The White House’s recent attacks on FOX News are a good indicator of just how far off message the Obama administration has strayed. It speaks volumes to the level of hypocrisy rampant in the administration that this president, who never misses a chance to get in front of a microphone or camera, has the nerve to complain about the tone of news coverage on FOX. Obama wants other media outlets to ignore FOX and has unleashed his henchmen to paint the entire network with a broad partisan brush.
Liberals, who are usually among the first to speak up for freedom of speech and the press, should be ashamed of Obama’s actions as well as their own. Where is the self-righteous indignation that liberals felt when they asserted that George Bush was playing favorites by inviting conservative pundits to the White House and shutting out liberal acolytes? Is this some sort of leftist payback in their clouded minds?
We either have freedom of the press or we do not. There is very little middle ground. President Obama’s team likes to claim that FOX is a “research arm” of the Republican party. The real reason the White House is seeking to demonize FOX is because their big government, deficit exploding, economic non-stimulus agenda is failing. It is failing in the polls and it’s failing in reality.
Consider in the nine months Obama has been in office he has accomplished very little. A stimulus package was passed that has produced 33,000 jobs at a cost of almost $500,000 per job. Meanwhile, nearly 7 million jobs have been lost. Health care legislation is such a mess now that whatever finally comes out of Congress is going to look nothing like Obama promised during the campaign. Obama has gone on a world apology tour that won him the Peace Prize from a bunch of European leftists who loved the fact that he has told the world the United States is to blame for much of the world’s problems. Cap and trade is a multi-trillion dollar boondoggle that has the potential to make the healthcare fight look like a yo momma war of words between a bunch of third graders.
Guantanamo is not going to close in one year as Obama promised. The war in Afghanistan is a debacle with a wishy washy president who will not commit the resources needed to win it. I almost forgot…unemployment is nearly 10%, a full 2% higher than the administration said it would go if we passed the stimulus and now they are saying the rest of the money is not likely to have much effect.
With a record like that, Obama needs a “win.” He needs an opponent that can be demonized, marginalized, isolated and destroyed…all right out of the Rules for Radicals playbook. Enter FOX news. They are an easy target because a large part of Obama’s base hates Fox and everything associated with it. The question becomes what does a “win” look like for Obama?
Fox news is easily the number one cable news network out there. In a recent ratings report, it had the top 11 shows on cable news and 13 of the top 14. It is absolutely killing CNN, MSNBC and HLN in virtually every time slot and demographic. Ratings have spiked even higher since the White House has decided to take on Fox. Their profits have to be going through the roof.
Obama must realize that FOX is enormously popular. The president’s need for attention and adulation is only dwarfed by the size of his ego. The idea that a major segment of America watches Fox and thus rejects Obama and his policies has to be absolutely irritating the hell out of the president. He is the one who is supposed to be in the limelight. This is Obama’s moment in the sun, his chance to make history and here comes this upstart network trying to steal his thunder so he picks a fight with them.
For Obama to win this fight, FOX has to be thoroughly discredited. The network has to be seen as pure propaganda and thus eventually lose some of its appeal to the right of center people watching it. It must fall behind MSNBC, CNN and HLN in the ratings for Obama to declare an end to the era of Fox. None of this is likely to happen anytime soon.
The more likely course of events is that Obama and his cronies will continue to attack FOX. FOX will continue to see its ratings climb and will gain even more influence in the discussion of politics in America. The president will continue to look like a cry baby. The public will continue to see through Obama’s attacks as an attempt to divert attention from the real issues facing America. The 2010 elections will see a shift in power in the House and Senate as the GOP makes major inroads in both bodies. With any luck, Obama will have overplayed his hand and underestimated the influence and power of the forces against him and lose his re-election bid in 2012.
Picking fights with members of the media is usually suicide for politicians. Ask Gary Hart. Ask Richard Nixon. You could even ask John McCain. We have a long history of freedom of the press and if you are in office that means you are going to have to accept the fact that many members of the media are not going to fawn all over you. Obama had better learn this lesson fast but it seems unlikely that he will. His honeymoon with the press is over and not just with FOX either. We can only hope he keeps repeating his same mistakes and becomes yet another failed one term president.