Thursday, October 22, 2009

White House Press Corps stands up to Obama

The White House finally overplayed its hand today in its choreographed assault on the Fox News Channel.  In a move that shocked even seasoned main stream journalists, the White House invited all members of the press pool except Fox News, to conduct individual 5 minute interviews with the pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg.

In an astonishing and (dare I say it) courageous display of collective and individual integrity, the other members of the press corps declined to participate under those terms. Erin Haust at the Minneapolis Conservative Examiner has the best description of the day's drama:
Officials invited the White House press pool to 5 minute interviews with Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg to discuss Feinberg's announcement to cut executive pay at at least 7 companies.

The press pool is made up of the 5 major news organizations including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. FOX has been a member of the White House press pool since 1997.

Officials invited the entire press corps to the round robin interview process with the express exception of FOX News. The Washington Bureau Chiefs of all of the 5 major networks consulted. The group agreed that if FOX were not allowed to participate, that they would boycott the interview with Feinberg in protest.

The White House eventually relented and granted 2 minute interviews for each network including FOX.

This comes on the heels of several Obama administration officials making the rounds on the weekend talk shows on the other 4 major networks and claiming that FOX News is more like "talk radio" and "not really a news organization" like ABC or CNN.

Bret Bair of Fox News reports the president has granted the following number of interviews by news organization since taking office last January.

NBC: 12 Interviews

CBS: 11 Interviews

ABC: 9 Interviews

CNN: 7 Interviews

FoxNews: 2 Interviews

Obama's predecessor granted 6 total interviews in the same time period.
Allahpundit at Hotair: comments on the week's media supression spectacle:
Decide for yourself what the most disgraceful aspect of this is. Was it the fact that Gibbs told Jake Tapper explicitly on Monday that the White House wouldn’t try to dictate to the press pool who should and shouldn’t be included — before doing precisely that? Was it Anita Dunn going out of her way to say she respects Major Garrett as a fair reporter — before the administration decided he didn’t deserve a crack here at Feinberg? Or was it the repeated insistence by Dunn and Axelrod that of course the administration will make its officials available to Fox — before pulling the plug today?

The other networks deserve the praise they’re getting for standing up to the Baby-in-Chief, but if they had acquiesced in this freezeout, a precedent would have been set that would have been eagerly used by future Republican presidents to close them off too. And don’t think they weren’t all keenly aware of it.
Here's a video of Fox News coverage this afternoon:

If you admire Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin, or Adolph Hitler, this egregious attempt at censorship of a respected American media organization might not seem a big deal.  But if you believe in our founding principle of a free press, you should acknowledge this for what is it.  Chilling.


  1. Good for the other news agencies! The President needs to stop assaulting FOX... it reaches more people than any of the other cable networks, and at certain timeblocks reaches more than all of them COMBINED. Obama's message is preaching to the very small choir on the other networks.

  2. So if a news Network reports the truth it is reduced to "talk show" status, but if they slant the truth they or news worthy?
    It is good to see the left step up and do the right thing for a change!

  3. Right on Baby girl

  4. Although I am disturbed by the tactic pulled in an attempt to ostracize FOX, I do applaud the other networks for standing on principle!

    Theresa R. Woollard