THE ORIGINAL KING OF IRONY STRIKES AGAIN…. Karl Rove is just outraged that the White House would snub a news outlet it considers partisan. He complained incessantly about the Obama team’s disdain for Fox News this morning.
“The administration is making a mistake for itself,” Rove continued. “But more importantly, it is demeaning the office of the president by taking the president and moving him from a person who wants to be talking to everybody and communicating through every available channel the same, if you oppose me, you question me, if you are too tough on me, by gosh, me and my people are not going to come on, we are going to penalize you. That is just wrong, fundamentally wrong.”
Now, one can debate whether the White House’s decision to treat Fox News like a partisan propaganda outlet is wise or not. I believe it’s the right call. But putting that aside, let’s pause to appreciate the comical irony of Rove’s whining.
It was, after all, George W. Bush who became the first modern president to refuse literally every interview request from the New York Times over the span of nine years. The NYT‘s Sheryl Gay Stolberg explained about a year ago, “[Bush] White House officials are quite open about the fact that we have not gotten an interview because they don’t like our coverage.”
Did Rove find this decision “demeaning” to the presidency? Was Rove in the West Wing, arguing at the time that the president should be “talking to everybody and communicating through every available channel”?
For that matter, the Bush White House went after NBC News in May 2008, accusing the network of deceptive editing and blurring the lines between “news” and “opinion.” Officials from the Bush team began treating NBC and MSNBC as political opponents.
Did Rove find this “fundamentally wrong”? I don’t recall him complaining at the time.
I can appreciate the fact that Karl Rove is an embarrassingly partisan hack. It’s been his role for so long, it’s entirely expected. But it’s the kind of attacks he launches that I find interesting.
Rove ran a White House that embraced a “permanent campaign,” so he’s accused the Obama team of embracing a “permanent campaign.” Rove embraced the politics of fear, so he’s accused Obama of embracing the politics of fear. Rove relied on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted ” political events, so he’s accused Obama of relying on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted” political events. Rove looked at every policy issue “from a political perspective,” so he’s accused Obama of looking at every policy issue “from a political perspective.”
It’s hard to launch political attacks that are ironic, hypocritical, and examples of projection, all at the same time, but Rove is a rare talent.