Mark Twain was one smart dude.

Not only is he famous for uttering that the coldest winter he ever endured was a “summer in San Francisco,” but he also cautioned about the folly of public urination wars with the media…..or “”Never get into an argument with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

With all the newspapers that are folding, it may not be the best time to buy stock in news print companies, but that does not mean that Mark Twain was not correct, even in this digital age. Taking on a major newspaper in Twain’s time or a major television network in this time is a no-win proposition…..the paper or the network controls the means of disseminating information and always has the last word.

What is ironic is the Obama administration is following the same path as the Nixon administration. Yes, they may be miles and miles apart, but the attacks against Fox News www.foxnews.com by the White House Communications Director Anita Dunn bring back images of Spiro Agnew complaining about the “nattering nabobs of negativism.” This ghastly comparison was not lost on Chuck Raasch at USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/raasch/2009-10-14-common-ground_N.htm

It was also did not escape the attention of Bill O’Reilly at Fox http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,565102,00.html, who gleefully reported on the White House taking on the number one cable news channel in the ratings. Fox’s Chris Wallace got into the act as well saying that in his three decades in DC, he was never seen a more whiny communications arm for a president than this present crowd.

What is really curious is that Barack Obama consented to a lengthy sit-down interview with O’Reilly, which by all accounts was tough, but fair. For that matter, his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the primary also answered O’Reilly’s questions on camera.

Some may have concluded in the West Wing that taking on evil Fox News was the best way to fire up the left wing of the Democratic Party, who are grumbling about potentially losing the public option in health care, sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan and failing to overturn the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military.

The USA Today’s Raasch gets it right. By attacking Fox News, the White House is essentially taking on the millions of viewers who choose Fox via their respective remote controls. You would think the White House will want the votes of these people in next year’s midterm elections, and of course in 2012.

Advertisements