|March 17, 2010|
|Obama Enters the Fox's Den|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|As the Old Testament's Daniel entered the lion's den, Barack is poised to enter the Fox's den. |
President Obama plans to appear on Fox News Channel tomorrow, tossing aside one-time White House complaints that Rupert Murdoch's cable network is either the "research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," in the words of ex-communications director Anita Dunn. Or as Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz artfully put it, "Hell has frozen over."
The president isn't going to dignify the abominable Glenn Beck, who famously called Obama a racist, with quality or any face time. That would be way behind the pall. Obama will appear on the 6 p.m. newscast with Bret Baier, a show that gets a fraction of the audience of Beck.
That's okay. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
The president will make a pitch for healthcare reform and show Fox viewers that he is not a card-carrying member of the Communist/Fascist/Green/ Party, as depicted by various Tea Partiers.
He can't expect to win a single convert from the "Party of No." Instead, the president hopes to provide political cover for conservative Democrats, the challenged Blue Dogs, who represent Republican districts. The president wants to ensure Blue Dogs that -- if they support healthcare reform -- they will still have some bark in them after the November elections.
The president gets a big tip of the cap for appearing on Fox, which wears its Obama-bashing as a badge of honor. The just-released state of the media survey conducted by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism verifies what all medialand knows: Fox rules the cable TV roost.
That strength however is largely in its "appointment TV" fare, where loyal fans tune in to hear Beck or Bill O'Reilly. Pew reports the Beck's ratings were up 96 percent in 2009, while the "O'Reilly Factor," showed a healthy 16 percent rise in viewers to the 3.3M mark.
The non-profit group finds that Fox's overall audience for news is shrinking though at a lesser percentage than CNN and MSNBC. On Of Obama's appearance on Fox, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said:
“Obviously they have a pretty big audience share and I think it is safe to say that a lot of members that are undecided are going ... watch and their constituents watch this news,” Gibbs said. “So we are happy to continue the argument on why healthcare reform is important to pass this year on Fox.”
Who knows? Obama's fox trot could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship, or at least a cordial existence between the president and his chief tormentor.
(Image via BrandChannel)
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