Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 20, 2009

MARCUS MUST HAVE MISSED IT.... Now that the White House is describing the Republican cable news network as a Republican cable news network, the media establishment is starting to register its disapproval. The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus seemed especially disgusted that the obviously-partisan Fox News was being called out for making a mockery of American journalism, calling the White House's recent remarks "dumb," "childish," "petty," "Nixonian," and "self defeating."

But this was the part of Marcus' criticism that stood out:

Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault. Imagine the outcry if the Bush administration had pulled a similar hissy fit with MSNBC.

It's funny she should put it that way. Marcus may have missed it, but the Bush administration did go after NBC News quite a bit.

Marcus must have forgotten, for example, when a top White House advisor to President Bush targeted NBC in May 2008, accusing the network of deceptive editing and blurring the lines between "news" and "opinion." Officials from the Bush team, around that time, began treating NBC and MSNBC as political opponents.

The president's press secretary at the time proceeded to complain about NBC from behind the White House podium, saying that staffers had grown "fed up" with the network's coverage, and that frustration among the president's aides "reached a boiling point" and "boiled over." Dana Perino's remarks, ironically enough, came in response to a pointed question from a Fox News correspondent.

Two things to remember here. One, the complaints about NBC News were baseless, especially as compared to Fox News literally reading Republican Party talking points on the air and passing them off as legitimate political journalism.

And two, when the Bush gang did go after NBC News, there were precious few observers blasting the Bush White House as "dumb," "childish," "petty," "Nixonian," and "self defeating."

"Imagine the outcry if the Bush administration had pulled a similar hissy fit with MSNBC." Yes, imagine it.

Update: Media Matters also responds to Marcus. After noting two dozen examples -- from just this month -- of Fox News breaking from the standards of professional journalism, the piece concludes, "Can any serious journalist look at that record and claim that it's the White House that ought to change its behavior?"

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Well good luck to the Whitehouse, they have pricked the journalists where it hurts: their sense of superiority.

Posted by: MNPundit on October 20, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Can any serious journalist look at that record and claim that it's the White House that ought to change its behavior?"

Uh...no. So, can we start counting serious journalists now? How many will there be?

Posted by: Harlow Wilcox on October 20, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

i think the white house press corps should wear little buttons until the white house apologizes: "We are all Fox News"

... or maybe they should just wear the buttons FOREVER -- arrogant corporate assholes...

Posted by: neill on October 20, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

If most of the voices in the mainstream media were serious journalists, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Posted by: qwerty on October 20, 2009 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Marcus is just a Professional Journalist™ -- she has no more ability to research these things than to pay attention as they occur, and anyway Professional Journalists™ have no recollection of history prior to a week ago Thursday, and since the Post has neither editors nor back issues, Marcus would have had no one to advise her and no way to check anyhow.

More to be pitied, IOW.

Posted by: Ghost of Joe Liebling's Dog on October 20, 2009 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

The "villager" tag can get tiresome but here it really fits. If a conservative took a dump on her living room rug and a liberal said it stinks, Marcus would get outraged at the latter for noticing the smell.

Posted by: angler on October 20, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen a "Professional Journalist™ " have such a hissy fit since a BLOGGER was given press credentials. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 20, 2009 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Officials from the Bush team, around that time, began treating NBC and MSNBC as political opponents.

The Bush Administration also treated Faux News as political allies, sending officials like Cheney on time and again when they wanted to ensure their talking points would receive a sympathetic ear -- and for eight fscking years.

Maybe Marcus missed all that, too. Either she's that colossally ignorant, too stupid to have figured out the pattern, or too dishonest to recognize the bias that discreits her profession and renders her criticisms laughable.

What a tool.

Posted by: Gregory on October 20, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

It was hilarious to watch Pat Buchanan -- the same Buchanan who made his bones supplying Spiro Agnew with the rhetorical thunderbolks the former Vice President hurdled down upon the "liberal" press back during the the Nixon administration's national crusade against the press -- criticize the Obama White House for taking on the conservataive media. But in fairness, I think you could tell from the sheepish grin on Buchanan's face that he recognized what a hypocrite he was being.

