I've given President Barack Obama a long leash in his efforts at governing and now must concede his biggest mistake in changing how Washington works is his staff's petty feud with Fox News. This running story has legs and they must be chopped off at the knees. This dog must sit, lie down, whacked on the behind with a rolled newspaper and go to obedience school.
The latest bark from the White House is troubling because the source of the story is a third party who works for Fox and claims an anonymous Democratic consultant was threatened by an unnamed White House staffer not to appear on the Fox cable channel.
The source is Patrick Caddell, a Fox News contributor and a former pollster for President Carter. He said he has spoken to Democratic consultants who have been told by the White House to avoid appearances on Fox. He declined to give their names. Over the years, I have believed Caddell is credible even though I don't agree with most of his policy positions.
Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House. "They know better than to tell me anything like that," he said sounding as egomaniac as some of the opinionated anchors on Fox.
Caddell added: "I have heard that they've done that to others in not-too-subtle ways. I find it appalling. When the White House gets in the business of suppressing dissent and comment, particularly from its own party, it hurts itself."
Caddell's brief was reported this way in the Los Angeles Times:
One Democratic strategist said that shortly after an appearance on Fox, he got a phone call from a White House official telling him not to be a guest on the show again. The call had an intimidating tone, he said.
The message was, " 'We better not see you on again,' " said the strategist, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to run afoul of the White House. An implicit suggestion, he said, was that "clients might stop using you if you continue."
The White House contends Fox is an extension of the Republican Party and a political opponent bent on damaging the Obama administration. They fear certain issues framed by Fox compels the other media to follow along making subjects as ACORN and so-called presidential czars legitimate news stories.
The White House's pugnacious approach to the network leaves some Democrats troubled.
Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, said in an interview: "This approach is out of sync with my conception of what the Obama administration stands for and what they're trying to do. I think they'll think better of it and this will be a passing phase."
The Obama administration is falling into the gutter as did the Nixon administration by placing reporters out of favor on an enemy's list.
Say what you want about Fox, it is a legitimate news organization. Its opinions are no more or less slanted against the Obama administration than its weaker rival MSNBC slanted more favorably towards the White House.
Get over it, Mr. Obama, chief of staff Raum Emanuel, communications director Anita Dunn, and the rest of your minions. You're fighting a foe beneath your pay grade. Just ignore the bastards.
It is said that newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst shouted us into the Spanish-American war. Is Fox taking us in a direction we do not want to travel? Me thinks the Obama administration gives them too much credit.