Back in October 2009, Anita Dunn, then the White House communications director, sounded off against Fox News on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” She said Fox News was “not a news network at this point” and pointed to the network’s coverage of President Barack Obama’s ties to Bill Ayers and ACORN to justify Obama not appearing on the news channel.
Nearly three-and-a-half years later, in an appearance on HuffPost Live on Wednesday, Dunn reflected on those remarks, calling them “a simple decision.” She insisted the news channel’s post-election shuffling of some of its personnel was proof that Fox is trying to remake itself, and she credited Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
“I think what you’re seeing now with Fox is that that alternative Fox universe that they created for four years is crumbling,” Dunn said in reference to its purge of controversial conservative pundits and possible attempt to find a new identity. “And Roger Ailes, who is nothing if not an excellent television person and very smart executive, is realizing that the creationism of the past has to end. And so you see the Fox evolution.”
But there is no love lost between Dunn, now with the public relations firm SKDKnickerbocker, an outlet with very close ties to the Obama White House, and Fox News. Shortly after Dunn’s 2009 remarks on CNN, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck unveiled a video of Dunn naming Mao Tse Tung as one of her favorite political philosophers, which immediately went viral and served as fodder for opponents of the Obama administration.
Dunn also has close ties to anti-Fox News storefront Media Matters. One of Dunn’s attacks on Fox News seemed to echo rhetoric used by Media Matter and as reported by The Daily Caller last year, White House visitor logs showed her meeting with Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Media Matters founder David Brock and then-Media Matters president Eric Burns on June 16, 2010.
However, in the HuffPost Live interview, Dunn told host Alicia Menendez she did not regret the aggressive tack she took against Fox News and said her criticism did not help the channel.
“They were already very elevated to that level, and they were elevated to a level frankly because they were running a very smart campaign against the White House,” Dunn said. “I don’t think anything that has happened in the last four years has made anything I said not true. And I think if anything, the changes that Fox is making now are a tacit admission that they had gone way too far to one side and were being seen by people not as a news network, but really as a political organization.”
“I mean, there are not a lot of news networks that have on their payrolls as Fox did two years ago the bulk of the people who are planning to run for president in a political party,” Dunn continued. “I mean, think about that. And there are not a lot of news networks that really build an alternative universe in which all public polls get ignored and a candidate is seen as the one who is likely to win, even though frankly there is no evidence to suggest that true. And so I think post-election that Roger Ailes has made the smart decision that they have to change once again to try to regain some minimal shreds of credibility.”
(h/t Huffington Post)