Well, the strangest thing has started to happen as the White House has continued its unprecedented attack on a major network, not just freezing out a reporter here or there as other administrations have done, but a flat out drive to shut down this network. I can scarcely believe it myself, but what has happened recently is that reporters from other networks, even the Washington Bureau chiefs of the main news outlets, have started to stand WITH Fox News.
It all began with one of my favorite reporters, Jake Tapper of ABC News. He is one of the very few national reporters from a major network to consistently challenge the Obama campaign, and now the Obama Administration. And he did so again just the other day as his post entry indicates:
"Today's Qs For O's WH - 10/20/09"
From this morning’s gaggle in White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ office:
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 –
Let's just stop right there. Jake Tapper referred to Fox News as a "sister organization." That is HUGE, people. His use of that phrase speaks volumes, as he indicates a solidarity with Fox News (good post on that very topic at Commentary Magazine here). Perhaps it is even a bit of a warning shot across the bow that the White House needs to back the hell off from this attack on a major press outlet.
The Q&A continued:
(Crosstalk) 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. -jpt
You know I can't stand Gibbs anyway, that mealy mouthed worm. But Tapper demonstrates what a stand up guy he is by pursuing this line of questioning, and not letting Gibbs, or the White House, off the hook.
I mentioned above that the White House is doing its darndest to completely shut down Fox News. The following video is a good summation of what has happened thus far, the latest attack by the White House, and what the other networks did:
I know, right? They know, I gather, that this time around, it may be Fox News, but next time, it could be CNN, or MSNBC. I would love to think that the solidarity of the major networks was the result of it simply being the right thing to do.
The All Star Panel on Fox News takes this on, too, with a bonus clip of Obama's discussing Fox News:
Uh huh. Sure, he's not losing sleep over it. If he isn't, why are he and his minions going out of their way to ATTACK Fox News? It most certainly IS "breath-taking in its pettiness" as Mr. Barnes put it.
Thomas Jefferson said it best:
"I am... for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the Constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents."
And, when he said this:
"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."
Finally, Thomas Jefferson said this about the importance of a free press and our responsibility to it:
"To preserve the freedom of the human mind... and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will and speak as we think, the condition of man (sic) will proceed in improvement."
Hopefully, that is exactly why the networks are standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue. They know, as we do, that our liberty is at risk when the press is under attack from its government.
Like Jefferson, like the Washington Bureau, like Jake Tapper, like many of you reading this, I stand on the side of a free press, and on the side of our liberty. It is our duty, it is our call, it is our very democracy.