Richard Olivastro
“Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn’t absolutely control” so stated White House Communications Director Anita Dunn.

Yes, that’s the name of the Obama administration operative behind the Fox News dustup last week. But, no, Ms. Dunn’s admission is not recent.

Specifically, Ms. Dunn made the statement back in January while a participant at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development conference in the Dominican Republic.

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Perhaps, in the afterglow of Barack Obama’s presidential election victory, Anita Dunn made the statement unthinkingly.

Or, perhaps, Ms. Dunn may have made the statement consciously – back then - as part of an unfolding strategy to, at least influence if not, condition the domestic media.

Since the inauguration, if appears the latter is more likely in light of what Anita Dunn further said at the global conference. Here’s some detail.

Remember during the presidential campaign the regular dose of video statements by Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe? Ms. Dunn said "One of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe (online) videos was not just for our supporters, but also because it was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters".

Dunn then added, "We just put that out there and made them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter. So it was very much we controlled it as opposed to the press controlled it."

In other words, the so-called mainstream media was asleep at the proverbial switch when it came to objective journalistic reporting and analysis; or, willingly went along with the campaign strategy of no interactive questions as Dunn described.

In either case, the strategy used during the campaign now continues as the foundational communications strategy of the Obama administration.

That is evidenced by Ms. Dunn accusations last week hurled at Fox - the cable news channel with, overwhelmingly, the largest audience of Americans – as being an "arm of the Republican Party" and "opinion journalism masquerading as news." Does Ms. Dunn realize that her statements at the global conference belie her own credibility - as well as the credibility of her boss President Obama - along with the content of her recent attack statements targeting Fox News?

After all, on the same day last month, Mr. Obama appeared on all Sunday morning talk shows except one. Is anyone in doubt as to which network was ignored by White House media schedulers?

Fox self-describes itself as “fair and balanced”.

While I will leave to you the degree to which you believe that to be accurate, relative to its competitors, growing numbers of Americans apparently think the slogan is valid.

Come to think about it, “fair and balanced” - and interactive - ought to be how all in the media - and at the White House - function everyday.


Richard Olivastro

Richard Olivastro is a professional member of the National Speakers Association, president of People Dynamics, an executive leadership development company, and founder of Citizens For Change.
 
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