Lately both the Fox News Channel and Foxnews.com have been making a lot of hay out the supposed “fight” between them and the Obama Administration. The sad part here is the Administration has taken the bait, and now there really is a squabble. However, as Fox is in the world’s face 24/7, they are managing to appear as the victim of Obama’s bullying. This has taken the Media Surrealality Index ‘way up the chart.
Since the early 20th century, reality has been what the media tell us it is. There is no objective state of truth or falsity – just contending agendas. CNN has it directionless liberal agenda, while Fox has its extremely focussed conservative agenda. The Fox focus has always been simple: anything you can do to the opposition is fair. The network was founded by Roger Ayles, an ex-media wonk from the Nixon and Reagan administrations. Roger never made the slightest pretense of being anything other than a staunch Republican partisan, which is what makes the Fox News motto “Fair and Balanced” such a joke. The network has gone from being a CNN imitator to a cable news innovator, though most of the innovations come straight from the supermarket tabloids.
Fox has been pushing a new reality in which an American President is dumb enough to directly take-on a major media outlet, toe-to-toe, as if that were somehow a good political move. And the Obama folks have been sucked right in to that new reality. I’m sure the idea was to divert attention from the ever-ongoing Afghanistan strategy sessions, so when Fox dangled the bait people like Rahm Emmanuel were hungry enough to bite. And as usual the whole thing has blown up in Obama’s face like a bid to site the 2012 Olympics in Chicago.
Now the thing has gone to direct action, with Obama’s people appearing on talk shows to dis Fox News, while the network plays-up the whole thing in a ratings gambit. Since the early Administration goofs like the New York photo-op flyover Fox News has had the President on the defensive. I’m sure this silly squabble with Fox News is a lame attempt to go on the offensive. It’s just too bad it plays right into their hands. Obama looks weak and he knows it. Getting into a pissing contest with the media isn’t going to change that image. Getting out of Iraq might.