Friday, October 23, 2009

The W.H. vs Fox

I don't want to get too involved in this much-covered topic of the White House vs. Fox News other than to touch on it from a what people know perspective.

First, the Obama people lose in this fight, at least when it comes to directly hurting Fox.  Cutting off access to their reporters won't work because Fox doesn't really rely on news to the degree it relies on opinion.  How dare I say this?  When a major story breaks, something stupendous, the CNN numbers quickly eclipse the Fox numbers.  People know where to go for "news" versus "opinion journalism."  I'm not saying this is bad -- indeed it's brilliant -- but the W.H. folks, while they have a point, lose here.

Second, in terms of learning, the Obama folks kinda win.  They raise a few doubts about Fox, though probably not with its loyal audience but they're not going to change anyway.  Negative info is remembered better than positive info.  They're doing to Fox what Fox and talk radio hosts and the like have been doing for years -- pounding away at journalism (and science, for that matter).  In terms of doubt and impression formation/maintenance, not a bad strategy on the Obama administration's part.  Fox needs to stop whining, otherwise they fall into the "dish it out but can't take it" category.

In all, I think the Obama handlers ran the numbers and are taking a calculated, yet minor, risk.  In all, I suspect they kinda win, but only by a field goal, because it raises a point in the minds of many "independents" about whether Fox qualifies as news.

Third, we learn the Obama folks are Nixing it:

It looks
more and more

like 1974. 

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