And as for right wing charge that Obama is setting up his own Nixonian "enemies list" with these recent attacks against FOX, let's get real. The Nixon "enemies list" was called an enemies list because he really did treat the media like enemies. He had targeted reporters phones tapped and sendt out the IRS to harrass others with audits. Obama saying that FOX isn't a legitimate news organization but the propaganda wing of the GOP instead isn't even in the same league. And the fact that FOX pretends that it is just shows how much of a propaganda outfit it really is.

Posted by: Ted Frier on October 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

The only journalists of note are the writers for Jon Stewart and SNL. And that's no joke. The teleprompter crowd for Marcus and her ilk should follow Steve's blog at a minimum to avoid giving their bosses serious foot-in-mouth disease. Assuming, of course, network 'news' suits even give a shit any more. Or that their corporate handlers would even tolerate serious reporting. Network TeeVee today is 24x7 entertainment and advertising and promotes obesity and stupidity.

Posted by: Chopin on October 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Darn all those inconvenient facts!

Posted by: a different phil on October 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

All of this won't mean squat once the MSM decides, and they will soon, to defend FOX. They'll all pretend to be outraged by the fact that their corporate colleagues have been singled-out by those nasty liberals in the Obama regime. Count on it happening very very soon. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on October 20, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure I've discovered the reason for our national malady of short attention span and brain seepage disallowing anything to be remembered for more than 15 seconds! It's ALIENS (not the illegal Mexican ones - the "from outer space ones")they've done a mass hypnosis on all citizens of the world (mostly 'merica)...Quick, alert Glenn Beck so he can get it on tonight's show...especially after his brilliant screed against Obama inspired VOLUNTEERISM...Yegods, what are we coming to????

Posted by: Dancer on October 20, 2009 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

AND, while we're at it, you didn't seriously believe that ALL MSM wouldn't close ranks and eventually defend FAUX NEWS because they might be next to be called out for their feckless attention to providing the actual factual news necessary to inform the electorate, did ya? That is WHY there is never a debate/discussion on the demise of media as we once knew it and still need it.

Posted by: Dancer on October 20, 2009 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

2 words : Tony Snow

Posted by: apeman on October 20, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

And it's no accident that Ms. Marcus writes for WaPo, which itself has become Foxnewsified.

Posted by: sjw on October 20, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I thought the media would support Obama on this because:
- simple competition
- annoyance at having to compete with a glorified AM radio station
- smug sense of superiority at being "teh real news channel.

Posted by: inkadu on October 20, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

The talking point that MSNBC is partisan and therefore should be treated the same way is the one coming out of Kaplan Review Daily. This guy was on [Un]reliable Source with Mr. Howie Kurtz on Sunday.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/zontv/2009/10/white_house_fox_news_attack_em.html

I have had e-mail conversations with him and when he said "I vouch for Howard Kurtz' integrity" I knew that he was a lost cause.

Posted by: DBaker on October 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Declaring war on a media outlet like this takes some brass cojones and a plan. I find it hard to believe that a team as media savvy as Obama's took this road out of petulance or a hissy fit. Rather, I'm thinking it was a coldly calculated move to send the people at Fox News over the brink even further than they are. Exposing the entire outfit as unstable will drive off those middle of the road swing voters who have been lulled into actually believing that "Fair and Balanced" crap.

My take is that the Obama admin is poking them with a stick to make them lose their cool -- just like they did with McCain....

Posted by: Art Eclectic on October 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

MSNBC is not analogous to FOX News. MSNBC has conservative and liberal commentators. Their the closest to balanced any network comes. There exists no analogue for FOX News in the corporate media landscape.

Posted by: doubtful on October 20, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

"If most of the voices in the mainstream media were serious journalists, we wouldn't be having this discussion." - Posted by: qwerty at 10:29AM

THAT, my friends, is the story getting missed.

