The White House war on Glenn Beck and Fox.
Glenn Beck is clearly on a roll. First he exposed the radical past of Van Jones, who was until September the Special Advisor for Green Jobs for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It was heavily due to Beck's coverage of Van Jones on his Fox News television show (and his radio show) that Jones resigned from his position. Now Beck has unearthed footage of Obama's White House Communications Director Anita Dunn at a high-school graduation last spring praising Mao Tse-tung as one of her two "favorite political philosophers." Dunn said in a high-school commencement address:
The third lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Tse-tung and Mother Teresa. Not often coupled with each other, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is you are going to make choices, you are going to challenge. You are going to say why not. You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here's the deal, these are your choices, they are no one else's. In 1947, when Mao Tse-tung was being challenged from within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist Chinese held the cities. They had the army. They had the air force. They had everything on their side. And people said, "How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this against all of the odds against you?" And Mao Tse-tung said, "You fight your war, and I'll fight mine." And think about that for a second. You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths. Okay? It is about your choices and paths. You fight your own war. You lay out your own paths. You figure out what is right for you.
Dunn said she intended the statement as irony. "The use of the phrase 'favorite political philosophers' was intended as irony, but clearly the effort fell flat--at least with a certain Fox commentator whose sense of irony may be missing," she told CNN October 16.
Juxtaposing Mother Teresa, a model of Christian peace and charity, with Mao Tse-tung, atheistic mass murderer, may indeed be ironic. Mao was literally the Guinness Book of Worm Records record holder for mass murderer when Guinness was keeping such records. But calling Mao a "favorite political philosopher" is neither ironic nor humorous, especially if one lionizes Mao's bloody war of conquest. If a Republican were to declare at a high-school commencement address that Adolf Hitler and Mohandas Gandhi were his favorite political philosophers, the quote would rightfully be all over the news. But calling communist leader Mao a hero just may be a bit worse, since Mao killed about six times as many helpless civilians as Hitler did.
Beck's high profile and relentless efforts to break news like the Dunn story have drawn the fire of Obama administration officials, who have labeled the Fox News Channel an "opponent" and "not really a news station" in recent weeks. The specific White House objection, according to White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod on NBC's Meet the Press for October 18, is that "the only argument Anita was making is that they're not really a news station, if you watch--even--it's not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming, it's really not news. It's pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way, and we're not going to treat them that way."
The White House argues that if a news outlet has a point of view, that means they are not reporting news. But if being "unbiased" in reporting the news is the standard of determining whether or not a channel is a "news" network, then all of the other national television news networks--and particularly MSNBC, with its strongly leftist commentators Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz, and Chris Matthews--don't qualify as news networks either. (Some discriminating constitutionalist observers actually found MSNBC to be an interesting news source for a critique of Bush administration policies until last year.) But it's only against Fox, with its Republican-friendly worldview, against which the administration has registered an objection. The Democrat-friendly NBC/ MSNBC network that Axelrod was talking on is one of those "other news organizations."
Beck's revelations about Dunn came more than a week after Dunn had declared an administration war on Fox News, a fact that Time magazine took note of as early as October 8. "It's opinion journalism masquerading as news," Dunn told Time magazine. "They are boosting their audience. But that doesn't mean we are going to sit hack." More recently, Dunn said, "The reality of it is that Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party." Don't hold your breath waiting for the administration to demand that MSNBC stop acting like the research and communications arm of the Democratic Party.
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|Title Annotation:||Extended Inside Track|
|Author:||Eddlem, Thomas R.|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Nov 9, 2009|
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