For the last three weeks or so pretty much the only topic of conversation in media circles has been the White House’s ‘war’ on Fox News. If indeed the goal of the White House was to distract both Fox News, and the media in general, from relentlessly attacking the Health Care Bill than, voila, mission accomplished! We have a health care bill. There has been nary a tea partier, or death paneler on Fox in the interim. Enter, the White House truce with Fox. Maybe. But also enter a much larger problem.
From the beginning, the ultimate danger of allowing the White House to take on a news organization the way it has with Fox, is that it has now set a precedent. One that they apparently have no qualms about extending. Does the public really want its president determining what news is fit to consume?
Earlier this week Valerie Jarret told CNN that the White House’s was not just taking on Fox, but anyone who spreads false news. This week that apparently includes both the AP and the “highly-respected and influential car site Edmunds.com” for an analysis piece they did on ‘cash for clunkers.’ You can read the White House blog rebuttal “Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Edmunds.com Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers” here. Starting to sound like a bit of a disturbing trend, no?
The White House is on a slippery slope, here. What’s next? A re-edit of the NYT? Perhaps a vetting of the Nightly News? The Internet has certainly made it possible for anyone to become a media watchdog, but it is not the White House’s responsibility to be approving our news for us. Ever. There are a lot of things the White House should be policing, our media is not one of them. Ten Glenn Beck’s will always be preferable to a media comprised of all the news the White House sees fit to print.
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