US Media (no, FoxNews is not a Media outlet), ya, I'm talking to YOU, do your frickin' JOB to keep Fox from using your inability to do your job as an excuse for all of the lying that they do. The 'false parity' excuses. Not to mention gaining your journalistic integrity back. It might be something that, in the end, is worth sacrificing ratings or money or whatever poor justification for your inexcusable behavior.

Here's something ground breaking: A credible news organization that doesn't have to tell you how much they are trusted or how fair and balanced they are or whatever.

Posted by: QuestionEverything on October 20, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Reading the comments thread to that article, there is a ton of projection going on. The Obama Administration didn't declare war on FNN, didn't say it would never appear on FNN, and isn't spending a lot of time and energy in mounting any campaign against FNN.

All they did was state their view that FNN was an appendage of the GOP and that they would treat them as such during any future encounters. That means future engagements would be considered as adversarial debates, not interviews providing information for the public's benefit.

The administration suffers no loss from this statement of policy, as the 20% of voters who watch FNN aren't interested in their views anyway.

Posted by: bdop4 on October 20, 2009 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I've yet to hear or read anything of substance issue from Marcus.

Posted by: rbe1 on October 20, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

There is precedent in the Post for Marcus' ignorant "imagine if". When George Soros came forward with large sums of money to campaign against Bush, the Post editorialized, "Imagine if Richard Mellon Scaife did that from the right" -- a statement so disconnected from reality my head nearly exploded.

It has come to the point there are only two possibilities re: the Post -- either they're completely dishonest propagandists, or most of the people who work there are beyond stupid.

Posted by: demtom on October 20, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Don't blame poor Ruth Marcus, she had to work hard to pass the IQ test low enough to be hired to work at the Washington Pest.

As with most major newspapers, the Pest is owned by conservative interests, a corporation that wants its point of view pushed, relentlessly. In a shrinking job market, one either becomes a proper shill for the corporation, or finds oneself unemployed.

The Washington Pest: Nixon would still be President-for-Eternity if Fred Hiatt had been in charge back then.

Posted by: TCinLA on October 20, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Further proof that the wingnuts really do live in alternative reality - this post over at Marcus' blog (misspellings by the author):

No, Obama can never obtain victory in a fight with Fox. Thats becaue he is fighting truth and justice. Truth will always win. Honesty, self-respect, self-reliance, respect for individual liberty - these are the corner stones that Fox and the American people stand for. Despotism, even if disguised, has no chance to prevail.

Go over and read the comments there, and you will see just how dingy the dingbats are.

Posted by: TCinLA on October 20, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ruth Marcus knows better but she her head so far up the anus of Fred Hiatt that her brain is out of touch with reality!

Posted by: Tom on October 20, 2009 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Duplicitous hypocrisy.

"Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupity" MLK, Jr.

Kinda describes FAUX and Marcus doesn't it?

Posted by: Pat on October 20, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

As a poster hints at above and what I have often said, Nixon would not have resigned if he had the current crop of media players, and particularly the right wing echo chamber on radio.

Posted by: Burghman on October 20, 2009 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

John Emerson (the blogger formerly known as Zizka) has been pushing a point for some years that never seems to get through to you all. Reporters like Marcus are not incompetent or lazy; they are doing what their bosses want them to do. The WaPo doesn't defend Fox News because its editors are unaware of what Fox News is or does; they defend it because they are all part of the same corporate protection racket.

Stop imagining that we are up against a conspiracy of ignorance. These people are not that dumb. They couldn't be.

Posted by: jimBOB on October 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, Jimbob.

The consolidation of media in the US has resulted in the big money players controlling the flow of information. The "liberal" media and its corporate owners actually benefit from being labeled as such because it allows them to give the "other side" of the argument under the guise of fairness. And, as we've seen, far too much attention is given to those without any factual basis for their claims.

