Former Bush Press Secretary: Obama's Criticism Of Fox Akin To Chavez Tactics
On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace made sure to devote plenty of time to covering President Obama's "war on Fox News"; he even played a clip of Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables talking about "the Chicago way" of getting things done. Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino sharply criticized the Obama administration's tactics and expressed absolute shock at the example the United States was setting for "the free press in emerging democracies," comparing the criticisms of Fox News to when "Hugo Chavez shuts down television stations":
PERINO: That was a coordinated, calculated attack. It was unbecoming. And if you look at some of the coverage of what mainstream media covers when, for example, somebody like a Hugo Chavez shuts down television stations, he calls them illegitimate.
Now, I'm not suggesting that this White House believes that they are going to come over here and shut down Fox News. But they are defining a narrative in their first year, and it's going to be very hard to recover from it. [...]
Through our State Department, we are trying to help emerging democracies get journalists and government officials to talk to one another, because freedom of the press is essential to any democracy. Believe me, they are watching this, and they have -- surely are raising questions.
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The Obama administration, according to Reporters Without Borders, is actually setting quite a strong example of press freedom for the world. In 2008, the organization found that in terms of press freedom, the U.S. ranked 36th out of 173 countries. Its report singled out "wars carried out in the name of the fight against terrorism" as a cause for the steep decline in press freedoms around the world. Just one year later, the United States has jumped from 36th to 20th. "Barack Obama's election as president and the fact that he has a less hawkish approach than his predecessor have had a lot to do with this," concluded Reporters Without Borders.