Is it me or is this administration attempting to stamp out dissent? First, they wanted Americans to spy on each other and report their fellow citizens to the White House if they had "fishy" views. Now, they want Americans to shun news organizations that do not toe the White House's party line.
This is the United States of America not Stalinist Russia. Or, Mao's China. But, I guess it kinda makes sense, given the fact that the White House Communications Director is a huge fan of Mao Zedong.
Next thing the radical leftists in the administration will attempt to put in place national speech codes like they have done on college campuses all over the country, where conservative views and thoughts are essentially banned.
The White House escalated its offensive against Fox News on Sunday by urging other news organizations to stop "following Fox" and instead join the administration's attempt to marginalize the channel.
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that President Obama does not want "the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox."
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is "not a news organization."
"Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way," Axelrod counseled ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "We're not going to treat them that way."
By urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama aides officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month, when White House communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news."
On Sunday, Fox's Chris Wallace retorted: "We wanted to ask Dunn about her criticism, but, as they've done every week since August, the White House refused to make any administration officials available to 'FOX News Sunday' to talk about this or anything else."
The White House stopped providing guests to 'Fox News Sunday' after Wallace fact-checked controversial assertions made by Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, in August. Dunn said fact-checking an administration official was "something I've never seen a Sunday show do."
"She criticized 'FOX News Sunday' last week for fact-checking -- fact-checking -- an administration official," Wallace said Sunday. "They didn't say that our fact-checking was wrong. They just said that we had dared to fact-check."
"Let's fact-check Anita Dunn, because last Sunday she said that Fox ignores Republican scandals, and she specifically mentioned the scandal involving Nevada senator John Ensign," Wallace added. "A number of Fox News shows have run stories about Senator Ensign. Anita Dunn's facts were just plain wrong."
Fox News senior vice president Michael Clemente said: "Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars. The door remains open and we welcome a discussion about the facts behind the issues."
Observers on both sides of the political aisle questioned the White House's decision to continue waging war on a news organization, saying the move carried significant political risks.
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile said on CNN: "I don't always agree with the White House. And on this one here I would disagree."
David Gergen, who has worked for Democratic and Republican presidents, said: "I totally agree with Donna Brazile." Gergen added that White House officials have "gotten themselves into a fight they don't necessarily want to be in. I don't think it's in their best interest."
"The faster they can get this behind them, the more they can treat Fox like one other organization, the easier they can get back to governing, and then put some people out on Fox," Gergen said on CNN. "I mean, for goodness sakes -- you know, you engage in the debate.
What Americans want is a robust competition of ideas, and they ought to be willing to go out there and mix it up with some strong conservatives on Fox, just as there are strong conservatives on CNN like Bill Bennett."
Bennett expressed outrage that Dunn told an audience of high school students this year that Mao Tse-tung, the founder of communist China, was one of "my favorite political philosophers."
"Having the spokesman do this, attack Fox, who says that Mao Zedong is one of the most influential figures in her life, was not…a small thing; it's a big thing," Bennett said on CNN. "When she stands up, in a speech to high school kids, says she's deeply influenced by Mao Zedong, that -- I mean, that is crazy." ... Continued