This cartoon comments on the White House’s recent dismissal of Fox News as not being a legitimate news agency. Fox has responded by framing it as an attack by the Executive Branch on the “Fourth Estate” of journalism, and other news outlets have apparently taken the bait.
Quite a few people have said that even if the White House is right (and they are), this is political suicide on Obama’s part. To be quite honest, if this is true, I think it’s something to be proud of him for doing, because that would make it a sacrifice on his part for the betterment of truth in journalism. Perhaps the White House shouldn’t have gone after Fox by name, and instead attacked all “news” agencies that have gone to court arguing their right to lie, but that would still single Fox out specifically, so why split hairs?
The issue here is not that Fox is “conservative,” as if objective news has a political slant–it’s that Fox contributes directly to the mass-circulation of lies, and that is their primary business. One needs to only Google foxnews.jpg to see a huge collage of headline screencaps demonstrating how truly poisonous Fox is to the national discourse–I mean, “Is Mr. Rogers Ruining Kids?” Really?
Fox has asserted that the White House is improperly conflating their opinion programming with their news programming. This is typical misdirection. Fox blurs the line between opinion programming and news programming so much that even if any distinction exists, it’s impossible to identify where it begins. MediaMatters has a very good article citing many examples of opinion bleeding over into Fox’s “news” segments. It’s like having a newspaper where almost every section is opinion reporting, and the news section takes up no more space than the comics–and even that has opinions slipped in here and there.
I wanted my cartoon to symbolize Fox’s dishonesty while also explaining why the White House might want to distance itself from them. Fox questions the President’s legitimacy as a US citizen, stokes racial tensions, funds and supports “tea-bagger” protests, says Obama is a Muslim (while making this out to be a bad thing), and tacitly encourages violence against both the President and other liberals, so it’s not unreasonable to consider their lies a direct threat to his safety, and even his life, nor is it much of a surprise that he wouldn’t want people taking them seriously.