I know I’m not alone in the opinion that the Obama White House is mishandling Fox News. Take a lesson from Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould: the two very respected (albeit from different views on the same side of the argument) evolutionary theorists refused to debate Creation Science publicly because even though they could not lose, the debate implied that the creation “scientists” deserved a place at the table. By acknowledging Fox’s vitriol, the White House’s actions imply that Fox has credibility and must be reckoned with.
Here is my suggestion: a misbehaving child that acts out to get attention should not be afforded the attention, because negative attention is still attention, and in this case, Fox benefits. I say do not ban Fox “reporters” from press conferences. Allow them in. Reward good behavior, punish bad behavior. If a typical inflammatory question is asked, move on to a legitimate news reporter, completely ignoring the Fox representative as if he/she were not present, and take a new question. If a reasonable question is asked, answer it. If the resulting edit that is aired is deliberately chopped to misrepresent, next press conference, don’t take any Fox questions.
Criticism is healthy and necessary to ensure a check and balance on the party in power. Single minded hate filled fear mongering with lies and distortions is not only not healthy, it cannot be allowed to distract from the true messages that need to be published. But “cannot be allowed” does not mean censorship. Let them have their say. Support the real news outlets. Ignore Fox. They are no longer a legitimate news platform; Fox lawyers already won an appeal of a wrongful termination suit by arguing for their right to distort the truth, so one cannot assume that anything they say is true.
By acknowledging their action, the White House diminishes the efforts of the people and networks who are trying to present real news. Trust the intelligence of the people – it got you elected. In time, Fox will be seen as the petty child that it is. By ostracizing them, you rally the news networks that really matter against you. Blue flu, locker room camaraderie, whatever, has them supporting Fox because they’ll be afraid if they dissent they will be treated the same way. That’s why there was too little criticism of Bush. And no, no one is expecting nor wanting a group hug. Just do your jobs. If Fox’s job is to attack everything Obama, then so be it.