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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 12:26 PM ET, 01/12/2012

Fox News on White House press corps: Lazy and liberal

Andrea Tantaros will be getting some attention for remarks that she made on this morning’s Fox & Friends. In a discussion of the quality of White House reportage, she said this: “Reporters are typically two things ... they’re lazy and they’re liberal.”

Dumb, facile, sweeping, tendentious. In other words, boilerplate Fox. But what prompted such inanity? That would have been a question posed by Fox’s Eric Bolling. Here it is:

The White House is trying to downplay the hype over the new book “The Obamas” by Jodi Kantor, which claims there’s a lot of tension between the East Wing and the West Wing.... But why is the supposed insider information about the Obamas coming out in the form of a new book and not exposed by the White House press corps or the mainstream media?

Though Bolling’s question isn’t a statement, it carries premises that scream out for a fact-check or three.

1) Regarding the “insider information”: Yes, there are some new tidbits from the Kantor book, including the revelations about tensions between the East Wing and the West Wing, tensions that, indeed, the White House has sought to minimize. There are also tensions that have persisted in just about every administration because, as Kantor noted in her book, “The White House is an office, home, and museum all at once...”

However! The amount of news and investigative nuggets contained in the book do not amount to a scold-the-White-House-press-corps moment. In fact, you could make a good argument in the opposite direction: That Kantor spent two years digging, digging and digging on the machinations of this institution — 33 aides, she says. And the revelations, such as they are, suggest that our day-to-day White House watchers are catching just about everything.

2) “Coming out in the form of a new book.” As if a book is a problem. It’s a form of media, Eric Bolling. Does Fox have some problem with books? Or does the channel trade only in misleading roundtable discussions? Oh yeah, didn’t Bill O’Reilly just write a book? And did it shame the lazy-and-liberal Lincoln White House press corps?

3) “Not exposed by the White House press corps”: Well, Kantor’s book says that she is a “Washington correspondent” for the New York Times. That’s not the same as “White House correspondent,” but it’s not a huge difference, either. Before working on the book, Kantor profiled the Obamas in the New York Times Magazine and did stories for the paper on the administration.

4) “Not ... the mainstream media”: From where does Bolling believe this book originated? Some algorithm? He needs to read but one review of the book to understand that it started with a piece by Kantor in the New York Times Magazine. So, like a lot of good, long-form investigative journalism about our federal government, this project started with a big downpayment by the mainstream media. Now, if Fox doesn’t consider the New York Times Magazine mainstream media, then Fox has changed its inventory of mainstream media organizations. If so, Fox, please update the list on your Web site.

To sum up the entire thing, best as I can: Reporters for the mainstream media are too lazy, too liberal and too cozy with the Obamas to write anything critical about them, unless the criticism appears in book form, in which case Fox is too lazy and conservative to understand where it came from.

By  |  12:26 PM ET, 01/12/2012

 
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