Decide for yourself what the most disgraceful aspect of this is. Was it the fact that Gibbs told Jake Tapper explicitly on Monday that the White House wouldn’t try to dictate to the press pool who should and shouldn’t be included — before doing precisely that? Was it Anita Dunn going out of her way to say she respects Major Garrett as a fair reporter — before the administration decided he didn’t deserve a crack here at Feinberg? Or was it the repeated insistence by Dunn and Axelrod that of course the administration will make its officials available to Fox — before pulling the plug today?
The other networks deserve the praise they’re getting for standing up to the Baby-in-Chief, but if they had acquiesced in this freezeout, a precedent would have been set that would have been eagerly used by future Republican presidents to close them off too. And don’t think they weren’t all keenly aware of it.
Speaking privately at the White House on Monday with a group of columnists and commentators, including Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Bob Herbert of The New York Times, President Obama himself gave vent to sentiments about the network, according to people briefed on the conversation…
Mr. Clemente suggested that the fight with Fox was part of a larger White House strategy to marginalize critics. He cited a report in Politico about a strategy session in August at which officials discussed plans to move more aggressively against opponents.
White House officials acknowledged that Fox News did come up at that meeting, although not, they said, as a central topic. A number of issues had been added to the White House’s list of grievances by then, including the network’s heavy coverage of some of the more heavily anti-administration commentary at town-hall-style meetings on health care and Mr. Beck’s remark that Mr. Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.”