Obama's snubbing of Fox News was a bad idea

Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2009

The following editorial first appeared in the Dallas Morning News:

Chris Wallace is not Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, and plenty of the people who watch Fox News are not ideological zealots. The network's viewers include, among others, moderate conservatives who have doubts about President Barack Obama and his health care plan and who want a civil discussion of health care solutions.

So the president's decision to talk to most of the Western world Sunday but leave out a sit-down with the network that has been most critical of him is a missed opportunity to talk to conservatives on their turf about an issue he is laboring mightily to make a bipartisan one.

While the White House may believe that Fox has not played fair with the president, most recently airing a reality show rather than Obama's joint address to Congress on health care, part of the Oval Office job is rising above petty politics.

Instead, Obama gave Fox News' Sunday host Chris Wallace an opening to caustically remark,

"We have a Fox News Sunday exclusive, the only place you won't see Barack Obama making yet another pitch for health care." In the end, the omission provides more fodder for conservative talk-show attacks and another sideshow distraction.

Certainly, several Fox hosts have portrayed the president in unflattering - and even deceitful - terms. Beck, for example, recently wildly declared that Obama hated white people; he regularly appeals to the worst in human nature. Who wouldn't be weary of the tasteless personal attacks?

But what should concern the president more is that Fox delivers a devoted audience that doesn't always hear from the president unfiltered. He had a chance to do just that Sunday, but he let the opportunity slip away.

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