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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jack Tapper takes on Robert Gibbs

I know Jake Tapper as the mediocre cartoonish for the Daily Dartmouth when I was in college. He really couldn't draw that well. But Tapper is rapidly gaining a reputation as a journalist willing to ask tough questions of politicians from both parties. Tapper tries to get White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to share their evidence that Fox News is "not a news organization".
Tapper: It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –


Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.

Tapper: But that’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they are “not a news organization.” How are they any different from, say –

Gibbs: ABC -

Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?

Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon.

Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a “news organization” -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?

Gibbs: That’s our opinion.

The Obama Administration is addicted to campaigning. Unable to govern, they have turned back to campaign mode, and every campaign needs an opponent. They've chosen the one cable news organization that still has an audience. I'm not sure how attacking Fox News will persuade anyone to stop watching Fox News. Or how it will inspire the few remaining CNN viewers to be stronger supporters. It appears that the Obama Administation has picked a fight because they want to be in a fight. I just don't see how they win.

It's refreshing that Tapper is questioning the White House policy of singling out critics in the press. The idea of a neutral press corps has always been a fantasy limited to journalism schools and liberal newsrooms. We pick our politicians. Our politicians don't have the right to pick their press corps.

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