I am a bit mystified by the White House’s decision to criticize Fox News, describe it as “not really a news organization,” and try to marginalize it. I understand that the Obama Administration does not like the coverage they are getting from Fox News and therefore is trying to impugn Fox’s credibility as a news-gathering organization. I think this kind of tactic just makes the White House and President Obama look small and thin-skinned. A better approach, in my view, would be to just ignore Fox or to refer to them, if at all, only as the butt of jokes.
The reaction of journalists also is a bit discouraging. With a few exceptions, members of the news media don’t seem to have raised many objections to the Administration’s harsh, public criticism of a fellow member of the news media. Whether people agree with the viewpoint expressed by Fox News shows like The O’Reilly Factor or Hannity is irrelevant. A free press is only truly free if everyone is permitted to express their opinions and views, no matter how unpopular or out of step with the majority. When you disagree with a news report, the proper response is to point out the flaws and errors, not to try to suppress the speaker. I would have thought all members of the news media would understand, and publicly express, that fundamental truth. Their failure to do so makes them look craven and politically motivated.