Over-hyped Truce?

Ok, there’s been some talk today about a meeting between White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and FNC’s Michael Clemente about a “truce” between the White House and FNC.

I think the term “truce” is vastly over-hyping things. The attacks have been pretty one sided as far as “the war” goes. It’s been all White House practically. It’s the White House that got itself in this mess. It’s the White House that backed itself into a corner. FNC, on the other hand, doesn’t have anything to really back down from. So now we’re hearing the word “truce”. A truce implies that both sides knock it off (see: Olbermann/O’Reilly). What does FNC have to knock off? Glenn Beck’s rhetoric? Not going to happen. FNC doesn’t have anything to gain by throttling Beck. The whole reason Beck was hired by Ailes in the first place, as Beck tells it, is that Ailes wanted the equivalent of the “last defender at the gate” fighting off the hordes. Or something to that effect. Which, whether you like his tactics or not or agree with him or not, is exactly what Beck has been doing. Neutering or restraining Beck does not get you there. A “truce” from FNC’s side makes no sense.

But from the White House’s side, the term “truce” is a must. It needs something to cover its ass as it retreats from a bone headed, ill-thought out line of attack which has backfired more spectacularly than O’Reilly’s Phil Donahue petition all because there are some thin skinned types who think they can play hardball with a news network and win. So maybe FNC will throw the White House a bone, something superficially significant but ultimately tangential or unsubstantial, just to get the whole thing over with because in the very long term this conflict really is bad for both sides. But let’s not misunderstand what’s going on here. This is a truce to save face for the White House, not to make life easier for FNC.

48 Responses to “Over-hyped Truce?”

  1. Here’s a photo of the White House representative signing the truce agreement: Peace at Last.

    That’s Murdoch and Ailes on the right.

    O’Reilly’s steering the ship.

    More seriously, as Spud asks, truce? If true, more like a White House surrender.

  2. I don’t think we’ll know for a long time whether this was a “disaster” or not. If Obama’s team manages to plant the seed in the non-right-wing public’s imagination that FNC is a propaganda machine, they will have won.

  3. If Obama’s team manages to plant the seed in the non-right-wing public’s imagination

    I’m not sure that – the larger public – was their demo or target audience.

    Anyway, as we know, if the unemployment numbers go down, this will all be a early fall storm. If they stay up, pundits will be making all kinds of conclusions about an “out of touch” or “ham fisted” Administration.

    Yeah, sometimes economic determinists have it right.

  4. Steve, I don’t think the rabid left or right are the target. It’s the moderates and independents who will just as likely watch FNC as CNN or MSNBC. Fox isn’t getting the numbers they’re getting from just true believers. It’s also coming from people like me who may not always agree with their POV, but will still listen. Obama doesn’t want too many of those skeptical listeners to stop being skeptical.

  5. Steve, I don’t think the rabid left or right are the target.

    You don’t think it was a “quarantine” attempt? To prevent or “scare off” other news organizations from picking up on Fox stories?

    Although, to be honest, they could have done that much more quietly.

    Maybe you’re right. Stop the bleeding of moderates that polls show Obama’s been losing.

  6. FOX’s ratings went up 10 percent, the rest of the media came to FNC’s defense (including CNN’s Campbell Brown, who grilled Valerie Jarrett on the hypocrisy of not critcizing CNN), and CBS exposed that the White House lied about not trying to block FOX from the pool interview.

    Fox won this war big time. It wasn’t even close.

  7. Re: Campbell Brown, should say the hypocrisy of not criticizing MSDNC.

  8. unclearthur Says:

    The attacks have been pretty one sided as far as “the war” goes. It’s been all White House practically.

    are you kidding? when FNC has been routinely calling Obama a fascist, a racist, a marxist and a dangerous radical destroying our country? twenty-four hours a day seven days a week?

  9. Art, your statement would have some merit if you ever watched Fox.

    So they’re calling him a racist 24/7 huh? Wow. That’s funny. I’ve seen it happen ONCE.

    A fascist? Haven’t seen it. You have one shred of proof it’s happened? Perhaps you’re thinking about your favorite channel, MSDNC, from the Bush years.

    Marxist & dangerous radical. Umm, yeah. On one show. Truth hurts, I guess.

    But 24/7??? Exaggerate much? I musta missed the Obama references during this morning’s Fox & Friends interview with Hulk Hogan.

