Who Would Have Guessed It–Fox Lied About Being Excluded From Interview

Fox and the right wing blogs have been pushing a claim that the White House tried to restrict Fox’s ability to interview the pay czar. If true, this might have been a real issue. It is easy to laugh at the Fox apologists when they compare people in the Obama administration simply telling the truth about Fox to Nixon’s enemy’s list. After all, the Obama administration is not practicing the dirty tricks of the Nixon administration such as auditing the tax returns of journalists who investigate wrong doing. People in the Obama administration, just like everyone else in the country, are entitled to freedom of speech–including the freedom to honestly describe how Fox is far more a propaganda organ of the Republican Party than a true news organization.

Fox, like many on the far right, loves to portray themselves as victims. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for the right wingers who can’t get away with imposing all their reactionary views on the rest of the country. If it was really true that Fox was being restricted when they are engaged in the pretense of reporting news they might have a legitimate complaint (or ate least the appearance of a legitimate complaint). As with most claims coming from Fox, this turned out to be a lie. Christina Bellantoni looked into the story:

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who’d asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

TPMDC spoke with a network bureau chief this afternoon familiar with the situation who was surprised that Fox was portraying the news as networks coming to its rescue.

“If any member had been excluded it would have been same thing, it has nothing to do with Fox or the White House or the substance of the issues,” the bureau chief said. “It’s all for one and one for all.”

A Treasury spokesperson added: “There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing.”

David Brooks Praises Obama on Education

Praise for Barack Obama’s education plans comes from an unexpected source–David Brooks. A portion of his column:

The news is good. In fact, it’s very good. Over the past few days I’ve spoken to people ranging from Bill Gates to Jeb Bush and various education reformers. They are all impressed by how gritty and effective the Obama administration has been in holding the line and inciting real education reform.

Over the summer, the Department of Education indicated that most states would not qualify for Race to the Top money. Now states across the country are changing their laws: California, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and Tennessee, among others.

It’s not only the promise of money that is motivating change. There seems to be some sort of status contest as states compete to prove they, too, can meet the criteria. Governors who have been bragging about how great their schools are don’t want to be left off the list.

These changes mean that states are raising their caps on the number of charter schools. When charters got going, there was a “let a thousand flowers bloom” mentality that sometimes led to bad schools. Now reformers know more about how to build charters and the research is showing solid results. Caroline Hoxby of Stanford University recently concluded a rigorous study of New York’s charter schools and found that they substantially narrowed the achievement gap between suburban and inner-city students.

The changes also will mean student performance will increasingly be a factor in how much teachers get paid and whether they keep their jobs. There is no consensus on exactly how to do this, but there is clear evidence that good teachers produce consistently better student test scores, and that teachers who do not need to be identified and counseled. Cracking the barrier that has been erected between student outcomes and teacher pay would be a huge gain.

Duncan even seems to have made some progress in persuading the unions that they can’t just stonewall, they have to get involved in the reform process. The American Federation of Teachers recently announced innovation grants for performance pay ideas. The New Haven school district has just completed a new teacher contract, with union support, that includes many of the best reform ideas.

Official White House Photo


Annie Liebovitz has taken the official White House photo (above).  Liebovitz had also taken pictures of the Obamas for Men’s Vogue in 2006.

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Fox’s War on the White House

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