Tags: obama | fox | news

Administration Backs Off Excluding Fox

Friday, 23 Oct 2009 03:48 PM

By David A. Patten

Count the score in President Obama's war against Fox News as follows: Fox News 1, President Obama zero.

The Obama administration suffered an embarrassing setback in its ongoing effort to cast Fox News Channel as a media pariah, when five TV networks threatened to boycott a news event because administration officials planned to bar Fox News.

According to FoxNews.com, the Treasury Department on Thursday sought to arrange interviews for "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg. The notable exception: Fox News would not be invited.

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After conferring, the bureau chiefs of the other networks informed Treasury officials that because Fox is a member of the network pool, it could not be excluded. Either Fox would be permitted to participate, they said, or none of the networks would provide coverage.

The administration quickly backed down, agreeing to make Feinberg available for all the networks including Fox. But it was another skirmish in the unseemly struggle between Obama and Fox News that appears to be elevating the network's ratings, even as Obama's standing with independent voters appears to be slipping.

It was Obama, after all, who during the campaign promised to bring a post-partisan era of politics to Washington.

So far there's no sign the administration intends to back off on its aggressive approach to Fox. On Wednesday, Obama told NBC he's not "losing sleep" over the conflict, and appeared to compare Fox News coverage to AM talk radio.

Obama said: "If media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another."

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., declared Wednesday on the House floor that the White House appears to be "increasingly intolerant of criticism."

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