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First They Came for Fox News...

You don't have to love Fox News to see how dangerous it is when the President of the United States gives his staff and advisers a green light to single out and denigrate by name a specific news organization. As we surely all know by now, this is what the White House has been doing to Fox.

The Sunday morning talk shows just brought us White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod opining to George Stephanopoulos, on ABC's "This Week," that Fox is "Really - not news -- it's pushing a point of view." Axelrod advised that ABC and other non-Fox outlets take his cue and expunge Fox from the brethren of news services: "And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we're not going to treat them that way." Meanwhile, on CNN's "State of the Union," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was hammering home the same message, that Fox "is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective," and urging "More importantly is not have [sic] the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they're trying to do is a legitimate news organization... ."

This would be a very good moment for all those other news organizations -- CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, the newspapers and the news web sites -- to offer President Obama the perspective that it is utterly inappropriate for White House personnel to be opining publicly on the overall fitness of specific news outlets. The president has sworn to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." That includes protecting free speech, not dispatching White House staff and advisers to hold forth publicly as media critics denouncing news outlets they don't like.