SPJ: Representatives of the 4th and 5th Estates—or …

October 23, 2009



You told me the other day that you might say something about the way the White House is attempting to marginalize, target and ice out Fox News if the folks there pulled credentials or limited access.
Now I’m really no apologist for Fox News but examples are beginning to accumulate of the White House limiting Fox News’ access.
Besides pointedly not appearing on Fox News Sunday a few weeks ago after appearing on every other show there is this factoid from Charles Krauthamer today (here),

…on Thursday, the administration tried to make them [the rest of the media] complicit in an actual boycott of Fox. The Treasury Department made available Ken Feinberg, the executive pay czar, for interviews with the White House “pool” news organizations — except Fox. The other networks admirably refused, saying they would not interview Feinberg unless Fox was permitted to as well. The administration backed down.

What did then Sigma Delta Chi do about Richard Nixon and his enemies list and his attempted intimidation of the NY Times, Washington Post and networks? Did you go to bat for free and unfettered journalism then? Will you sit by silently and spectate this outrage while this White House does the same thing Richard Nixon did—only worse? When Fox News is properly contained and the other networks are schooled in what will happen to them if they cover stories the White House doesn’t like, will you, SPJ, have any capital left to go to the White House and demand transparency and free access for your members and by extension the American people?
Thanks for hearing me out.

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