By Jack Engelhard
The Obama administration has found the enemy and it is Fox News. The New York Times and CNN got it straight from the lips of White House communications director Anita Dunn who revealed that, “We’re going to treat them [Fox News] the way we would treat an opponent.”
Hello Lady? The press is SUPPOSED to be an opponent! That’s why it’s called the Fourth Estate, to keep a sharp eye on the other three Estates, executive, legislative, judicial. Nowhere is it written that the press shall collaborate with the government; quite the opposite if my reading of Thomas Jefferson is correct: “The only security of all is in a free press.”
Ms. Dunn, obviously speaking for Mr. Obama, accuses Fox News of being a branch of the Republican Party. This can only mean that the White House finds no such sinfulness among all the other networks, which suggests that the rest of them are branches of the Democrat Party. I’m not saying this, she is (if not in so many words).
Apparently, Fox News simply refuses to cheer this White House, a White House that has grown accustomed to unconditional admiration. Behold the petulance.
Fox News keeps turning to the wrong page in the hymn book.
Speaking as a recovering journalist and as a viewer who monitors most of the channels, I find Fox News to be the only place where all sides are given a voice. This is also the place where – well, does anyone remember checks and balances, or has this notion become old-fashioned?
Except for the press, or rather, except for Fox News, who else is around to keep tabs on a Party that dominates the White House and the Congress? Someone has to find out what’s going on behind closed doors – and it sure won’t be a network that qvells and thrills every time Mr. Obama speaks (as in Chris Matthews).
Mr. Obama has spoken out against Fox News several times, if obliquely, but I suspect that the peeving was refreshed when Glenn Beck ousted Van Jones.
Was that the bridge too far?
We the people expect the news media to be our guardians against government excess and misdeeds (Democrat or Republican). It’s a dirty job (like umpiring), but somebody has to do it, and frankly, few besides Fox News are on the job. Yes, my fellow journalists will argue that they too are “fair and balanced,” and yet it is quite clear that too often they are Democrats first and journalists second.
This all began with Woodward and Bernstein, who, in bringing down a flawed president, proved that journalism was not simply a means to report the news.
Journalism can change the world.
A generation of idealists – the Peace Corps generation – joined the nation’s newsrooms to “make the world a better place.”
But that is not the duty of journalism. Journalism serves the nation when it seeks facts and pursues truth and (in the phrasing of JFK) lets “the chips fall where they may.”
Ms. Dunn was correct, after all. Journalists should be treated as “opponents.” Too bad she could only find Fox News as being so troublesome.
About the author: Jack Engelhard wrote the international bestselling novel “Indecent Proposal” that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. He can be reached at his website www.jackengelhard.com Engelhard’s latest book, the newsroom thriller “The Bathsheba Deadline” is now available in paperback. http://www.amazon.com/Bathsheba-Deadline-Original-Novel/dp/0595470793/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255629656&sr=8-1