Two views: Is the White House justified in its Fox News criticism?

By Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House

The Obama administration has picked a fight with Fox News as a strategy to take attention away from the real problems they can’t solve.

Unemployment rising? Attack Bill O’Reilly.

Afghanistan complicated and dangerous? Attack Sean Hannity.

Health bill costs too much and grows government too much? Attack Rush Limbaugh.

This strategy is reminiscent of the Nixon administration: develop an enemies list, polarize the country against “them,” punish your critics so people are afraid to criticize you.

It is a sad distance from the “bring us together,” “yes we can,” “change we can believe in,” “transparency” Obama candidacy.

The Obama presidency is proving divisive, cynical, and deliberately calculating in its effort to polarize the country.

Ironically, all this attention has increased Fox News viewership by 20 percent. Since Fox now has a bigger audience than CNN and MSNBC in every hour of the day and night, maybe the Obama White House ought to ask itself if its strategy is working.

By David Hazinski, associate professor, broadcast news, University of Georgia

The Obama administration’s decision to cut off access for Fox News is a mistake. Fox is clearly a conservative-leaning news network. It advocated political tea parties and runs a stable of conservative commentators. The firewall between them and general news is paper thin, bleeding through and coloring much of the coverage. But so what? “Fair and balanced” is an open deception, like “professional wrestling.” Fox News is still legitimate media, however colored.

The administration’s decision to treat Fox inequitably loses it the opportunity to make its case to this audience. It further polarizes at least the public’s perception of the media. We need less polarization, not more. The public never wins when any part of government blocks access to information for any audience. The public never wins when someone tried to broker access or news coverage, or use access as a political weapon. We all need more information to make better decisions, not less.