Chris Wallace was miffed the Fox Television Network was not part of President Barack Obama’s Sunday dance card – and the White House suggested that FTN’s decision to Dance rather than attend a joint session of Congress had something to do with it.
Wallace said on his program, “Every president is thin-skinned, but I wonder whether this administration, this White House, has a particular problem with criticism.”
For its part, the White House put its cards right down on the table. In a statement, it said, “We figured FOX would rather show “So You Think You Can Dance” than broadcast an honest discussion about health insurance reform. FOX is an ideological outlet where the President has been interviewed before and will likely be interviewed again. Not that whining particularly strengthens their case for participation anytime soon.
Wallace figured he was the whiner of record, saying Sunday “The whining, I think, refers to me and the fact that I called the White House on “The O’Reilly Show” Friday the biggest bunch of cry babies I’ve ever dealt with in my 30 years in Washington.”
Meanwhile, the jury was out as to whether or not Obama’s media blitz had the desired effect. At least one observer thinks not – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who followed Obama on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Other observers of his rounds, which also included visits to ABC, CBS, CNN and Univision, noted that he stayed very much on message. But the audience for the Sunday morning shows, influential and upscale though it may be, is also small, so few seemed to think the stunt would have any great overall effect on the health care debate.
RBR-TVBR observation: When we heard that Obama was skipping Fox on his Sunday blitz, it didn’t surprise us, but we admit we it just didn’t occur to us that there may have been a revenge motive. Sometimes dealings in Washington exhibit all the maturity and subtlety you might find on a typical elementary school playground during recess.
But that certainly is a way to make Fox pay for skipping an Obama event. But Fox would evidently rather get paid and suffer some payback. When you factor in Obama’s heavy demand on prime time with the current economy, it’s hard to blame Fox.