That's clearly what's being pitched by more hysterical Fox News defenders in the press corps who are trying to mainstream this completely unique notion that if politicians, and specifically if White House administration members, publicly criticize the press, that means they're trying to police and control it.
It's sort of ironic. Fox News defenders, in the name of free speech, now apparently want to ban the Obama White House from having an opinion about journalism. They want to take away the White House's free speech right to step forward and correct the press.
Over at Mediaite.com, Glynnis MacNicol offers up some of the more ridiculous the-White-House-is-trying-to-trample-journalism rhetoric [emphasis added].
From the beginning, the ultimate danger of allowing the-White House to take on a news organization the way it has with Fox, is that it has now set a precedent. One that they apparently have no qualms about extending. Does the public really want its president determining what news is fit to consume?
"Allowing" the White House to take on a news organization? What does that even mean? Is MacNicol suggesting the White House is suddenly not allowed to criticize the press? It's not allowed to exercise its freedom of speech. It's not allowed to call out falsehoods? And is MacNicol really so naive to suggest the White House, by having an opinion about Fox News, is somehow "determining" what news is consumed?
More painful prose:
Earlier this week Valerie Jarret told CNN that the White House's was not just taking on Fox, but anyone who spreads false news. This week that apparently includes both the AP and the "highly-respected and influential car site Edmunds.com" for an analysis piece they did on 'cash for clunkers.' You can read the White House blog rebuttal "Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Edmunds.com Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers" here. Starting to sound like a bit of a disturbing trend, no?
Got this? The AP and Edmunds posted news items for news consumption, and then the White House offered up detailed public rebuttals, claiming the AP and Edmunds got the facts wrong. Yet MacNicol presents this as a deeply "disturbing trend." Why? Has the White House voice suddenly been banned from public debate?
The ugly conclusion:
The White House is on a slippery slope, here. What's next? A re-edit of the NYT? Perhaps a vetting of the Nightly News? The Internet has certainly made it possible for anyone to become a media watchdog, but it is not the White House's responsibility to be approving our news for us. Ever. There are a lot of things the White House should be policing, our media is not one of them. Ten Glenn Beck's will always be preferable to a media comprised of all the news the White House sees fit to print.
Again, almost too dumb for words. The White House has expressed its opinion about Fox News, so MacNicol hysterically claims the White House is "policing our media," and it's "approving" the news.
If MacNicol wants to play dumb and pretend Fox is a legit news organization, that's her right. But this kind of completely uniformed argument is just embarrassing.
Also, I'm assuming that MacNicol slept through the Bush years when the GOP White House routinely pushed back and publicly criticized mainstream news organization, while partisan White House fans attacked targeted news outlets as being traitorous. I make that assumption because MacNicol never mentions the often hateful press-bashing from the Bush days, and instead pretends the Obama's critique of Fox News is the first time a White House has ever taken issue with the press.
And it's disturbing.