See, the Obama administration just called out Fox as "an opponent" instead of a "legitimate news organization." But Ailes and Axelrod had coffee last week! What's up?
If the Obama White House treats Fox News as the research and propaganda arm of the opposition, Brian Stelter and the Times treat the cable channel more like a foreign nation that the current administration doesn't officially recognize. With Roger Ailes as Foreign Minister and flacks acting as diplomats, Fox and MSNBC work toward detente, the Obama administration refuses to normalize relations without a reduction in arms, the network seeks high-profile defections from John Stossel and Lou Dobbs, and there are rumors of secret treaties between O'Reilly and Olbermann.
As always, Fox pretends to be a regular news station that broadcasts actual news, but, amusingly, they admit to keeping to that high standard only when the unemployed are watching:
Fox argues that its news hours - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays - are objective. The channel has taken pains recently to highlight its news programs, including the two hours led by Shepard Smith, its chief news anchor. And its daytime newscasts draw more viewers than CNN or MSNBC's prime-time programs.
Yes, they are at pains to point out that they have one fantastic, independent, entertaining news anchor, who adheres to a reality-based interpretation of events. And besides: isn't nine hours of truth a day enough for you monsters?
There is a degree to which the entire "war" is mutually beneficial, with both sides firing up the base. But we imagine the Obama White House has also been surprised by the depths of Fox's irresponsibility (witch-hunting, actively organizing and promoting protests of the president's legitimacy, everything Glenn Beck does and says). It's within their power to rein in O'Reilly with flattery, but there's obviously nothing to be done about the rest of Fox's non-"news hours" personalities. They're a bunch of Ahmadinejads.