Containment? It’s Still Dumb

October 21, 2009

I can appreciate the Wow quality of someone, Ben Smith at Politico in this case, quickly and concisely naming what we've been debating for some time – why is the WH focusing so much on Fox News push back? The reality is, it's still a bad idea because of this WH's limited, top down view of the world.

But I think Mike Allen and Josh Gerstein nail the real explanation in their story today: The White House is working to prevent stories born on Fox from crossing over into more widely-viewed media. Most Americans still haven’t heard of Van Jones, for instance; and the strategy is now all about containment…

So what if Fox and some others, Right wing talk, for example, are effectively walled off, somehow? In the first place it likely won't work. But even if it did, it's still the American people with ever more media and sources to get their news that you ultimately have to control.

The American people are smarter than this White House in my opinion. They have an inherent ability to see and appreciate good information and BS when they come upon them, no matter where it turns up. That's why more and more people have already begun tuning into Fox.

Keep it up WH guys. By the time you're done with this nonsense, Right-side media will be bigger and stronger than it is already because it's driven by what the American people think and decide – not some editorialist for the fast going bankrupt New York Times

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  1. xerocky says:

    2 points:
    a) Doesn’t it kind of say it all that most Americans have not heard of Van Jones? To me that in of its self proves that the rest of the non Fox media does in fact have a very pronounced bias.
    b) This is from Anita MonCrief’s counter claim, paragraph 25…
    ” MonCrief initially attempted to contact members of the press, including Stephanie Strom of the New York Times, to share her information. MonCrief participated in ongoing discussions with Strom, contributing information that Strom used in various ACORN exposes during 2008. However, just weeks before the 2008 presidential elections, Strom told MonCrief THAT HER EDITORS ASKED HER NOT TO FOLLOW UP ON OR PRINT DAMAGING INFORMATION regarding ACORN due to its potentially deleterious effects (Strom used the term “game- changer”) on the electoral success of then-candidate Barack Obama. ”
    The fact that the NYT is almost bankrupt is capitalism’s way of saying “your fired”, in this case for simply failing to do its job, and willingly so at that. So in a way I feel for the writers. Strom at the very least tried to do her job. The partisan slant comes from the tippy top.

  2. mlshoe says:

    Fos News: The news the White House doesn’t want you to know.

  3. Bri says:

    Media industry Buyoff, er, bailout coming in 3, 2,…

  4. Andrea says:

    JFK was right:
    ” No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.
    I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers–I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: “An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.
    Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.”
    From a speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association, Apr. 27, 1961

  5. Sam says:

    Their goal is to discredit and marginalize anything on Fox, which would reduce Fox’s future potential — setting up a “who are you gonna trust, Obama or -those guys-“.

  6. David says:

    I’d like to agree with the post. However, the fact that most Americans still haven’t heard of Van Jones tells me that the containment strategy is working.

  7. gk1 says:

    Im not so sure using Van Jones name recognition among the american public as a barometer on Fox containment is necessarily a valid test. As political junkys we need to remember the great bulk of this country is just trying to make it through the day and has limited bandwidth for this sort of thing. Also, Van was tossed under the bus pretty efficiently. I think from the time I saw Van Jones and the viral youtube of him calling republicans a-holes to the time of his gutless resignation sunday night was what, 3 weeks? I just don’t think walling off Fox will work and its pretty clear its backfiring with Fox’s soaring ratings. The other media outlets may be biased, but they won’t want to sit back and go broke either.

  8. Mike K says:

    I’m reading Steven Hayward’s book, Age of Reagan. Nothing has changed except the presence of the internet and talk radio. Reagan got as much accomplished as he did, and it was a fraction of what he wanted to get done, only because he could reach over the heads of the TV networks and the NY Times. Bush was a poor speaker and could not. The ability of the people to educate themselves about what is going on has never been better. On the other hand, American education institutions, up to and including university undergraduates, has never been worse. It will be interesting to see if the new media can compensate for the weakness of the older institutions.

