Hello and welcome one and all tot he most intense nightly read anywhere on the ‘sphere; The BitsBlog Nightly Ramble
- CONTAINMENT: Politico’s Mike Allen and Josh Gerstien  that The White House is attacking Fox News as a part of a containment strategy.
But most of all, (….they’re about getting….) other journalists to think twice before following the (…Fox…) network’s stories in their own coverage.
“We’re doing what we think is important to make sure news is covered as fairly as possible,” a White House official told POLITICO, noting how the recent ACORN scandal story started because Fox covered it “breathlessly for weeks on end.”
“And then you had a couple days of breast-beating from The Washington Post and The New York Times about whether or not they were fast enough on the ACORN story,” the official said. “And it’s like: Wait a second, guys. Let’s make sure that we keep perspective on what are the most important stories, and what’s being driven by a network that has a perspective. Being able to make that point has been important.”
To some media observers, it’s almost the definition of a “chilling effect” – a governmental attempt to steer reporters away from negative coverage – but the White House press corps has barely uttered a word of complaint.
That could be because of the perception among some journalists that Fox blurs the line between reporting and commentary – making it seem like not the most sympathetic victim.
I actually had something written to the effect already that would have gone up on tonight’s Ramble , saying I suspected that’s what was happening. (Yeah, I know that’s kind of like saying “I knew that”.) But this says it better than I, did, I think, so they get the award. I said it this way; It’s not the network they’re trying to squash… it’s the stories. The asking of hard questions.
The irony of this story, though, is that the press was already happy to quarantine “wingnut” stories emanating from Fox, be it Van Jones or ACORN or the White House trying to politicize the NEA. Compare the first boldfaced quote in the blockquote above to this one from Chuck Todd  more than a month ago. In fact, here’s what I wrote on September 4 , while the Jones thing was roiling, on how Tapper â€” again â€” seemed to be the only non-Foxy willing to break the wider media embargo on covering what Fox News was covering.
That’s from Tapper, who to my knowledge remains the one and only reporter from big media pursuing this story. The Times, WaPo, broadcast news â€” it’s a complete blackout , at least as of early this afternoon. (NBC’s blog mentioned it in passing at the end of this morning’s news recap , in a sneering aside about the “conservative media machine.”) Why would they cede the field to Jake when he’s pulling big traffic from the righty blogosphere for covering this? I don’t think it’s simply to protect The One; they covered Geithner’s and Daschle’s tax problems and they’re much bigger fish. I think it’s that they know Glenn Beck’s been after Jones for weeks and it pains them too much to give him credence by following his lead. It’s analogous to the NYT refusing to review Michelle’s book even though she’s been number one on their own bestseller list for more than a month. Who cares if her thesis about Obama’s culture of corruption is correct and newsworthy and obviously of great public interest? They’re not going to help promote the work of someone whom they dislike. The state of the media, 2009. As for Tapper, his willingness to take up stories circulating in the righty blogosphere that other outlets try to suppress might give him a lot more influence as a reporter going forward. The White House can spin the Jones story as just another Fox News vendetta against the administration if it’s only FNC covering it; if ABC’s on it too, that becomes impossible and the story becomes “legitimate.” From now on, think of Tapper as the swing vote in the press pool, I guess.
Boldface added. That last part is truer now than it was then, before the ACORN story broke big and Beck’s ratings soared even higher. The White House must be panicking at the thought that the “legitimate” media will only ignore these stories for so long before the lure of bigger, Foxier ratings finally proves too much
Well, that or the logical inconsistency of ignoring the implications of the stories Fox has been running, and the degree of effort being put by this White House to squash such news orgs and such stores gets to be too much. As I noted in a post of David’s yesterday, that’s already begin to occur. See, the real issue for the non-Fox orgs is their credibility has long since started taking hits for ignoring such stores as Fox and the Blogs etc are exposing…. the viewers/readers are starting to notice. As Gaius at Blue Crab Blvd suggests: 
The backfire has begun in earnest. By singling out Fox as a target, the other news organizations are being exposed as little more than trained seals, regurgitating Obama worship at the drop of a hint by the White House. Fox, on the other hand, is being given a huge boost in ratings, assuring the White House of more and more people seeing the news Obama wants suppressed, sidelined and marginalized.
Even Brit Hume weighs in:
And I don’t think it can be any clearer, now, that this stuff will define the Obama Presidency, in much the same way that Nixon’s “Enemies List” defined his.
- Committing Suicide for the Environment, Redux: I see comments from David and from James Joyner  about the Limbaugh “Green Suicide’ bit. I quote form a NIGHTLY RAMBLE post of Apl of 2008:
I related a story recently as regards an enviro-zealot who approached us a few years ago. He advised us that the planet has too many people on it, and we need to take immediate steps to solve this crisis. I advised him that committing suicide thus removing his negative environmental influence on the planet was a far more effective means to the end of solving the crisis, than was bitching at us about altering the American lifestyle. Of course, he took offense. Yet he couldn’t deny that was the logical conclusion to draw. And after all, the earth depends on what we do next…. and it’s a crisis, needing immediate action. He did stop babbling. Ya know, you’ve got a hand it to the Unabomber. He had a heavily underlined copy of “earth in the balance” in his collection. Say what you will about him, I will likely agree. But at least, he understood the relationship  between what the environmentalists preach, and the logical conclusion of it. It’s funny. I don’t seem to recall to many environmentalists labeling him an “extremist”. Or, for that matter, a “terrorist”. Yet, so he was. One would think that these kind of events would get the enviro-wchack-jobs to reexamine the logical basis of their arguments, when the logical conclusions present themselves as such. I tell you with no uncertainty whatsoever, that these extreme examples that I’ve cited, are the logical conclusion of that brand of non-thought. That we have people now controlling our government who subscribe to that logic, makes the way this thing will go quite predictable.
So, remember, you heard it here first.
- CDC shocker: Swine Flu killing young people at surprising rate: So says Fellow Genesee Valley guy Chuck Simmins.  And no, I’m not overly shocked by this. The rule, you see, is where government is concerned, the chances for the illness being worse than the cure is quite high.
- CULTURE vs GOVERNMENT vs LIBERTARIANISM: An interesting read at Reason this morning. ‘ve long held that the reason government was set up was to reinforce the culture that gave it life . THe trouble being that government, however formed and however implemented, is a less than perfect tool. Read both links and decide for yourself.