Too many people buy into this "liberal media" nonsense as if there are "two truths or sides to each debate"

Posted by: Burghman on October 20, 2009 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"i think the white house press corps should wear little buttons until the white house apologizes: 'We are all Fox News'"

Best Comment of the Day

Posted by: leo on October 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Marcus' column really misses the mark.

To suggest that the Obama Administration should not want to get into a war with Fox News ignores the fact that this war already exists. Could Fox News be any more biased than it currently is?

There is a clear strategic goal in making this issue public. The Administration hopefully has created a media topic about Fox's lack of objectivity--the story will now be about Fox. This sesms to me to only have upside for Obama. At best, it puts Fox on the defensive and persuades it to clean up its act somewhat. That may be not be realistic, but at worst it brings attention to Fox's bias and it will get the blowhards Fox puts on the air to start talking more about Fox itself. In addition, for those who haven't paid much attention to politics and may not be particularly aware of Fox's bias, it calls into question Fox's credibility.

This also has the benefit of allowing the President to maintain his bi-partisan posture by attacking the Republic surrogate rather than Republicans directly.

All in all, I think this is a very useful fight for the President.

Posted by: DRF on October 20, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

To suggest that the Obama Administration should not want to get into a war with Fox News ignores the fact that this war already exists.

And, typical of Villager thinking, the outrage is that a Democrat fights back.

Posted by: Gregory on October 20, 2009 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the Bush White House went after the media all the time, though never the sycophants at Fox "News". Don't forget poor old Dan Rather. He was the face of CBS news until that paperwork showing Bush dodged his service in the military showed up. Dan Rather reported on it and the next thing we know he's no longer the face of CBS News. Didn't we later find out that that paperwork had been manufactured by Cheney in an effort to discredit Rather?

How is it that anyone is up in arms about Fox finally being called out about their partisan behavior? It's a bit like being upset that the king has been told he's wearing no clothes, don't ya think?

Posted by: Limbaugh's Diabetes on October 20, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Either she's that colossally ignorant, too stupid to have figured out the pattern, or too dishonest to recognize the bias that discreits her profession and renders her criticisms laughable."

No, she is both.

It's been so long since the MSM really covered the "news", and so long since they began mixing their instituional biases and opinions into the "news", that they just can't get over themselves.

Posted by: robert on October 20, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." Wise words, even if they were spoken by a Philadelphian. But nowadays ink is headed towards extinction, like the cuneiform tablet. Obama's genius was in reaching past the Traditional Media (and their handpicked candidate, John McCain) and embracing the internet, the New Media.

Post-Nixon, the GOP elite have been more than successful in co-opting the Traditional Media. They are the chief enablers of the neocon/theocon right, and calling out FOX is merely the first step. I pray they continue.

Posted by: Yinzer on October 20, 2009 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Fox News has opinion shows like Glen Beck they are not news they are opinion. Like SNL is comedy not news so no need to fact check. Their news is very balanced. The white house would be justified if Anita Dunn had not said that this admin controls what is said about policy to the media and doesn't answer the questions why or how. In basic journalism that was one of the basic questions. They will need to take that out of that class for the socialist news media. Just ask what and write it just like he says it or else.

Posted by: michael on October 20, 2009 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yes ... SNL's news is very balanced -- they have funny jokes, and unfunny jokes.

You were referring to SNL and not Fox "News", right? If not, you either dangled your modifier, or are clinically stupid (because, honestly, only the brain dead could consider anything on Fox to be "very balanced).

Posted by: Mark D on October 20, 2009 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

They will need to take that out of that class for the socialist news media.

What "socialist news media"?! The media are owned by large corporations, dipshit.

Posted by: Gregory on October 20, 2009 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

All you clowns need to get it correct once in a while. My investigation reveals that Beck gets it accurate. As to the news worthiness, tha'ts another issue. Last I heard Beck is an entertainment show, not a news show.

The real problem is the main-stream media has become brain dead, so the entertainment show closes in on news.

Get it right people.

Posted by: rob smith on October 22, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly