ABC’s Sam Donaldson Tells Obama to Take On Fox News

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Today on ABC’s This Week, Sam Donaldson urged President Obama to stand up to and take on Fox News. Donaldson said, “President Obama, don’t be afraid of them. Take them on, and let the people judge.”

Here is the video on the roundtable discussion on This Week:

While speaking out the Shirley Sherrod story, Sam Donaldson compared racist witch hunts at Fox News to McCarthyism, “But I think, except for her, there’s enough blame to go around for everyone here. The people who maliciously and with intention misrepresented the facts, I mean, I — I believe in the First Amendment. There’s nothing you can do about them, although you wish for Joseph Welch to say as he did to Joe McCarthy when Joe McCarthy was destroying someone on television, have you no decency, at last?”

He also had a message for President Obama, “But from the standpoint of Obama and the administration, who are these people that they should pay attention to and be afraid of? Who’s Glenn Beck? I mean, who’s Bill O’Reilly? Who’s Brett whatever his name is?… I want to quote another president who also said he had enemies, I’m going to — of financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sexism. They are unanimous in their hatred for me, and I welcome their hatred, said Franklin Roosevelt, who said I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. So, President Obama, don’t be afraid of them. Take them on, and let the people judge. You may lose, but if you lose, you will lose grandly.”

The tactics Fox News has been employing are straight out of the playbook of Sen. Joe McCarthy, and that is not a coincidence. Fox News intentionally targets African Americans who are relatively unknown and easily defined. Much like McCarthy was, they are bullies pick on those who can’t fight back. (Actually very few people have the resources to fight back against a 24/7 cable news network). Donaldson brought up a great point here. If Fox News was an actual news organization, they would not go around inventing baseless scandals and attacks.

On his second point, Donaldson’s advice to Obama concerning Fox News, I agree that there is no reason why this administration should give Fox credibility that they don’t have. If Obama is worried about FNC, he shouldn’t be. Fox News viewers represent a tiny sliver of America. These are also the people who would not support Obama under any circumstances. They can’t be swayed, and their closed minded objections render them irrelevant for political purposes.

I think it would be a mistake for Obama to go after Fox News, because that is what they want. Instead of giving credibility to their attack machine, Obama should ignore them. Fox News needs Obama to engage them. The worst thing that could happen to FNC would be if Obama simply didn’t acknowledge them. The president listened to them once and was made to look like a fool, so let’s hope that his administration has learned something from this embarrassment, and tunes out Fox News.

16 Replies to “ABC’s Sam Donaldson Tells Obama to Take On Fox News”

  1. Obama has already made it clear that Fox News lacks the credibility of a real journalistic network. He should stick to that decision. That means he should not react to the bull that they sling, esp when it affects the lives and livelihoods of government employees. He likes to measure his decisions carefully. I would like to remind him to work on consistency in that regard, and not overreact to the blather and bluster of the blogosphere.

  2. this really says it all…

    If Fox News was an actual news organization, they would not go around inventing baseless scandals and attacks.

    Jonathan Alter said this week that Pres. Obama should not be the one fighting with Fox, he has MUCH more important things to do, but his “people” definitly should be on TV day in and day out blasting Fox for the insanity they air as news and for the lies and distortions told about our president and his policies!

  3. I agree that it really isn’t Obama’s place to be taking on FNC, but I also think that FNC can’t be left unchallenged either, but this is where the media needs to do their job, and police their own instead of worrying about ratings.

  4. The problem in this most recent situation most definitely was the administration’s complete overreaction. They need to stop give Fox the credibility that they don’t deserve.

  5. I agree that it would be a mistake for PO to personally go after FOX News, but that doesn’t mean that his party and supporters shouldn’t aggressively counter the lies and false narratives propagated by FOX.

    While it’s true that only a small segment of the public actually watches FOX, the content of their message is bounced around internet blogs, between neighbors and coworkers, hashed out on radio talk shows (95% are right-wing), and repeated on other networks, including local TV stations and newspapers. I should know — I live in one of the reddest states in the country. I haven’t watched FOX for years, but it’s gotten to the point that I can’t even stand to watch the local news because they feature the latest FOX “political scandal” in their “national news” segments.

    When conservatives, both local and national, spout the same nonsense about PO almost verbatim, it’s pretty clear they’re all getting the same message.

  6. Journalists who actually practice journalism with professional integrity could make a huge difference.

    As far as the ratings angle: Politico recently admitted that even though posting on Palin “degrades their discourse,” they do it to generate traffic. Big surprise. They are the rule, rather than the exception.

    Everyone wants to be successful. Understandable, but I personally don’t know some of these reporters can sleep at night if they have any professional integrity at all.

  7. Wow, I had almost forgotten about Sam Donaldson! I guess they went and got him from his ranch in Hondo…

  8. Many seem to forget that Obama has already given his view of Fox and it’s so called news some time ago! As usual Obama was criticized for constitutional rights and the first amendment. The President simply cannot win the “message” war. He’s not afraid; he just can’t get the support needed to challenge Fox News. When the main news agencies and cable networks repeat the ramblings of Fox on 24/7 cycles, a lot of people believe their trusted networks. America has been so dumbed down by corporate news media that Sarah Palin can simply make a false or misleading statement on twitter or Facebook and the networks treat the random comments as if they’re serious press conferences. Outside of Rachel Maddow and Keith O of MSNBC, most of real journalism is dead on the networks. The don’t have the courage to stand up for what’s right or for the truth. For those of you who are frustrated with the main stream media’s lack of integrity and refuse to be dumbed down by the cable networks, please continue to support this site and pass it along to your friends. I think we should consider this “Sherrod” incident as a blessing in disguise. Initially I thought everyone was a victim except Fox news and the perpetrator. CNN was finally able to deliver a real story but it was more Sherrod herself that pushed for her own extraordinary truth. Most news organizations want to witch hunt the White House. But the facts of this story dramatically demonstrate that Americans need to challenge Fox news and seriously examine the agendas of the Right Wing.

  9. FNC is the only news channel that matters. No one watches the other ones. FNC completely laps them in ratings.

  10. The All Barack Channel is still on? Fox News is the only channel that actually reports the news, not the misguided stories the members of JourNolist have complied. I wish he would visit Fox we all would be glad to have some REAL questions answered. All your reports that DO NOT report the news are part of the problem and it is no wonder NO ONE watches. We The People are not stupid and can and have figured it out on our own. You have continued to drink the Kool-aid and are all on the path to the edge of the cliff with your messiah. You wonder why your ratings are in the tank?, take a look in the mirror.

  11. Jason/good article. Obviously you hit a nerve because the trolls decided to stop by and try and change the subject.
    Faux News is a propaganda tool. They lie about lying – they are also race baiting and fomenting violence, hardly a news media outlet.
    It is a shame that FauxNews watchers never see any other side, but it is a viable way to express their latent hatred and racism for the Black American who is our President.

  12. For some reason I cannot reply directly so I will reply this way.
    Robyn the retard, Fuck news skews it views so far that even at time its own reports (they call themselves that not me) trip over the lies that fall from their prewritten worded mouths and the truth comes out which the next day they of course have to take it all back or lose their jobs.

  13. Although Fox “News” is the poster child for right-wing propaganda, they are not alone. The bottom line is that Americans must become more involved as consumers of news in separating fact from fiction. See

  14. What she further leaves out is that they had the common decency NOT TO GO FOR THE STORY because they tried to spare her and her kids. Unlike sarah who goes for the kill (literally) knowing its a LIE about someone else! She has absolutely no shame that woman.
    “I agree that it would be astonishing. But I think it’s quite possible – on this, or some other drama or two – that Palin got away with something in Alaska and so didn’t bother to mention it to the McCain gang. She has spent virtually her entire life in Alaska, and surely underestimates the scrutiny she is now under.”

  15. Obama himself doesn’t need to go after FOX, but he need people out there everyday reminding the country of this network’s non-stop lies and their agenda. FOX is a propaganda machine for the do-nothing Party of No which was a return to power at any cost. So, the message against them and their obstruction of important legislation needs to be accompanied by a constant challenge to the falsehoods and slander FOX Noise likes to engage in.

  16. I will not support any business that has that propaganda station blasting away in their waiting rooms. I once went for a job interview and canceled it when they had that channel on. Can you imagine having to listen to that all day when its diametrically the opposite of what you know the truth to be?

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