Obama's Fox News offensive: Has it worked?
Anita Dunn and others have called Fox News a wing of the Republican Party and boycotted the network. Critics say Fox News is changing its ways.
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But the White House’s tactic has befuddled many pundits and reporters. ABC News’ Jake Tapper asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs Tuesday whether the White House is "saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization ... do not work for a 'news organization"?
"That's our opinion," Mr. Gibbs replied.
That opinion is shared by Media Matters, which has catalogued a long list of Fox’s perceived breaches of journalistic ethics, including the repetition of GOP talking points in news programming, the use of Republican-funded research, cheerleading for the Tea Parties, and fundraising activities by some of its hosts. (For a complete list, look here.)
Christopher Yoo, a media law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, says there’s no evidence that Fox News is breaking Federal Election Commission law, which governs political speech on cable.
“Media members are allowed to be politically active” as long as all campaign contributions are property disclosed, Mr. Yoo says.
What’s more, to many viewers, Fox News simply respects conservative ideas – something they see as lacking in other mainstream media outlets, which are often criticized for leaning to the left.
Indeed, some free-speech experts say the administration's tactics run counter to the First Amendment.
“The White House has basically said that they don’t believe in the marketplace of ideas, they’re not willing to engage in debate, and they are going to be associated with John Adams and the Sedition Act and Richard Nixon and his ‘enemies’ list – is that the company they want to be in?” says Mike Farrell, director of the First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky.
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