Marcus must have missed it

MARCUS MUST HAVE MISSED IT…. Now that the White House is describing the Republican cable news network as a Republican cable news network, the media establishment is starting to register its disapproval. The Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus seemed especially disgusted that the obviously-partisan Fox News was being called out for making a mockery of American journalism, calling the White House’s recent remarks “dumb,” “childish,” “petty,” “Nixonian,” and “self defeating.”

But this was the part of Marcus’ criticism that stood out:

Where the White House has gone way overboard is in its decision to treat Fox as an outright enemy and to go public with the assault. Imagine the outcry if the Bush administration had pulled a similar hissy fit with MSNBC.

It’s funny she should put it that way. Marcus may have missed it, but the Bush administration did go after NBC News quite a bit.

Marcus must have forgotten, for example, when a top White House advisor to President Bush targeted NBC in May 2008, accusing the network of deceptive editing and blurring the lines between “news” and “opinion.” Officials from the Bush team, around that time, began treating NBC and MSNBC as political opponents.

The president’s press secretary at the time proceeded to complain about NBC from behind the White House podium, saying that staffers had grown “fed up” with the network’s coverage, and that frustration among the president’s aides “reached a boiling point” and “boiled over.” Dana Perino’s remarks, ironically enough, came in response to a pointed question from a Fox News correspondent.

Two things to remember here. One, the complaints about NBC News were baseless, especially as compared to Fox News literally reading Republican Party talking points on the air and passing them off as legitimate political journalism.

And two, when the Bush gang did go after NBC News, there were precious few observers blasting the Bush White House as “dumb,” “childish,” “petty,” “Nixonian,” and “self defeating.”

“Imagine the outcry if the Bush administration had pulled a similar hissy fit with MSNBC.” Yes, imagine it.

Update: Media Matters also responds to Marcus. After noting two dozen examples — from just this month — of Fox News breaking from the standards of professional journalism, the piece concludes, “Can any serious journalist look at that record and claim that it’s the White House that ought to change its behavior?”