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Control Freaks

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The breathless scoop comes from a right-wing Web site, World Net Daily, and it's got the videotape, so we can report and you decide:

"President Obama's presidential campaign focused on 'making' the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was 'controlled,' White House Communications Director Anita Dunn disclosed to the Dominican government at a videotaped conference.

" 'Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control,' said Dunn. 'One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters,' said Dunn, referring to Plouffe, who was Obama's chief campaign manager.

" 'We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it,' Dunn said. Continued Dunn: 'Whether it was a David Plouffe video or an Obama speech, a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was. . . . Making the press cover what we were saying.' "

That last point is truly nefarious.

And look how he's behaved as president: Giving interviews to Brian Williams, Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric, Steve Kroft, David Gregory, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Schieffer, John King, Terry Moran, Jim Lehrer, Jay Leno and David Letterman. An obvious attempt to clog the television pipelines with messages from The One.

Footnote: The Dunn video got heavy play last night on Fox News, which also pounced on a high school graduation speech in which she said two of her favorite philosophers are Mother Teresa and Mao Zedong. So now she's being painted as a suspected communist as well.

Freezing out Fox?

The White House is keeping up the Fox assault, with Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod picking up Dunn's it's-not-a-news-organization line on the Sunday shows. Now comes Slate's Jacob Weisberg to argue in Newsweek that journalists should just say no to Fox:

"There is no need to get bogged down in this phony debate, which itself constitutes an abuse of the fair-mindedness of the rest of the media. One glance at Fox's Web site or five minutes' random viewing of the channel at any hour of the day demonstrates its all-pervasive slant. . . .

"Rather than in any way maturing, Fox has in recent months become more boisterous and demagogic. Fox sponsored as much as it covered the anti-Obama 'tea parties' this summer. Its 'fact checking' about the president's health-care proposal is provided by Karl Rove. And weepy Glenn Beck has begun to exhibit a Strangelovean concern about government invading our bloodstream by vaccinating people for swine flu. With this misinformation campaign, Fox stands to become the first network to actively try to kill its viewers. . . .

"Whether the White House engages with Fox is a tactical political question. Whether we journalists continue to do so is an ethical one. By appearing on Fox, reporters validate its propaganda values and help to undermine the role of legitimate news organizations. Respectable journalists -- I'm talking to you, Mara Liasson -- should stop appearing on its programs."

Huh? The liberal boss of a liberal Web site argues that Fox is so conservative that left-leaning journalists should boycott the place -- thereby making it 100 percent conservative? Why not go on and offer a different point of view? Should conservatives stay off MSNBC because they don't like Keith, Rachel, Ed and Chris?


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