If you're the POTUS and you have two wars on your hands, one going worse than the day you took office; if your economic policies are failing by every objective measure; if unemployment is approaching 14% in some states; if small businesses are closing in record numbers; if the dollar is weakening while energy prices are on the rise; if you are awarded a Nobel Peace prize for doing nothing; if independents are fleeing you in droves and your poll numbers are shrinking; if you have failed to live up to even one of your campaign promises, then you might be tempted to solve the problems you can't solve by silencing your critics. So until we get a "Fairness Doctrine", Obama's thugs are on the job. Barack the Magnificent may not be adding any troops to Afghanistan, but the commander-in-chicanery has deployed the heavy hitters to kill the messenger - Fox News.
On Sunday, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel hit the talk show circuit to make the claim that Fox News isn't a "legitimate" news organization. That's right. The founder of a PR firm famous for astroturfing (or fake grassroots campaigns) and the Democrats' most partisan attack dog (who is nicknamed "Rahmbo") went out to lecture news organizations on what real news was supposed to look like. This is akin to the "balloon boy's" family lecturing the PTA on proper parenting or Wolf Blitzer giving Alex Trebek pointers on Jeopardy! It's like if the cast of MTV's Real World taught classes on how to actually live in the real world.
The New York Times, liberal paper of record, issues a retraction almost every week, often after running front page stories with false information. Last year, they falsely reported that GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin belonged to an Alaskan political party that advocated secession from the union. Earlier this summer, they ran images supposedly capturing the housing bust that were clearly doctored and manipulated. And of course, just last month they apologized for failing to write one word about the ACORN scandals until Congress took action against the organization. I have yet to hear anyone call them out as illegitimate.
The New York Times is hardly alone. We all remember Dan Rather's phony report on CBS in 2004 in which he presented forged National Guard documents questioning George W. Bush's service. The failure to authenticate the memos ended up costing Rather and his producer their jobs. Certain anchors on NBC have responded to Obama with all the objectivity of a chill up their leg. And just last week, CNN (among others) had to retract stories in which they attributed fake racist quotes to Rush Limbaugh in an effort to smear his bid for an NFL franchise. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Given these facts and given the number of pundits from both sides of the aisle willing to appear on Fox, it would seem that Fox News is a more legitimate news organization than the very ones which Axelrod and Emanuel chose to appear. That's not surprising, because we all know that Obama and company don't really want fair news coverage. They want a media that they can cajole into mimicking their talking points and intimidate into ignoring stories that might be negative to the White House - a la Van Jones and ACORN.
Greta Van Susteren has been one of the fairer interviewers in all of cable news for the past couple of years, but don't take my word for it. Hillary Clinton said the same thing. On last night's show (yes, on Fox) Greta questioned Senator Lamar Alexander (who worked with Nixon) and Susan Estrich (liberal Democrat and former Dukakis campaign manager) about the White House's sudden desire to go to war with the free press. The Alexander interview is first, followed by Susan, who makes some of the best points of the evening. Why aren't other news organizations standing up for Fox in the name of free speech? Are they willing to take marching orders from the president about which stories they should cover? If so, what does that say about our ability to shed light on the truth and to make our government transparent?
Someone cue Frost/Nixon and tell Opie that he made his film a year too soon. Now we can finally start to compare our current president's tactics with those of the other commander-in-chicanery.