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.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association