The White House v. Fox News

Part of what makes America great is the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The Consitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech, and to a journalist, this is a very important freedom. Whether it’s radio, TV or print, the government is unable to censor journalists for the stories that they choose to report. Nations like China, Iraq, and North Korea don’t have this liberty and the news media is told what to say by its government. Freedom of the Press is one of the oldest and most cherished laws that the U.S. has and it keeps our government in check.

Ever since President Obama and his new administration have taken over the White House, outrageous claims have been thrown at them. Most recently, conservative media have been accusing Obama and his advisors of trying to censor Fox News. This started when the White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said in an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources that Fox News is “Opinion journalism masquerading as news.”
She also went as far as to say that “The reality of it is, Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” Needless to say, Fox News anchors were offended by this statement. Although known for having a conservative slant when reporting the news, Fox declares themselves as “fair and balanced” and they were not
going to take these comments sitting down.

The next day every Fox News anchor was reporting on this story with their own comments directed towards Dunn. Many conservative talk show hosts and even Senators were backing Fox News and continued to call out the White House for its so-called “censorship.” But really the White House had not done anything to exclude FNC out of continuing their normal news coverage. They had simply called out somebody they saw as an enemy to the administration’s mission. This is not unlawful or even unethical, it’s just simple politics.

Much like the politics played by the Bush administration that, according to Keith Olbermann, “publicly attacked NBC, publicly attacked MSNBC, by the admission of the press secretary, cut MSNBC out of access from administration officials.” It should be noted that during Bush’s eight years in office he did not have one interview with The New York Times, a publication
known to have democratic leaning.
Unlike Bush, President Obama has given interviews with staunch Republican Bill O’Reilly and in January held a private meeting with several conservative talk show hosts just prior to his inauguration. These accusations of censorship toward the White House are unfounded and completely wrong. The White House has not in fact done anything to actually limit Fox’s ability to report the news

Fox has still not yet given up on this war between them and the White House. Because of the involvement of the media in this story, many major news organizations are reporting on it and even comedic pundits like John Stewart and Steven Colbert have aired segments addressing the dispute. But is this issue as important as Fox wants to make it seem? The President has said that he’s “not losing a lot of sleep over it.”

If the White House truly was starting to censor media or in any way trying to control it, the American people would know.

Chinese citizens know that the newspaper they read every morning was not only checked by an editor, but by a government official. Hugo Chavez hosts a weekly television show in which he tells Venezuela what to believe and all of the “news” that they need to know. Whether MSNBC or CNN agree with Fox, they would blow the whistle on such a blatant violation of the Constitution. America’s First Amendment will always be respected and no news organization, liberal or conservative, needs to fear being censored.