Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, October 19, 2009

White House Goes to War

The knock on Barack Obama from the start was his unwillingness to go head to head--"mix it up a little," as Maureen Dowd urged him during the campaign. Now, after a Nobel Peace prize, he suddenly seems to be brawling with everybody, from the health insurance industry down to Fox News.

“They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads," he said this weekend in counterattacking the insurers. "They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people.

“It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, 'Take one of these, and call us in a decade.'"

As the President takes off the gloves on health reform, his surrogates fan out to confront Rupert Murdoch's cable minions. On ABC yesterday, David Axelrod defended Communications Director Anita Dunn's offensive against Fox News.

"I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument Anita was making is that they’re not really a news’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming. It’s really not news--it’s pushing a point of view."

Axelrod was backing up Dunn's manifesto in a New York Times interview: “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent. As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

A Times analysis sniffs that a White House web site called Reality Check with a "truth-o-meter" to correct Glenn Beck lies "sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue."

The new combative Obama may not be to everyone's liking, but it would be well to remember how the President-to-be reacted to Dowd's prodding. “When I get into a tussle,” he said, “I want it to be over something real, not something manufactured."

His tussles these days are as real as it gets.


Holte Ender said...

The White House criticism of Fox is warranted, but the other major networks also have for profit news operations, which hasn't always been the case. Fox is the most slanted, but CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN are drifting into the infotainment realm too.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

It would be nice if he adopted this tussle mentality with our enemies and threats against world peace rather than the citizens of his own country who, to my knowledge, are still protected by the First Amendment.

All this Fox "war" and his sudden change of heart about the health insurance industry (they were bestest buds a week ago, when he thought he'd bullied and wheeled and dealed them into submission) shows is that he's a nasty little Chicago thug who, like all thugs, bullies the people who are weaker than he is and hides from the big kids on the block who would mop the floor with him.