First, they came for Fox News...

Faint though it is, the heartbeat of media integrity still flutters weakly, perhaps realizing this is necessary to save itself.

Barack Obama, (D) the first African-American president in the history of the US, added a dubious first to his presidency--for the first time in the history of the US the president banned an entire network from the White House press pool. Which network? Why the one the administration is futilely trying to delegitimize but is only helping--Fox, of course.

Doug Ross explains the significance of the White House's shameful--and increasingly desperate--act.

Today the White House stepped up its attack on Fox News, announcing that the network would no longer be able to conduct interviews with officials as a member of the Press Pool. The Pool is a five-member group consisting of ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC organized by the White House Correspondents Association. Its membership is not subject to oversight by the government.Before an interview with "Pay Czar" Kenneth Feinberg, the administration announced that Fox News would be banned from the press pool.

This dictat meant that no administration figure would consent to be interviewed by Fox News; Fox had a glimpse of that last week when officials made the rounds of all the Sunday interview shows on all the networks except...Fox's.

Perhaps realizing the implications for their own networks, all the White House officially approved networks refused to go along.

They told the White House that if Fox were banned, none of the other networks would participate. The White House relented, but in an apparent act of petulant retaliation, it restricted each network to a two-minute interview instead of the standard five.

As Ross noted

Perhaps the White House will next try to pull Fox News' press pass.

That would be entirely consistent with the Hugo Chavez-style of government that President Axelrod and his advisers are trying to install.


He also wonders if the ACLU will defend Fox's first amendment freedom of the press, freedom of speech rights. Yeah, wonder away.

The administration has some exceedingly dirty tricks planned; this is only the beginning.

In the meantime, thanks to this administration's willful ignorance of the first amendment Fox's ratings have increased, other networks are compelled to mention their competitor and all media organizations are becoming increasingly uneasy about the increasingly shrill demands that the media parrot the administration line or be banned.

After all, they might be next.

Here's a Fox News clip on the story: