The White House Suppressing Dissent?

I saw in interesting post from Phil Cooke today about the Obama administration’s fight with Fox News.

From Phil;

“For a President that campaigned on a post-partisan platform, the White House’s critical stance toward Fox – or any media outlet – leaves even Democrats troubled, according to the Times. As Dan Fowler, former Democratic National Committee Chairman told the paper, “This approach is out of sync with my conception of what the Obama administration stands for.” He added he hoped Obama will think better of it.

I do too. When a President starts controlling the media at any level, that’s not a good thing for a democracy.”

From the LA Times Story:

Reporting from Washington – At least one Democratic political strategist has gotten a blunt warning from the White House to never appear on Fox News Channel, an outlet that presidential aides have depicted as not so much a news-gathering operation as a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration.

The Democratic strategist said that shortly after an appearance on Fox, he got a phone call from a White House official telling him not to be a guest on the show again. The call had an intimidating tone, he said.

The message was, “We better not see you on again,” said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House. An implicit suggestion, he said, was that “clients might stop using you if you continue.”

White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that she had checked with colleagues who “deal with TV issues” and that they had not told people to avoid Fox. On the contrary, they had urged people to appear on the network, Dunn wrote in an e-mail.

But Patrick Caddell, a Fox News contributor and former pollster for President Carter, said he had spoken to Democratic consultants who said they were told by the White House to avoid appearances on Fox. He declined to give their names.

Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House.

He added: “I have heard that they’ve done that to others in not too subtle ways. I find it appalling. When the White House gets in the business of suppressing dissent and comment, particularly from its own party, it hurts itself.”

I have little doubt that this is actually happening. If less and less Democrats appear on Fox news, it appears more and more right-wing. If it is “right-wing” then it can be sidelined as an actual source of news. It can be dismissed.

Judging from the use of media in the campaign, I am not at all surprised to hear the Obama administration continues to manipulate mass media to protect the administration’s image. Every politician does it some, but I don’t remember the last time it was this intense. it’s one thing for administration officials to decline interviews, but to tell others to decline them as well? Not healthy for Free Speech.

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