White House interim communications director Anita Dunn assumed the role of lead Fox News Channel-basher this weekend. The attack was a dud. The left-leaning Nation magazine ridiculed President Obama’s press shop for turning him into the “whiner-in-chief.” AOL media columnist Jeff Bercovici called the war on Fox a “loser’s strategy” that “signals weakness.” And that’s the friendly fire.
Mrs. Dunn found refuge in rival CNN’s green zone, where she blasted Fox News as a “research arm of the Republican Party.” Unhappy with headline-generating Fox News hosts who have wrested control of the news cycle from Team Obama, Dunn complained about “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”
Well, that is certainly an apt description of a Mr. Obama-sympathizing “news” segment on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” which purported to “fact check” a “Saturday Night Live” skit mocking the president’s lack of accomplishments.
Yes, the “real” news fact-checked the fake news to cover for Mr. Obama’s deficiencies. Zero complaints from the White House communications office about that. Or about authentic CNN journalist Anderson Cooper using his prime-time show to make vulgar sexual jokes about Tea Party activists. Or about the joint White House-ABC News health care reform infomercial that aired earlier this summer.
Some “opinion journalism” is more equal than others.
Debates about the blurred lines between opinion and journalism are all well and good. But don’t the talking-points crafters in the Oval Office have something better to do than carp about the talking points they don’t like hearing on the one cable network that hasn’t been completely overrun by Obama sycophants? (Full disclosure: I’ve been a Fox News contributor since 2001.)
Where are the seasoned press gurus to help Nobel Peace Prize-winner Mr. Obama appear more presidential and less petty and thuggish?
The corruptocratic affiliations of Mr. Obama’s communications team are illuminating. His press shop can’t rise above the fray because they’ve been entrenched in the Beltway fray for years. They can’t help themselves.
Democratic media consultant Mrs. Dunn’s claim to fame is her decade-long service as chief strategist for disgraced Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader turned health care lobbyist Tom Daschle. She was in the thick of his failed re-election campaign as Mr. Daschle asserted a bogus property-tax homestead exemption claim on his $1.9 million D.C. mansion - which he listed as his primary residence despite voting in South Dakota and claiming it as his primary residence in order to run for re-election. And Mrs. Dunn was with Mr. Daschle during the years he failed to pay gobs of taxes on a luxury car and driver provided to him by crony donor Leo Hindery Jr.
After working as communications manager for Mr. Obama’s political action committee and then as senior adviser to his 2008 presidential campaign, Mrs. Dunn “trained” White House press secretary and anti-Fox sniper Robert Gibbs. Deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer is another young protege of Mrs. Dunn’s, who worked with her on the disastrous 2004 Daschle re-election campaign.
(Another Daschle connection: Mr. Obama transition adviser John Podesta, who served as Mr. Daschle’s counselor and has helped staff the administration with many alumni of his left-wing think tank, the Center for American Progress. One CAP fellow, Hugo Chavez-admiring radical Mark Lloyd, has attacked conservative talk radio - the second home of several Fox News hosts - and is now the Federal Communications Commission’s “Diversity Czar.”)
Mrs. Dunn is married to Robert Bauer, a D.C. corporate lawyer who served as general counsel for Obama for America. It was Mr. Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully last fall to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Mr. Obama’s ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers.
It was Mr. Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on Republican donor Harold Simmons and sought his prosecution for funding the ad. It was Mr. Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Mr. Obama’s behalf.
While conservatives revel in the left’s hysteria over Fox News Channel’s dominance, more of Mr. Obama’s friends hope he’ll wipe his nose and man up. Fat chance. As long as he’s surrounded by career flacks who demonize dissent to distract from the Beltway stench, the White House will remain an all-whine zone.
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2009).