Jewish World Review Jan. 30, 2013/ 19 Shevat, 5773
Obama and Fox: Here We Go Again
By Bernard Goldberg
The other day, President Obama said in an interview with the New Republic, "One of the biggest factors is going to be how the media shapes debates. If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."
I have two thoughts on this, two opposing thoughts, but both, I think that are true.
First, I think the president is on to something. Too many Republicans (including a few in power positions) are afraid to denounce the screwiest on the Right. I have the "birthers" in mind, those chuckleheads who think President Obama is an alien from another galaxy, or at best, that he was born in Kenya. If some Republicans are afraid of those geniuses why should it shock us to think they might be afraid to take on far more sane conservatives like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity?
And there's certainly a conservative slant to a lot of other programs on Fox, which the president, understandably, would not like. Fox and Friends, for example, looks like a news program, but it's an opinion show - and a lot of the opinions are anti-Obama. I can see where that would annoy the president and his supporters, though I would think they wouldn't have much time to worry about things like that as long as Iran, North Korea and the economy are still around to occupy his time.
But that's all I'll give the president. Like so many other liberals he apparently knows virtually nothing about Fox News. First of all, Sean Hannity isn't the whole network. If he were, I'd be angry too.
Does the president even know the name Bret Baier? Does he know about his newscast, Special Report, which I think is the best on television? Does he think he gets unfairly trashed on that program?
How about Chris Wallace and Fox News Sunday? Does he really think Wallace is in the tank for Republicans?
Does he know that Fox has liberal commentators on all day long who sing his praises? Has he ever watched Shepard Smith, who thinks he has no biases but he does and they're not conservative.
The problem the president and a lot of other liberals have with Fox is that it's not in the bag for him the way almost all the other major news outlets are. On Fox, conservatives are allowed to express their opinions. I know, I know: Oh, the humanity!
It's interesting, isn't it, that the president, who doesn't like Fox but we're supposed to believe respects honest journalism, isn't troubled by Newsweek's covers one showing him with a halo over his head, another just a week ago showing a solemn president with the caption "Second Coming."
If he wants a strong, fair press why isn't he troubled by Steve Kroft's softball interview with him and Hillary Clinton on 60 Minutes the other night?
Okay, silly question. He's not troubled by the many admirers he has in the press because … well, because they admire him. Or as Kirsten Powers, a liberal commentator on Fox, elegantly put it in a piece on the Fox News Web site: "The president seems more comfortable talking to 'real journalists' such as Chris Hughes, who asked the question in the that elicited Obama's reflexive Fox hatred. Hughes is the new owner of TNR and is a former major Obama campaign donor and organizer who was featured on the cover of Fast Company, with the headline, 'The Kid Who Made Obama President.' You can't make this stuff up."
I guess you can't. Mr. Obama, again like so many liberals, isn't satisfied with the slobbering he gets from NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC, PBS, CNN, and just about every major newspaper in the country. That, apparently, isn't enough. He wants everyone in the media to adore him. "They [the president and his people] can't stand the fact that they no longer have a monopoly," as Charles Krauthammer correctly put it.
So here's what I'm wondering: Is Mr. Obama simply thin-skinned or is he really waging a war on Fox, a war started back in 2009 by his administration, which attempted to delegitimize the network by telling anyone who would listen that Fox is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican National Party?
If he's thin-skinned, that's his problem. If he's waging a war on a news organization, that's something we should all care about especially liberals, since they're the ones who are constantly telling us how open-minded they are, how much they care about the free expression of ideas, and how much they respect dissent.
Memo to my liberal friends: Lies are the things we tell ourselves to make us feel better about ourselves. Take note.
Here's my free advice to President Obama: Calm down. Everybody loves you in what passes for the mainstream media. I didn't call my book "A Slobbering Love Affair" for nothing. Believe it or not, a lot of commentators on Fox love you too, Mr. President, which you might know if you watched the network every now and then.
Okay, Hannity wouldn't say a good word about you if you came up with a cure for cancer. But how bad can that be when you know Hannity's evil twin over at MSNBC still gets a thrill running up his leg every time you open your mouth to speak.
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JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
© 2011, Bernard Goldberg