In yesterday’s daily press briefing by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, ABC’s Jake Tapper confronted Gibbs about the administration’s position regarding Fox News not being a “News Organization.” I have posted a video and a transcript of the back and forth below.
It was a class move by Tapper who could have toed the favored network line and enjoyed the fruits of being part of a news network that was not Fox News, but he chose to defend the institution that is the Press, and he should be commended for it. I do however, say that with a degree of caution. I would hate to see my conservative brethren embrace him so lovingly that they hug him right out of a job because after all, he is now the token Fox defender. You know what that can do to a career.
So what response did Gibbs have to offer? He repeated that the administration views Fox News as opinion-based and unfair, then more or less said that the administration can do what it wants – and they don’t want to talk to Fox News. Pretty mature for an Executive Branch policy if you ask me. No problems at all with the 1st Amendment on this one. Great demonstration of the “transparency” and openness that was promised on the campaign trail. I mean who is prepping these people? Is this really an actual strategy for a democratic government’s highest office? When the “freest nation in the history of the world” has an federal government with an ownership stake in one news organization, shouldn’t the exercise a slightly higher degree of caution when attempting to squeeze out all competing points of view? I thought we despised nation’s with state-run and state-censored media. No?
From this morning’s gaggle in White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ office:
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –
Gibbs: ABC -
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” — why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That’s our opinion.