While top members of the Obama Administration continue to question the veracity of the programming on Fox News, the “Fair and Balanced” network is finding support among top media figures and even rival networks.
On Tuesday, ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper pressed White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on the issue. At a press conference, Tapper referred to FNC as “one of our sister organizations” and asked Gibbs to explain “why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one.” This prompt yielded the following exchange, which Tapper posted on his ABC blog…
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say
Gibbs: ABC –
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 oclock tonight. Or 5 oclock this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization”–why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.
This type of questioning has been echoed throughout the days following Anita Dunn‘s now-infamous appearance on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” Harold Ford, Jr., a political analyst for MSNBC and the chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council stated on “Morning Joe” last week, “I think it’s unfair to say that the president won’t find his way to that forum.” He continued, “You do yourself a little bit of a disservice if you’re unwilling to take your message to every forum and every audience.”
Even Helen Thomas, the Grande Dame of the White House press has come out to criticize the move. In an interview with The Hill this week, Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, said the White House needs to “stay out of these fights.” She went on to warn, “They can only take you down. You can’t kill the messenger.”