I'd like to know why the producers of This Week thought it was necessary to bring Laura Ingraham on the show to defend Fox News? She had about as much to add to the conversation as Michelle Malkin did not long ago. The rest of the Villagers did a pretty good job of circling the wagons around Fox whether the likes of Ingraham was there or not. Ingraham's hackery became even too much for the rest of them to take when she started comparing the White House's view of Fox to that of "Islamic Jihadists".
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now the president did cancel the subscription, George, but then he kind of blew it off. Is it time now as President Obama faces down FOX News down for a JFK moment?
WILL: I think so. Look, no president in the history of this republic has less reason to complain about his treatment in the press than President Obama. Liberals have academic, they have a mainstream media, they have Hollywood. They’re all for diversity and everything but thought. And out here is this one channel, FOX, and they’re all up in arms because in the words of Ms. Dunn of the White House, it is opinion journalism masquerading as news, which some of us would say describes the “New York Times” and certainly MSNBC.
PODESTA: Well, we have partners in journalism in America for a couple hundred years. But I think FOX takes it a little bit to a different level. I think Bill Shein, the vice president for news at FOX came out and said, “We are the opposition.” You know, that I think, can you imagine David Westin going out and saying something like that? Anybody, really in the mainstream news organization, they’re organizing. And I think it seems to me they were overcome with that feeling of joy you get from telling the truth once in a while. And probably they may actually even regret going as far as they have.
INGRAHAM: Well as the FOX representative on this show, by the way, you’re all going to be banned from any future White House events from having me at this table.
Bill Shein said that and I know him well. He said that, because he believes that of all the networks, FOX was going to hold the administration the most accountable. Last time I checked, I thought that was the role of the press. I think and again, I might not be invited back George, but when Charlie Gibson didn’t know what the ACORN story was all about, that was a collective gasp you heard across the United States. Charlie Gibson is an esteemed journalist, how do you not know a story about a group where President Obama cut his political teeth that had been exposed to the extent that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill were ready to pull the rug out from under them in their funding? That’s the kind of the story that the White House doesn’t want to have reported and repeated on other networks. That’s why they don’t like FOX News.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, Charlie has had an amazing career. Let’s set aside that moment. I do think one of the things the White House is trying to get at is something that you’re talking about, though. Al, it seems like they’re trying to actually influence the ref a little bit here.
One of the reasons they’re going after FOX News is because they don’t want people to -- or other news organizations to automatically assume because something is being pushed on FOX that it is automatically a legitimate news story. And they want everyone to think twice.
HUNT: They are going after reps, but that’s what all politicians do. I must say, I’m amused that Karl Rove is shocked, just shocked, that they would go after the press. And that’s a scene out of “Casablanca” really. But, on the other hand, I do agree with George. I wouldn’t want to get into an alley fight with Roger Ailes. He’s pretty good at bat and I’m not quite sure why this White House. If I were advising them and I’m not, I would tell them to call time-out.
TUCKER: Well, I have to agree with Al on that. The scandal for the Obama administration is not that they’re trying to manipulate the news media, but that they seem to be so clumsy at it. Every administration tires to manipulate the news media.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They have gotten pretty good press though.
TUCKER: They’ve gotten pretty good press. Clearly, they’re annoyed with FOX, particularly as Laura said, over some stories that have gone into the broader media.
TUCKER: But the Bush administration, for heaven sakes, gave taxpayer money to conservative columnists like Maggie Gallagher, to highlight, to speak favorably of Bush administration proposals.
So, if you want to manipulate the news media, that’s the way to do it.
INGRAHAM: The point here is that it looks desperate, it looks defensive. And it’s a no-win situation for the administration. I can tell you who’s smiling, Roger, Bill Shine, and all the rest of us who work for FOX News, because our ratings are going up, as this bunker mentality has set in at the White House. I think they must think it’s good for them. I don’t know why they would do it if they didn’t think it helped them with the left in the United States or frustrated by Afghanistan or other issues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think that’s probably part of it. I think it probably does make the liberals feel a little bit better, at least one fight is being taken on.
But, George, my guess is that before the end of the year, the White House will try to find a way, maybe not sign a peace treaty with FOX News, but I think you would probably imagine you’ll see President Obama back on Bill O’Reilly. And I think the other thing they’re trying to do is to draw a line between the opinion side of FOX News and the news side.
And actually in some ways, they have less trouble with the pure opinion, because they say we can take that on own its own terms and not treat them as news.
WILL: Sure, but, they also have to break the habit of trying to silence people who are not in journalism. The Chamber of Commerce there, trying to delegitimize. The -- Humana, the health provider that sent a message to its client that the White House didn’t like, and the White House then denounced it. The Chrysler bondholders were told to comply with this fake and fraudulent bankruptcy that they put Chrysler through, or else -- it wasn’t clear what else, but the threat was clear.
It was a kind of bullying aspect to this that is just unseemly.
PODESTA: Well, look, I think you take the example of the chamber. The chamber has opposed the administration on energy, on health care, et cetera. They’re going to push back. I don’t see that... WILL: Not on the stimulus.
PODESTA: ... I don’t see that -- I don’t see how whatever the White House is trying to silence the Chamber. They’re in a fight with them about the policy direction of the country. I noticed just -- it was just announced that Rahm Emanuel is going to speak to the chamber. I’m sure he’s going to give them a piece of his mind when he goes and does it. But that’s the normal give and take in Washington. And I don’t think that the administration has been excessive in any way about -- in those contexts.
INGRAHAM: I think a lot of people are saying if the administration had the same view of the way to treat other threats to the United States, whether economic threats or real threats, Islamic jihadists, and they’ll probably put FOX in that same category, then it would be OK. I mean, they’re so impassioned about FOX, meanwhile, it’s kind of like their even rhetoric about other threats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... around Islamic jihadists and...
INGRAHAM: Well, I just think honestly...
STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, come on.
INGRAHAM: ... the passion, the passion, when you send out Emanuel, and Axelrod, and the president comments on it, I haven’t seen them talk about other real threats in the same coordinated and sophisticated way as they’re going after FOX.
PODESTA: When drones start flying over FOX News...
INGRAHAM: Really, I mean, honestly.
TUCKER: It appears that this Nixonian meme developed when just a couple of weeks ago, the president was being denounced as weak, effete, not even as strong as the French president.
INGRAHAM: We wouldn’t even treat the terrorists like that.
HUNT: I’m old enough to remember enemies list meant you were wiretapping people, and you were pulling their tax returns, that’s the kind of stuff that scares me...
INGRAHAM: That could be coming.
HUNT: I mean -- no, I think not.