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The Obama White House Spent 8 Years Attacking Fox News

I didn't have cable on Election Day 2016, but my TV package did include CNN, and so that's what we watched in my house that night. As the night progressed and it was clear that Donald Trump was about to pull off a stunning upset, it was amusing to see the election night panel desperately trying to explain to the audience Hillary's potential paths to victory. It was impossible for them to hide their shock and dismay. Van Jones looked on the verge of tears, and I'm surprised none of them spontaneously combusted.

Without a doubt, CNN has repeatedly proved itself to be an anti-Trump network. They were before the election, they were on Election Day, and they have been ever since. Unlike past Republican presidents who have been treated unfairly by the mainstream media, President Trump has not been shy about calling them out on it.

For example, this tweet from August of this year:

"Unable to function" is probably an understatement. As Trump continued his attacks on the media, particularly CNN, the narrative of a constitutional crisis evolved. Trump criticizing the media, particularly CNN, was somehow an attack on the free press! Can you imagine? Calling out bias is apparently unconstitutional in the eyes of the media talking heads.

No one will deny the adversarial relationship Trump has with the mainstream media. But, as I wrote about a couple months ago, Barack Obama actually was an enemy of the free press—even though they were mostly on his side, pushing whatever narrative the Obama White House wanted. Trump has done nothing to attack the free press as an institution. Has he singled out CNN for their biased reporting? Absolutely. But, is that any different than Barack Obama's relationship with Fox News?

From the very beginning, the Obama administration saw Fox News as an adversary, not a news network. “We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent," White House communications director Anita Dunn told the New York Times in 2009. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.” Michael Clemente, then a senior executive of Fox News, accused the Obama White House of being "in campaign mode," and said that Fox News was "the target of their attack mentality.” Not once did the New York Times hint or even suggest that the Obama White House targeting a legitimate news organization was an "attack on free press" or a "violation of the First Amendment," even after Ms. Dunn explained that they would likely not have Obama do interviews on Fox News in the future. “We’re not going to legitimize them as a news organization," she said.