Appearing on the CNN show Reliable Sources hosted by Howard Kurtz, White House Interim Communications Director Anita Dunn pilloried the Fox News Channel.
Aside from stating, "Let's not pretend they're a news network," Dunn also called FNC "a wing of the Republican Party."
Dunn isn't exactly a low ranking flunkie. You might recall she was interviewed on 60 Minutes along with David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Robert Gibbs by Steve Kroft the night Obama was elected President.
So this salvo against FNC is coming up from high on the Obama food chain.
I understand why they are doing it. Liberals hate FNC. Despite claims of vegetarianism, liberals love red meat as much as conservatives. So when the Obama White House rails against FNC their people are happy.
But can FNC really be called "a wing of the Republican Party"? If the Obama White House had bothered to watch Katie Couric they would know Glenn Beck thinks John McCain "would've been worse" than Obama.
I think it would be more accurate to state to label FNC conservative rather than Republican. It reminds me of when I went to see Ann Coulter speak at Boston College shortly after Bush was re-elected in 2004. She said FNC should admit it's conservative provided all the other networks admitted they were liberal.
Of course there's about as much chance of that happening as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad buying Israel Bonds.
I think the Obama Administration is thinking in the short term. First, they continue to demonstrate that they can't take criticism of any sort. Second, they are moving away from their own playbook. When Kroft asked Plouffe how they won states like Indiana and North Carolina he said, "I think part of it is not being afraid to venture out and try win in what has been considered hostile territory." Part and parcel of that strategy was Obama going on The O'Reilly Factor. You can be sure that Obama won a lot of respect and votes by those who had supported Bush in 2000 and 2004 by going mano a mano with O'Reilly.
The fact is 2012 is coming sooner rather than later. If Obama wants to be re-elected he's going to need voters who watch the Fox News Channel. I'm sure that he'll appear on FNC in the final 60 days before the '12 election. But spending years trashing FNC and by extension its viewers will have taken their toll and Obama's last minute efforts to play nice will backfire. By then no one will be listening to him.
With that in mind, Anita Dunn and Obama Administration officials should keep doing what they are doing.