  9. AST says:

    They don’t understand or even like freedom. They never did. They’re Commun-ity Organizers, counting on blocks of ignorant, gullible people too dumb to think for themselves. If they’re not ignorant already, they’ll make sure they are by telling them whom to listen to.
    They think democracy means voting Democratic and keeping your mouth shut. Holder’s DOJ just issued an opinion that local elections cannot be non-partisan because white people won’t vote for an African American candidate unless he’s on a Democratic ticket, therefore you have to have the Demomcratic Party on the ticket to assure that blacks get a fair chance.

  10. Lummox JR says:

    I think containment has been in place for a long time really, so the strategy is nothing new; it’s merely failing more often, more quickly, and more spectacularly than it has in the past. Credit Breitbart for some of that and, yes, credit Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. They increasingly can’t be contained not just because a large swath of the public distrusts the mainstream media, but because their detractors are highly networked and incredibly vocal. Anything the right says (or is alleged to say) that they find too outrageous, they’ll complain about. The mob mentality trying to topple Beck becomes a phenomenon in itself, impossible to ignore, which in turn shifts attention to what he’s been reporting and to the more uncomfortable question of why the “regular” press hasn’t been reporting it.

  11. mojo says:

    “more widely-viewed media”?
    I’d have to question that. Fox is beating CNN & MSDNC like a cheap rug.

  12. xerocky says:

    “. I think it’s that they know Glenn Beck’s been after Jones for weeks and it pains them too much to give him credence by following his lead. It’s analogous to the NYT refusing to review Michelle’s book even though she’s been number one on their own bestseller list for more than a month. Who cares if her thesis about Obama’s culture of corruption is correct and newsworthy and obviously of great public interest? They’re not going to help promote the work of someone whom they dislike. The state of the media, 2009. ”
    So powerfully true. They’re not going to report on something that they have no liberal answer for. It’s chilling really.

  13. Maddog says:

    The White House is taking two actions here. The first is poking Fox with a stick. The second is patting the Apparatchik Media on the head and praising them for their loyalty.
    The term “teachers pet” is a pejorative not an accolade. The people leaving the Apparatchik Media realize that they do not wish to hear the teachers pet(s) regurgitate the treacle-laced pabulum the White House is feeding them. This will only accelerate the demise of the media and reduce the President in the eyes of the electorate.

  14. mrkwong says:

    I’m trying to think of the right metaphor for this.
    The media gets readers and viewers by putting out new stuff that people want to see.
    The administration is trying to argue, contrary to every reliable ratings indicator, that what Fox et al does isn’t new, and people don’t want to see it.
    So it’s not necessarily a bad thing, in the longer term, if these outlets take the administration’s advice; all they’re doing is walling themselves off from potential viewers and readers.
    In the short term it makes it a bit harder to get the word out; in the longer term it helps put NYT, WashPost, CNN, even MSNBC in a box under six feet of dirt that much faster.

  15. Dave Boz says:

    What’s the likelihood that CNN et al even care about stories that originate on Fox? It’s more likely that they’re thrilled to be government-approved media, as long as the government doing the approving is of their own party. When a Republican administration is sworn in, their fierce independence will re-assert itself.

  16. mark l. says:

    side note for wapo finances…
    the parent corp owns kaplan test prep. they aren’t reliant upon the paper’s income. they are making gobs and gobs of money, and the wapo is like paying upkeep on a retarded child. No finanical value, but good pr.

  17. Victor Erimita says:

    I’m afraid I have trouble sharing your optimism about how smart American voters are. After last year’s demonstration of the shocking gullibility of Americans, who allowed the media to select both candidates and determine the winner, I have my doubts. I wonder how many Americans know who Joe Biden is, let alone Van Jones. Sure, I am somewhat heartened by Obama’s plunging polls. But I suspect that is largely due to lost jobs, actual and feared. The sad fact is a very large swath of American bought Bush-is-Satan-Obama-is-the-messiah narrative over the last several years, and that was almost entirely shaped by a media that is supposedly dying and impotent. Look how many “alternative” websites talk about what Bill Maher said last night, or what SNL will do with this or that political event. So long as our culture treats its comedians like sages, its flyover peasants as rubes and so on, it allows the elites to control the narrative and the agenda. I don’t see a lot to be optimistic about there.

  18. Iben Hakenluggis says:

    It’s just another Obama Smokescreen ….

  19. bandit says:

    They don’t know who he is because he’s gone, though not gone enough.