  10. unclearthur Says:

    Plenty of proof here, Red. Of course you’ll discount it unwatched…

  11. unclearthur Says:

    Chit. Spud, I explicitly backspaced over the player=embedded part of the URL..

  12. Red, don’t you get tired of “Fox wins Obama bad woo hoo”? Kinda simplistic, dontcha think?

  13. Well I won’t discount it without watching it. I watched it again just to remind myself. Now I’ll discount it.

    Does anyone really believe these dishonest ‘mash-ups’ prove anything? You can literally make a clip show like this to prove any point you want. I’ve done it myself as an example of how easy it is to manipulate little blipverts to ‘prove’ whatever you want. I counted any number of spots where they used something from one person on a panel or in a debate but removed the opposing viewpoints that were offered. They cropped Judge Napolitano who made (in my view) very valid points about 1st amendment freedoms (a gag order to a health care company not to talk about the pending bill) and of course left out the parts where he said the Bush administration did things equally bad if not worse–as he has always done. One clip of Megyn Kelly was especially fallacious, where she’s summing up a statement someone else made but they clipped it to make it sound like her own opinion. (A trick Outfoxed use with great effect at least on the gullible). They took a Bret Baier report on some study or other and clipped that too so it would sound like his own words but he was just delivering a news report. I could go on but this is the kind of sleazy agit-prop that Media Matters engages in when they feel like they are backed in a corner and have to throw out something, no matter how risible, to rile up the credulous.

    The clips of Beck and Hannity are probably the most straightforward, or perhaps I should say the least deceitful. They both go over the top. As for the rest, it’s simply dishonest.

    Most notably, even with all the misleading crap that can be squeezed into one five minute clip, there was precious little that backed up the original claim. Obama called a ‘fascist’? A ‘racist’? And it goes on 24/7? As noted above, Beck’s ‘racist’ charge happened once, and he’s rightly taken heat for it. In fact he took heat for it just seconds after it happened, since Brian Kilmeade spoke up and disagreed with him on it. That rarely gets mentioned however.

    I’m wondering if the President being called a ‘fascist’ really upsets you as much as you claim. Or how about calling the President a pathological liar? Or an idiot-in-chief? Saying he is a war criminal perhaps? A wonderful mash-up video of stuff like that–and tons more–could be made just from the commentaries of Keith Olbermann. And it wouldn’t even be necessary to use editing tricks, because none of these would be out of context, and none of these would have to be cropped to remove an opposing point of view (because Olbermann doesn’t allow them on his air).

    But I have to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you just didn’t pick a particularly good example to prove your case. So to prove that FNC ‘routinely’ calls Pres Obama a ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, ‘Marxist’, etc., why don’t you give us some quotes where that has been done by five or six of the people who are on Fox regularly. Let’s say: Shep Smith, Bret Baier, Greta van Susteren, Bill Hemmer, Jon Scott, Jane Skinner, Gerlado Rivera, Mike Huckabee, Julie Banderas… Oh wait, that’s more than five or six. Well, you get the idea. Frankly, I’d be shocked if even ONE of them called President Obama a fascist, but I’m sure you have the facts, so I’m prepared for you to shock me.

  14. unclearthur Says:

    I’m wondering if the President being called a ‘fascist’ really upsets you as much as you claim.

    Hell, it doesn’t upset me at all. I LIKE it when people show their true selves.

    I’d like to draw your attention to the Dick Morris quote, however – no mashup there. He specifically said that not only was Obama destroying the country, he was doing it as such a clip that by the time the 2010 elections roll around, it will already be too late – the country will be in ruins.

    What do you suppose he means when he flat-out states that the current administration is destroying the country too rapidly to be stopped by the natural electoral process? what are you supposed to do if you really believe that? Hmmm?

  15. “I LIKE it when people show their true selves.”

    Then we agree about Olbermann.

    “I’d like to draw your attention to the Dick Morris quote”

    That’s fine, but that’s one contributor. I gave you 7 or 8 names of people who host or anchor on FNC. They make up a good part of that 24/7 during which you claim all this is routinely going on. Do you plan to address that or not?

  16. J$ already destroyed your pathetic argument, but I’ll chime in.

    The 24/7 Obama is a racist/fascist stuff?

    Glenn Beck called him a racist once. Then Beck said, “We’re starting to look at fascism”. Of course, edited without any context whatsover. Just a 3 second clip.

    You just refuted your own point with that hatchet clip.

    Thanks, Art.

