Last September, President Obama appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows in one day to promote health care reform, but did not sit down with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace — a snub that was considered “the first real shot from the White House” in its clash with Fox News. Appearing on the O’Reilly Factor after news of the snub broke, Wallace attacked the White House, claiming there was a “kind of childishness or pettiness” to the decision. “They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington,” said Wallace.
In an interview with the Hoover Institution’s Peter Robinson that was posted on National Review today, Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes distanced himself from Wallace, saying that the Obama administration wasn’t “whining over nothing”:
ROBINSON: Do you subscribe to the statement of your news host Chris Wallace that the Obama administration is “the biggest bunch,” he said, “the biggest bunch of crybabies” that he’s dealt with in his 30 years in Washington?
AILES: That was his…
ROBINSON: They’re whining over nothing!
AILES: Well, I don’t think they’re whining over nothing and I think they have — look, there’s legitimate complaints that they could have. And I’ve had this dialogue with David Axelrod, who I like very much and, there are legitimate areas. I mean, Chris said that, that’s his words, that’s what he believes, and he had reason to believe that. But I don’t think its helpful to say that.
Ailes didn’t provide any examples of what he considered the administration’s “legitimate areas” of concern with Fox’s coverage, but he essentially demonstrated Fox’s contempt for Obama later in the interview when he described the President’s health care reform efforts as “a voter registration plan.” “As long as you can get 300 million people getting a check from the government, they’re going to vote a certain way,” declared Ailes. Watch it:
The Obama administration does indeed have “legitimate complaints” about Fox News. Not only has the network gleefully promoted the anti-Obama tea parties and anti-health care reform townhall protests, but last March, Fox News’ Senior Vice President for Programming Bill Shine told NPR that the network was “the voice of opposition on some issues.” For his own part, Ailes has reportedly declared that the network is “the Alamo” in terms of challenging the Obama administration “until the last shot is fired.”