The White House dislike of Fox News is well documented.
In 2009, the White House tried to exclude the number one cable network from interviewing administration officials. That attempt failed when the rest of the White House Press Corps rallied together and rebuffed the administration’s attempted exclusion. But that doesn’t mean this White House is willing to let bygones be bygones. On the contrary, the animosity still exists and has manifested itself in a petty, passive-aggressive way.
Before the State of the Union Address, the White House invited anchors from the major news outlets – ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox, as well as personalities from TV One (Rowland Martin) and MSNBC (Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Jose Diaz Balart) – over for lunch with President Obama and some senior staff. The off-the-record affair is fairly routine and generally uneventful. Generally.
After the lunch, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith reported for duty on his 3:00 p.m. show. He wasn’t able to talk about what was said at the lunch since it was off-the-record. But he was able to talk about something he noticed when it came to the name cards placed around the table. Something extremely petty and passive-aggressive done by White House staff.
While the name cards for NBC News anchor Brian Williams said “NBC News,” and the one for ABC News anchor David Muir said “ABC News,” the name cards from Smith and his fellow Fox News attendee Bret Baier simply read “Fox.”
At the end of his show, Smith said, “I sat next to Brian Williams, and we all had these place cards, and his said ‘Brian Williams, NBC News.’ And across from me was David Muir – the new guy on ABC — it said ‘David Muir, ABC News.’ And I looked at mine, and it doesn’t say anything about news. It just says ‘Fox.’ And I looked at Bret Baier’s, and it said, ‘Bret Baier, Fox.’ And all the rest of them said news.”
Smith then added, “I mean I don’t care, lunch was great. But I guess, message received? I think Bret and I are good to go with the news part.”
[h/t National Review]