  17. unclearthur Says:

    I wasn’t in any confusion as to where either of you two come down, but thanks for making it clear to the casual bystander in any event. Keep it up, guys. It’s all good.

  18. unclearthur Says:

    … and nothing from either of you on what Dick Morris was saying? Buck-buck-bu-CAW…

  19. Art, I don’t care what Beck, Hannity, or the other talking heads have to say any more than I care what Olbermann, Maddow, or Schultz has to say. Or Dobbs over at CNN.

    What I do care about is reporting. The White House’s argument is that Beck/Hannity/O’Reilly, et al. are part of FNC’s news. That’s simply not the case any more than Olbermann and Maddow are MSNBC. Now Fox and Friends is a different matter. FNC says it’s “entertainment”. But they keep doing FNC news reports from FNC news people. So I have a much harder time swallowing that argument for that show and I think FNC is being disingenuous when it tries to carve out an exception for that show whenever one of their hosts does something outrageous.

  20. unclearthur Says:

    Spud – so if a news network’s entire prime time lineup doesn’t, in your book, qualify as ‘news’, how do they get away with continuing to call themselves a ‘news’ network? Which, I think, is the WH point.

  21. Well the same rule would apply to MSNBC then. And even CNN with Larry King would be in violation of that rule. Nobody’s hands are clean in this regard…

  22. unclearthur Says:

    Oh, I’m not arguing against including MSNBC in the Not-News category. I’m just saying it’s kind of a stretch to pretend the WH is saying anything we’re NOT saying when they say Fox isn’t ‘real’ news.

  23. unclearthur Says:

    … and to be fair to MSNBC, I can’t recall any on-air anchor ever pretending to set someone on fire, can you?

  24. […] of the Cable Game’s sources Inside Cable News explains: …the term “truce” is vastly over-hyping things. The attacks have been pretty […]

  25. And I can’t remember any anchor on Fox yelling at the President of the United States to “Shut the hell up!” Can you?


    Now that’s clever. But are you talking to yourself? You made a claim about what FNC does 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I named eight anchors and hosts and asked you to back up your claims regarding them. So far you have talked about everything else EXCEPT that. So are you going to address that and show us where the President is ‘routinely’ called a fascist and a racist by those hosts and on their programs? Or are you going to admit your original charge was hyperbole and simply not true?

    Or will it just be “Buck-buck-bu-CAW…”?

  26. unclearthur Says:

    Okay, Johnny – I’ll plead guilty to hyperbole if you admit you don’t mind a network that encourages sedition.

  27. unclearthur Says:

    … in fact, you PREFER a network that encourages sedition.

  28. “If”? You’re putting conditions on your participation in a debate you started? What does my admitting something have to do with your being intellectually honest? Either you stand by what you said and can back it up, or you take it back because you were wrong. What I admit is entirely irrelevant, and I’m not sure why you see the need to divert the discussion to me before you will agree to tell the truth about your own words.

  29. zonedaiatlas Says:

    I thought “Dissent” is Patriotic? That is what Keith Olbermann has been preaching for years about President Bush on MSNBC, but now a President is a Democrat. If you disagree or ask tough questions about the Obama Administration, you are either a RACIST or “UN-American”. I keep forgetting that only Liberals can dissent and exercise their right of free speech ,and still be Patriotic…

  30. zonedaiatlas Says:

    Do you have any proof that a networks encourages “sedition” or is this what they tell you from Media Matters, Moveon.org, Think Progress and from others to say without any facts to back up your charge?

  31. No, that’s what the sage Joe Klein tells him. That word didn’t just suddenly occur to him.

  32. unclearthur Says:

    Johnny – don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’re not addressing the SUBSTANCE of the issue.

    Is the White House revoking Fox’s FCC license? Pulling WH press passes for FNC reporters? AUDITING Roger Ailes?

    No, they simply said out loud that they’re not going to go along with the pleasant clubby fiction that what Fox produces is news, something everyone knows but lacks the balls to admit. They’re not going to not deal with them, they’re just going to deal with them with the understanding that they’re the propaganda arm of the RNC.

    You want to talk about Intellectual Honesty (which is a hoot, coming from you), talk about that.

  33. unclearthur Says:

    Zoned – once again, I present Dick Morris’ words. Think about what he’s saying, that Obama is destroying the country and by 2010, it will be too late.

