Obama’s Third War

Recently, the Obama administration declared a new war – a war on Fox News.  Although I don’t entirely agree with the Obama administration’s action, I certainly understand it.  News organizations have a responsibility to present facts in an unbiased manner and to clearly distinguish opinion from news.  Fox News does neither.

Indeed, the network itself claims that only a few hours a day are news.  It refers to the rest of its programming as “conversations.”  During these “conversations,” Fox News allows Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, et al and their guests to make unsubstantiated claims or wild allegations against the administration and other Democrats.  Then it “reports” those claims and allegations during its “newscasts” and on its “news” crawls.  The network has even sponsored and promoted one-sided political events such as “tea parties” and “9-12” demonstrations.  These are not the actions of a legitimate news organization.

Moreover, compared to assaults on the press by some of its predecessors, the administration’s response to Fox News is actually quite mild.  For example, President George W. Bush not only refused access to reporters and organizations deemed antagonistic to his agenda, the Bush administration produced propaganda disguised as “news” stories and provided them to local TV and radio stations.  It paid journalists to present White House talking points.  It even tried to limit funding for public radio and TV unless their reporting became friendlier to the Bush White House.

Unlike some of the Bush administration’s actions, the snub of Fox News does not raise any constitutional issues.  It is not censorship.  The Obama administration is not telling Fox News what it can say or report.  The administration simply limited press invitations to representatives of actual news organizations.   Although it may be unwise to antagonize any media outlet, it is not unconstitutional.