Be­hind the White House war on Fox News

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

White House in­terim com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Anita Dunn as­sumed the role of lead Fox News Chan­nel-basher over the Oct. 10-11 week­end. The at­tack was a dud. The left­lean­ing Na­tion mag­a­zine ridiculed Pres­i­dent Obama’s press shop for turn­ing him into the “whiner-in-chief.” AOL me­dia colum­nist Jeff Ber­covici called the war on Fox a “loser’s strat­egy” that “sig­nals weak­ness.” And that’s the friendly fire.

Ms. Dunn found refuge in ri­val CNN’s green zone, where she blasted Fox News as a “re­search arm of the Repub­li­can Party.” Un­happy with head­li­ne­gen­er­at­ing Fox News hosts who have wrested con­trol of the news cy­cle from Team Obama, Ms. Dunn com­plained about “opin­ion jour­nal­ism mas­querad­ing as news.”

Well, that is cer­tainly an apt de­scrip­tion of an Obama-sym­pa­thiz­ing “news” seg­ment on “The Sit­u­a­tion Room with Wolf Bl­itzer,” which pur­ported to “fact check” a Satur­day Night Live skit mock­ing the pres­i­dent’s lack of ac­com­plish­ments.

Yes, the “real” news fact-checked the fake news to cover for Ms. Obama’s de­fi­cien­cies. Zero com­plaints from the White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fice about that. Or about au­then­tic CNN jour­nal­ist An­der­son Cooper us­ing his prime-time show to make vul­gar sex­ual jokes about Tea Party ac­tivists. Or about the joint White HouseABC News health care re­form in­fomer­cial that aired ear­lier this sum­mer.

Some “opin­ion jour­nal­ism” is more equal than oth­ers.

De­bates about the blurred lines be­tween opin­ion and jour­nal­ism are all well and good. But don’t the talk­ing-points crafters in the Oval Of­fice have some­thing bet­ter to do than carp about the talk­ing points they don’t like hear­ing on the one ca­ble net­work that hasn’t been com­pletely over­run by Obama syco­phants? (Full dis­clo­sure: I’ve been a Fox News con­trib­u­tor since 2001.)

Where are the sea­soned press gu­rus to help No­bel Peace Prize-win­ner Barack Obama ap­pear more pres­i­den­tial and less petty and thug­gish?

The cor­rup­to­cratic af­fil­i­a­tions of Mr. Obama’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team are il­lu­mi­nat­ing. His press shop can’t rise above the fray be­cause they’ve been en­trenched in the Belt­way fray for years. They can’t help them­selves.

Demo­cratic me­dia con­sul­tant Ms. Dunn’s claim to fame is her decade-long ser­vice as chief strate­gist for disgraced Demo­crat and for­mer Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader turned health care lob­by­ist Tom Daschle. She was in the thick of his failed re­elec­tion cam­paign as Mr. Daschle as­serted a bo­gus prop­erty-tax homestead ex­emp­tion claim on his $1.9 mil­lion D.C. man­sion — which he listed as his pri­mary res­i­dence de­spite vot­ing in South Dakota and claim­ing it as his pri­mary res­i­dence in or­der to run for re­elec­tion. And Ms. Dunn was with Mr. Daschle dur­ing the years he failed to pay gobs of taxes on a lux­ury car and driver pro­vided to him by crony donor Leo Hindery Jr.

Af­ter work­ing as com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Mr. Obama’s po­lit­i­cal action com­mit­tee and then as se­nior ad­viser to his 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Ms. Dunn “trained” White House press sec­re­tary and anti-Fox sniper Robert Gibbs. Deputy com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Dan Pfeif­fer is an­other young pro­tege of Ms. Dunn’s, who worked with her on the dis­as­trous 2004 Daschle re-elec­tion cam­paign.

(An­other Daschle con­nec­tion: Obama tran­si­tion ad­viser John Podesta, who served as Mr. Daschle’s coun­selor and has helped staff the ad­min­is­tra­tion with many alumni of his left-wing think tank, the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress. One CAP fel­low, Hugo Chavez-ad­mir­ing rad­i­cal Mark Lloyd, has at­tacked con­ser­va­tive talk ra­dio — the sec­ond home of sev­eral Fox News hosts — and is now the FCC’s “Di­ver­sity Czar.”)

Ms. Dunn is mar­ried to Robert Bauer, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C., cor­po­rate lawyer who served as gen­eral coun­sel for Obama for Amer­ica. It was Mr. Bauer who lob­bied the Jus­tice Depart­ment un­suc­cess­fully last fall to pur­sue a crim­i­nal probe of Amer­i­can Is­sues Project (AIP), an in­de­pen­dent group that sought to run an ad spot­light­ing Obama’s ties to Weather Un­der­ground ter­ror­ist Bill Ay­ers.

It was Mr. Bauer who at­tempted to sic the DOJ on GOP donor Harold Sim­mons and sought his prose­cu­tion for fund­ing the ad. It was Mr. Bauer who tried to bully tele­vi­sion sta­tions across the coun­try to com­pel them to pull the spot. All on Obama’s be­half.

While con­ser­va­tives revel in the left’s hys­te­ria over Fox News Chan­nel’s dom­i­nance, more of Mr. Obama’s friends hope he’ll wipe his nose and man up. Fat chance. As long as he‘s sur­rounded by ca­reer flacks who de­mo­nize dis­sent to dis­tract from the Belt­way stench, the White House will re­main an all-whine zone.

Michelle Malkin is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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