At Tuesday's White House briefing Tapper seemed completely baffled, and quite insulted, by the White House's claim that Fox News is not a real news organization. Tapper demanded WH spokesman Robert Gibbs back up the claim [emphasis added]:
Tapper: It's escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations "not a news organization" and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one –
Gibbs: Jake, we render, we render an opinion based on some of their coverage and the fairness that, the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: But that's a pretty sweeping declaration that they are "not a news organization." How are they any different from, say –
Gibbs: ABC -
Tapper: ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o'clock tonight. Or 5 o'clock this afternoon.
Tapper: I'm not talking about their opinion programming or issues you have with certain reports. I'm talking about saying thousands of individuals who work for a media organization, do not work for a "news organization" -- why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That's our opinion.
Oh my, Tapper has no idea how Fox News is different than ABC News, and he works there. Tapper can't tell what Fox News does differently that his own network. And Tapper was clearly irked that the White House had offered up an opinion that one of the Village's "sister organizations" wasn't professional. "Why is that appropriate for the White House to say?" Tapper demanded to know. (Hint: As a Beltway rule, Democratic White Houses are forbidden from calling out the press by name.)
In response to the WashPost's Ruth Marcus who on Tuesday obediently typed up what virtually every Beltway journalist has said about the White House and Fox News (i.e. it's the White House that's way out of bounds; Fox News is fine), I offered up some examples of how Fox News isn't quite like the others. My hunch was that Marcus doesn't really watch Fox News, even though she pretended to be an expert in the dispute involving the White House.
So for the benefit of Tapper I'll reproduce the cheat sheet, and yes, many of the examples below involve the supposedly serious "news" side at Fox.
For instance, here's an example of how the Fox News family isn't quite like ABC. Here's another another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another.
My guess is if ABC News (inadvertently) broadcast just three or four of those kinds of obvious falsehood during an entire calender year, executives would be quite embarrassed. At Fox News though, they flow like a runny faucet and nobody there takes responsibility for the falsehoods, or even pretends there's anything wrong with them.
But Tapper is stumped. He can't figure out how Fox News is different from ABC News. (Psst Jake, I wouldn't say that too loudly around David Westin.)
UPDATED: How is Fox News different from ABC? Fox News has proudly co-sponsored partisan political rallies this year. Maybe I missed it, but did ABC News market anti-war rallies in 2002 and 2003? Still, Jake Tapper can't figure out how Fox News is different from ABC.
UPDATED: How is Fox News different from ABC? Fox News recently purchased a full-page ad in the Washington Post and lied about its TV news competitors, including ABC News.
Fox News claimed that the other cable and network news outlets had "miss[ed]" the Sept. 12, anti-Obama rally in Washington, D.C., when in fact TV news orgs, like ABC, covered the protest extensively. So, Fox News publicly smeared Tapper's employer, but Tapper can't figure out how Fox News is different from ABC.
UPDATED: At least Tapper's performance earned him the warm embrace of the Fox News family.
UPDATED: Gawker has a question for Tapper:
Does Tapper understand that despite the fact that he is very good, personal friends with [Fox News'] Major Garrett, Garrett's employer is actually a research and communications arm of the conservative movement? In a much, much, much more direct and partisan fashion than almost any liberal "equivalent" news source?