UPDATED: Beck, Drudge, WND, Fox Nation falsely accuse Dunn of admitting White House "control" over news media

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

WorldNetDaily, followed by the Drudge Report and Fox Nation, falsely claimed that during a January 12 speech, White House communications director Anita Dunn boasted about the White House's "control" over the media. In fact, Dunn was discussing the Obama campaign's strategy for controlling the campaign's message, not the media; moreover, her comments were made before Obama had taken office and before she became communications director.

UPDATE:

On his October 19 Fox News show, Glenn Beck played the Dunn clip and linked it to his attacks on Dunn's past comments about Mao. Beck said that "Mao did like to control the media."

WND, Drudge, Fox Nation falsely claim Dunn admitted, "We 'control' news media"

WND headline: "White House boasts: We 'control' news media." The WorldNetDaily article was subtitled, "Communications chief offers shocking confession to foreign government," and claimed that "President Obama's presidential campaign focused on 'making' the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was 'controlled,' White House Communications Director Anita Dunn disclosed to the Dominican government at a videotaped conference." The article quoted Dunn as saying, "Very rarely did we communicate through the press anything that we didn't absolutely control." [WorldNetDaily, 10/18/09]

Drudge headline: "White House admits: We 'control' news media ..." The Drudge Report linked to the WorldNetDaily article with the following headline:

drudge

Fox Nation headline: "WH Admits: We 'Control' News Media." Fox Nation linked to a video of Dunn's comments and to the WorldNetDaily article with the following headline:

fndunn

Beck cited WND report in his ongoing smear campaign against Dunn. On his October 19 radio program, Glenn Beck highlighted the clip to continue smearing Dunn, who he has previously falsely claimed "worships" "her hero" Mao Zedong. While Beck stated that "every candidate tries" to "control the press" and that "there's no problem with that," he added: "Here is a problem that I do have, is that they -- she used the -- if I may quote her, 'A huge part of our press strategy was to make the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it and the strategy.' Hmm. ... Why wouldn't you want -- is it possible that you didn't want anybody looking at your tactics because they're all Saul Alinsky tactics?"

Dunn was discussing how the Obama campaign "controlled" its message, not the media

Dunn was describing the campaign's direct video method. In her speech, Dunn discussed ways in which the Obama campaign attempted to disseminate its message directly to the media. One of those methods was by recording its own videos and sending them directly to supporters. She said of that strategy:

DUNN: A huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to, you know, why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was, that we -- we had a huge premium both on message discipline, on people in the campaign not leaking to reporters and people in the campaign not discussing our strategy, and also on making the press cover what we were saying.

So we, you know, one of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe 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; we just put that out there and make 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.

Dunn's speech given before Obama took office, and before Dunn was named communications director. Dunn's comments reportedly came during an event hosted by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development on January 12, before Obama had taken office. Dunn was named the White House's interim communications director in April.

Transcript

From the October 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Now here's the latest from Anita. She was at a conference, and she was talking about the strategy and how Obama won, and what they did with the press. Now I want you to listen to this carefully and tell me what sticks out at you.

DUNN [audio clip]: That a huge part of our press strategy was focused on making the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to, you know, why the campaign was saying it, what the tactic was, that we -- we had a huge premium both on message discipline, on people in the campaign not leaking to reporters and people in the campaign not discussing our strategy, and also on making the press cover what we were saying.

So we, you know, one of the reasons we did so many of the David Plouffe 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; we just put that out there and make 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.

BECK: OK. So this one has come out this weekend, that we controlled the press. And what people are saying about this is that, see? They're controlling the press. Well, let's be honest here. Isn't that what every candidate tries to do? If you don't control the press, if you don't get your hands around the press, they're going to have their hands around your throat. It is a struggle to the death -- not for Obama. I mean, they would have their hands all over you stroking your smooth pecs and saying, "Oh, you are just so hot." So it's never been that problem for Barack Obama, but that's what you do.

STEVE "STU" BURGUIERE (producer): Right, you try to define -- you try to define your message, don't let them define you.

BECK: Don't let them define you.

BURGUIERE: Right.

BECK: So there's no problem with that. Here is a problem that I do have, is that they -- she used the -- if I may quote her, "A huge part of our press strategy was to make the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why the campaign was saying it and the strategy." Hmm.

Well, there's a couple of ways of looking at that. First, what was Obama saying as opposed to why. There's no more important and no more basic question than "Why?" Why do we need health care right now, even though the benefits don't kick in till 2013? Why? Why did they hire Van Jones, an avowed communist who also worshipped Mao? Why? Why did they brush him out in the middle of the night? Why? Why won't they disavow any of the communist ties that they're -- the administration seems to have? Why? Why is ACORN funding starting back up again on October 31? Why? Why won't they do an investigation? Why is SEIU the one that is actually doing all of the health care work? Why?

You see, if you just focus on what he's saying, and not why he's saying it, well, you miss an awful lot of the story, don't you? Is -- is the journalist -- isn't the one of the main things that you learn is who, what, where, when, and why? Are we just now taking out the why are they asking? The other part of it is, we just want to, if I may quote, "huge part of our press strategy was to make sure the media cover what Obama was actually saying as opposed to why and what tactics we were using."

OK. Well, what tactics are you using? Why wouldn't you want anybody using that? Why wouldn't you want -- is it possible that you didn't want anybody looking at your tactics because they're all Saul Alinsky tactics?

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments
Network/Outlet
The Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily, Fox Nation
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