Obama, Mainstream Reporters and Fox News, Pt. II

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Yesterday's post on Fox News provoked an interesting discussion, and I wanted to follow up today with a few thoughts. Dave Weigel at the Washington Independent thought I'd missed the point of the White House's derisive comments about Fox. "You miss the point. It's specifically about the WH pressuring reporters not to take seriously/chase Glenn Beck scoops/stories," he Tweeted. Fair enough. The White House doesn't want less ideological news outlets going bananas over ACORN or the Czars. Media Matters has a very funny and telling video about Fox News here. But is the best way to "cauterize," to use Weigel's term, the wound a public attack on Fox? We'll see. Mother Jones's David Corn has his doubts, too. I think the whole episode will only elevate Fox. Politico has a much talked about story today that suggests the Fox comments are part of a larger White House effort to redefine the GOP.

Other folks criticized me for noting that a lot of Democrats and independents watch Fox. The latest Pew survey results are here. Fox's audience is more Republican and conservative than the other cable news networks, but it still has a substantial audience of Democrats and independents. I still wonder why the White House would want to disengage from them. In an age when there will be more and not fewer opinion-driven news outlets, these questions won't go away for Obama or his successor.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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