The Obama campaign and administration have always treated the network as an adversary -- and, in fact, they seem more willing to engage rogue dictators and despots before sitting down with this American network.
Indeed, the White House strategy now has gone beyond avoiding Fox altogether: Officials recently declared that Fox is not a real news network. Moreover, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel seemed to even fire a warning shot at the CNNs of the world, saying in a mafia sort of way that they shouldn't follow Fox's lead on stories.
You got a nice network here. I'd hate to see something happen to it.
Coming from a powerful and combative executive branch of the federal government, that's downright chilling.
Even Fox's competitors are recoiling. Unabashed Obama supporter David Gergen said on CNN that the White House is making a mistake by attacking Fox and not engaging with the network. And ABC News' Jake Tapper challenged White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, "Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?"
Moreover, Obama's attack on Fox ignores blatant liberal bias in other media. That's OK, though, since they're on Obama's side.
That's not the American way. Dissent is to be embraced, not silenced.
"This is an overtly political campaign" against Fox, writes Nile Gardiner in The Daily Telegraph of London, "and one that is doomed to failure, as it will ensure that even more Americans end up tuning in to Fox shows. The United States is a nation built around the principles of free speech, limited government, and free enterprise, and it is highly unusual for a U.S. administration to launch an authoritarian vendetta against an individual news station. It smacks of mean-spiritedness as well as desperation ...
"Fox News is succeeding in America precisely because it is not afraid to challenge the status quo, and to take on the power of big government. It is unique in broadcast media in going against the grain of the dominant liberal networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, by providing an alternative perspective in a nation where conservatives are still the largest ideological group according to Gallup. Television news in America has for decades been dominated by a left-of-centre oligopoly that has not reflected public opinion. That smug arrangement was shattered when Fox opened for business in the mid-1990s."
But this is even more than an attack on what Obama perceives as a conservative media outlet. It's a concerted, strategic and multifaceted effort to silence all enemies of state.
The campaign against Fox, writes the nonpartisan Politico.com, "underscores how deeply political the Obama White House is in its daily operations --- with a strong focus on redrawing the electoral map and discrediting the personalities and ideas that have powered the conservative movement over the past 20 years.
"This determination has manifested itself in small ways: This president has done three times as many fundraisers as President George W. Bush had at this point in his term. And in large ones: Beginning with their contretemps with Limbaugh last winter, Obama's most important advisers miss few opportunities for public and highly partisan shots at his most influential critics."
How sad -- especially since Mr. Obama promised hope, unity and bipartisanship.
It will be the biggest and most consequential promise he breaks.