that the White House would “treat them the way we would treat an opponent.” This week, members of congress weighed in on the matter to J. Taylor Rushing and Jared Allen, two writers for The Hill.

Many Democrats were sympathetic to Obama’s stance on Fox News. “The point is this, and it really needs to be made: Fox is not just another television network,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), a close Obama ally. “Fox has become the official/semi-official voice for the Republican Party, in opposition to the president. And I think calling them out is the only way to delegitimize them as political propaganda.”

“Since we’ve gone into the majority, we’ve been dealing with Fox’s misinformation,” another Democratic aide said. “We’ve got to be out there… We can’t let them have the air all to themselves.”

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) had a different take. “I don’t remember a president so directly taking on a large news media,” he said. “For a sitting president of the United States to take on a network that millions of Americans watch every day–that’s a risky step.”

Fox looks to be having its best ratings year ever. “Maybe they don’t get it exactly right as far as the administration is concerned, but you look at their viewership – they must be doing something right,” said Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.).

TIME’s TV critic James Poniewozik takes a practical stance. “If there’s one thing nearly everyone agrees on, it’s that conflicts like this only drive Fox’s ratings up,” he writes. “So what does Obama hope to get out of this conflict?” More…