Boyles paints Obama ‘war with FOX’ as salvo in potential media takeover

On KHOW’s Peter Boyles Show Thursday, the talk radio host compared President Obama’s “War with FOX News” to Hugo Chavez’s takeover of Venezuelan media outlets. “This is the Authority of the United States going after a… news outlet,” Boyles said. “Right now in Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is having a field day.”

Discussing the Obama administration’s decision to mandate salary reductions for executives at banks that received TARP bailout funds, Boyles described the move as socialist, which brought him to the administration’s recent decision to hold FOX News at a distance. He feared a potential wave of censorship issuing from Washington.

“I don’t care about FOX news, but what I do care about is the authority of the United States actually going after, along with his minions, a news outlet. It ultimately means that this show, or other shows, or what you get to read, or what you get to see. Do not kid yourself.”

This past week, the Obama administration criticized FOX for being biased against the President.

Anita Dunn, the White House Communications director, said Fox News was essentially a “wing of the Republican Party.”

Obama told NBC News: “I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet than that’s another. But it’s not something I’m losing a lot of sleep over.”

Administration officials have said that they will still submit to interviews with FOX News in the future and that FOX correspondents will continue to be included in the White House press corps. Obama senior adviser David Axelrod explained that the White House would not refuse to engage with FOX.

“We are going to participate, but understanding they represent a point of view.”

On May 28, 2007 Hugo Chavez shut down television station RCTV, which was critical of his presidency. The Venezuelan leader simply had the state refuse to renew its broadcast license. He installed state-funded TVES in its place. After a night of rioting by thousands of Venezuelans protesting the station shutdown, TVES opened its broadcasting defiantly by playing pro-Chavez music and interspersing government ads that stated: “Now Venezuela belongs to everyone.”

Chavez explained his decision to take over the private television station as Democratizing the airwaves and said that he had shut down the station because it had incited a failed coup in 2002 against him.

Chavez has also been accused of using the court systems to jail his political opponents and the police to intimidate the populace.

Boyles has previously expressed his fears that the U.S. left could install a Chavez-style regime.

In 2007, Colorado Media Matters reported that the day after Chavez took over RCTV, Boyles told listeners: “This is precisely what the left wants. I don’t care who they are, they want this. This is what this attack on talk radio is about; this is the nonsense that we see. Get ’em off the air. Get ’em off the air. Get ’em off the air.”

Later Boyles said, “This is exactly what’s happening in this country. Only in its, in its infant stages right now … This is what the entire movement is about … Kill the voice.”

Politico reports on prior White House battles with the press.

The George W Bush Administration of course battled the press in its own way, providing interviews on difficult subjects as exclusives to FOX News where difficult questions were rarely asked.

The administration also planted fake news broadcast propaganda pieces at outlets around the country and sent out military personnel to act as objective national security analysts for news shows while really trumpeting White House talking points.

Politico compiled a list of other recent White House versus news outlet battles:

President John Kennedy asked the New York Times to transfer David Halberstam because of his critical reporting on the Vietnam War.

In 1987, a Newsweek cover about then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, “Fighting the Wimp Factor,” led Bush’s presidential campaign to freeze the magazine out.

DeFrank, then a Newsweek reporter working on the magazine’s campaign book, remembers taking a call from the vice president’s son, future President George W. Bush. “Tommy, I got bad news for you. You’re out of business,” he said.

In 2004, several news outlets, including the New York Times, complained that they were being excluded from Vice President Dick Cheney’s official plane because of dissatisfaction with their coverage. Cheney’s aides denied any purposeful snub.

Tom Rosenstiel, a former Los Angeles Times media critic who now runs the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the Obama team’s explicit, public call for other outlets to ignore Fox was somewhat different from run-ins between past White Houses and specific news outlets. But he said that’s just an indication of a new media age.

The full Boyles quote.

22 October 2009

BOYLES: It is like the Obama administrations war on FOX news. I don’t care about FOX news but I do care about is the authority of the United States actually going after, along with his minions, a news outlet. Because it ultimately means that this show, or other shows, or what you get to read, or what you get to see. Do not kid yourself. This is not the first time this has happened historically. Right now in Venezuala Hugo Chavez is having a field day. What are they doing they are nationalizing radio stations, television stations. Which ones the ones that are in dissent. Listening to the dissent in the room. Don’t try and shut it up.

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Joseph Boven

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