The other signs were just arrogance and pomposity, but to wage a war against freedom of speech in an attempt to silence the media is a dangerous step -- and one that I welcome. Bring it on....
The White House’s War Against Fox News
The widely reported ban on Fox only makes the Obama administration look fearful, weak, and ready only to talk with those who agree with their agenda.
by Ron Radosh, October 13, 2009
No wonder the Obama administration has decided to single out Fox News as its major opponent, and to wage war against it. Almost everyone acknowledges that with its signal slogan, “We Report: You Decide,” the network in fact leans towards the conservative side, particularly when it comes to its array of on the air pundits and commentators. But what particularly must rankle the White House is that Fox’s ratings are growing daily, and at present during Obama’s first year in office, are the highest it has ever achieved.
I have addressed this question earlier, in a blog in which I paid special attention to the forced resignation of Van Jones and to the expose of ACORN’s wrongdoings. Fox News was also the only network to consistently play the videos prepared by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, which quickly became so popular that not only did the other media outlets have to treat it as a legitimate news story- which it was- but was also taken up by the nation’s most popular comic talent, from Jay Leno to Jon Stewart.
To any observer, it is clear that if Fox is the conservative’s station of choice, MSNBC is the darling of those on the side of liberals and the far Left. Why else do these viewers regularly watch Maddow and Keith Olbermann? Is what they do any different from what Beck, O’Reilly and Hannity do? Of course, MSNBC has its balanced “Morning Joe” with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. But Fox News also has its equivalent on its top rated Sunday program, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. And the 6 pm “Special Report with Bret Baier” has its daily panel, that regularly includes mainstream liberal pundits Juan Williams and NPR’s Mara Liasson.
And yet, the administration has sought to only make war against Fox, and will not allow its people to be on any of their shows, even those widely acclaimed as fair-minded. As Anita Dunn, the White House communications director said, “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent. 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.”
Given that position, it is no wonder people are worrying that an appointee to the FCC, Mark Lloyd, who has previously expressed his admiration both for Hugo Chavez and his revolution’s war against all media opposed to him, might be seeking to find ways to do the same thing to our TV and news sources via the tactic that they are only trying to enforce “diversity.” Indeed, as Fox accurately reported, Lloyd himself made his goal clear in a 2007 report about the “structural imbalance” of talk radio.
And in a public and videotaped panel in 2008, Lloyd called Hugo Chavez’s government the result of “really an incredible revolution…a democratic revolution.” As a result of his triumph, Lloyd argued that “the property owners and the folks who were then controlling the media rebelled,” with the result that Chavez and his cadre had to move and close their media outlets down. Then he said the US sought to oust him, but Chavez came back stronger than ever, “and had another revolution,” and then “started to take the media very seriously in his country.” Viewing Chavez’s totalitarian actions favorably, Lloyd implied that opponents of the right-wing media should do the same here.
Lloyd also said that the “fairness doctrine” isn’t enough, that we need new “structural rules” to put teeth into it, and that “good white people in important positions” should “step down so someone else can have power.” Is it important that a man who now is Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer of the FCC has these views, and that the public get to hear about them?
How do I know this? I admit it freely. The man who made this public, from research that anyone could have conducted, was Glenn Beck. Does this mean I agree with everything Beck says, or give credence to his often hysterical conspiracy theories and his endless and breathless monologues? Does it mean I agree with this support of Ron Paul’s ideas or those of the extremist Bircher, the late Cleon Skousen? Of course not. But give the man credit. He alone has made us aware that this appointment was made. So far others have not picked up on Lloyd, and perhaps in his new office, Lloyd will abandon trying to put his proclaimed views into actual policy. But as citizens, we have a right to watch and see what he is doing, and if he makes moves that jeopardize a free media, respond by demanding that he too step down.
Naturally, the administration that appointed people like Jones and Lloyd must not be happy to see that Fox commentators are exploring the backgrounds of appointees who have hitherto been under the radar. Recently, Beck turned his attention to an equally little known Marxist scholar, Robert McChesney, who created the media watch group “Free Press,” who has explained his point of view in the following way: “Instead of waiting for the revolution to happen, we learned that unless you make significant changes in the media, it will be vastly more difficult to have a revolution. While the media is not the single most important issue in the world, it is one of the core issues that any successful Left project needs to integrate into its strategic program.” According to Beck, on a recent program, McChesney and his group met with the FCC commissioners at the White House, to advise them on programs to adopt to help enforce so-called “internet neutrality.”
I have no idea whether the assertion Beck made is accurate. But shouldn’t some media outlet and reporters investigate this, and see whether some in the Obama administration are asking in extreme far left Marxists to advise them on how to better mold the media and prevent the free expression of opposition ideas? If it turns out not to be true, wouldn’t that put a stop to some of the charges Beck is making, and that so enrage many liberals?
Rather than do that, it is clear the administration prefers to try and isolate Fox News by emulating Richard M. Nixon’s strategy of informing his people to blackball The New York Times, or to develop an “enemies list” of media people opposed to his policies and administration. Back then, liberals saw Nixon’s attempts as a gross interference with freedom of the press, and for many in the media, Nixon’s citation of some of them became a badge of honor to proudly wear.
Will a time come when the White House decision not to allow any administration spokesman to be on Fox News in 2009 backfire? Does Barack Obama, the great orator, really think if he appears for an interview with Chris Wallace- a seasoned and respected broadcaster- that he will not be able to handle Wallace’s questions, or that he will not be able to persuade any of Fox’s viewers that he, and not they, is right about the issues?
So far, in the White House battle with Fox News, it is Fox that has won. Their widely reported ban on Fox has been reported everywhere, and it makes the White House look fearful, weak, and ready only to talk with those who are more likely to agree with their agenda. Is this the change America wanted when it elected Barack Obama as President?
Ronald Radosh is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at The Hudson Institute, and a Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York. He is the author or co-author of 14 books.