Staff Editorial: The White House criticizes Fox, oversteps bounds

It's no secret that the Democrats don't like Fox News.

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's decidedly conservative network has dogged Democratic policy for years, even going so far as to heinously not fall to the charm of then-Sen. Barack Obama that so afflicted the other major networks in the months before last year's election.

The enmity between liberals and Fox, however, in no way excuses recent statements issued from the White House that call Fox's objectivity into question.

According to the "Media Decoder Blog" on the New York Times' Web site, "Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, asserted in recent interviews that there is little difference between the news and opinion shows, save for exceptions like the White House correspondent Major Garrett and the anchor Shepard Smith."

This is a blatant misuse of influence on the part of the president and his staff. Whatever your views are on Fox News, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives or liberals, there is no escaping the fact that the government has no authority or prerogative to tell the public which news sources are or are not legitimate.

In fact, we're reminded of this rather glaring principle of our founding by the Constitution, which endorses a free press. It's rather clever of the White House to not limit the press (or in this case, broadcast network) in its scope or ability to report, instead preferring to slander Fox and call its journalistic ideals into question.

Far be it from us to defend the journalistic quality of Fox News, but we wonder how long will it take before, for example, the president is calling the New York Post into question or taking MSNBC to task for a critical story?

Historically, any leeway given to a government in the form of censorship tends to be exploited and expanded, the way an unfilled pothole is left alone until it's gone and swallowed your neighbor's garage. Only when people have lost the freedom to question do they start to ask why.

So, Obama: watch it. You're making us defend Fox News and that is not something we enjoy doing.