    What does that mean, exactly? What ARE you supposed to do, if the legal process of bringing about change in the elected government is too slow to ‘save the country’ from the evils of Obama?

    Did anyone say “whoa, Dick… going a bit far, don’t you think?” No, they agreed with him.

  34. unclearthur Says:

    That word didn’t just suddenly occur to him.

    HA! Yeah, I need JOE KLEIN to teach me all the big words??

  35. “Johnny – don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’re not addressing the SUBSTANCE of the issue.”

    I addressed a charge you made. I replied to you. I’m not the one who keeps changing the subject: your preposterous, nonsensical charge about what Fox News airs 24/7. So far you have been utterly unable to back it up, and apparently unwilling to admit you were wrong. There’s the substance, and guess who’s trying to avoid it?

    “Is the White House revoking Fox’s FCC license?”

    Not sure what this has to do with your claim, but to inject a note of reality: the FCC has nothing to do with anything in this discussion. The FCC has no jurisdiction whatsoever over the content of cable, including cable news. There is no such thing as an FCC license to run a cable station.

  36. unclearthur Says:

    Okay, Johnny – try this; has the WH done ANYTHING other than state that they recognize what FNC is?

    God, you’re a FNC-sycophant. (<– lookie there, Laural; Joe Klein must have taught me that.)

  37. Um Art… FNC routinely calls the President a ‘fascist’, a ‘racist’, a ‘Marxist’, and they do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s what you said. That’s why I disagreed with. Again you don’t want to respond to 6:41 pm where I named eight FNC hosts and asked you to point out what you claimed on their programs. Instead you want to leap to the defense of the White House. In this discussion where exactly have I even brought up the White House? YOU keep bringing it up, apparently to change the subject from your own reckless charges.

    Let’s make a deal here. If you’re not going to address my response to your smear of Fox News programming–either back up what you said or admit you were wrong–then just say so. I won’t waste your time and you won’t waste any more of mine.

    And by the way, I’m sure Klein didn’t teach you ‘sycophant’. Name calling probably comes natural to you. It is, after all, the first sign of losing an argument.

  38. unclearthur Says:

    I won’t waste your time and you won’t waste any more of mine.

    tell you what, Johnny-bob-and-weave, I will be glad to ignore you henceforth, now that you’ve made it clear what your agenda is.

    It is, after all, the first sign of losing an argument.

    HA! Good one.

  39. FNC sometimes has hosts/guests who say inflammatory things about Obama. MSNBC sometimes has hosts/guests who said/say inflammatory things about Bush. Not exactly Breaking News, is it? CNN sometimes has hosts/guests…who read tweets and e-mail.

  40. unclearthur Says:

    FNC sometimes has hosts/guests who say inflammatory things about Obama. MSNBC sometimes has hosts/guests who said/say inflammatory things about Bush. Not exactly Breaking News, is it? CNN sometimes has hosts/guests…who read tweets and e-mail.


    If Bush ever gave an interview to Olbermann, the Fox defenders might have a leg to stand on.

  41. WHAT??? Olbermann doesn’t interview conservatves/Republicans. You know that. He’s too much of a coward. Even liberals who disagree with Olbermann don’t get a second invitation.

    For the record, Bush sat down for interviews with NBC numerous times.

    Quit trying to pull stuff out of your a$$. You lost the argument, and you know it. Slither back under your rock and don’t come out until you come up with something intelligent to say that you didn’t read off TPM.

  42. unclearthur Says:

    And Red comes through with another valuable addition to the debate… Go, team!

  43. Your next valuable addition to the debate would be your first.

  44. unclearthur Says:

    *snicker* Now Red thinks he’s valuable and it’s all my fault.

  45. No, I’m just waiting for your first valuable comment. Tick, tick, tick….

    Your argument got destroyed. You backpedaled like a weasel. Couldn’t man up and admit you were wrong.

    But then, what else could we expect. That happens every time you spill your anti-Republican, conservative, Fox drivel.

  46. imnotblue Says:

    This disappoints me. I have been saying for MONTHS that Art doesn’t like to answer questions he doesn’t want to answer! He’ll talk about what HE wants to talk about, say whatever he wants to say, get called out, get proven wrong, and it’s not his responsibility to admit, apologies, or even recognize his fallacies and lies.

    This is nothing new… just another example!

    Remember… you can’t spell, “Art is a hack,” without “Art.” 😉

  47. […] Sounds like White House spin to me – and Inside Cable News. […]

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