Much ado is being made about the supposed “war” between the Obama White House and FOX News. As the New York Times reports:
Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.
“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”
Her comments are only the latest in the volatile exchange between the administration and the top-rated network…
While some appear concerned that the White House feud with FOX News raises First Amendment concerns, we at the Center for Competitive Politics are not among them. Frosty relationships between administrations and the media are nothing new, as Thomas Jefferson’s quote that “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers” attests. And who can forget ex-Vice President Spiro Agnew and his comment about the “nattering nabobs of negativism?”
What is of interest to CCP, however, is that the controversy has seemingly given new life, or at least a fresh story to attach itself to, to the claim that FOX News successfully went to court in order to get a ruling explicitly protecting a First Amendment right to “lie” in its programming. The story is often used to support demands for censorship of the airwaves under the guise of the so-called “fairness doctrine,” along with calls to extend it to cable among those who understand that FOX News is a cable news outlet.