Published November 10, 2009
The White House just lost its chief media strategist and Fox News just lost its best P.R. tool. Anita Dunn, the outspoken and controversial communications aide to President Obama has announced today that she'll be leaving her post; her deputy, Dan Pfeiffer is to replace her. Though Dunn's title was communications director, at times, "Fox News Basher" seemed more appropriate as she seemingly and bizarrely began to publicly wage war on the network roughly a month ago.
Fox is "opinion journalism masquerading as news," Dunn snapped, which ignited the White House attacks on Fox News' journalism.
When asked further to elaborate, Dunn expanded:
"If you were a Fox News viewer in the fall election, what you would have seen would have been that the biggest story, the biggest threats facing America were a guy named Bill Ayers and something called ACORN, when the reality of it is that Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party."
It was comments like these that had many Democrats gripping their foreheads. They saw the move as misguided and questioned the administration's decision to launch an ideological crusade against a thriving cable news channel.
Dunn later drew even more ire when she praised the Chinese dictator Mao as one of her favorite political philosophers:
"Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa -- two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say, 'Why not?"
So that's what Mao was thinking when he killed 50 to 70 million of his own people in political purges?? Why not?!
Typically, White House politicos quote the words of our forefathers from Lincoln to Washington, not communist murderers.
Liberal groups are already spinning Dunn's announcement, insisting that her role as communications director "was always meant to be temporary."
Was Van Jones was just keeping someone's seat warm, too?
And if she was expected to serve as an interim attack dog, then the end goal seemed to be use her as a paper tiger in an attempt to demonize and discredit Fox News, while at the same time, clearly define an enemy. If this was the strategy, it was a very bad one that very definitively failed.
The Dunn-led White House attacks on Fox have been a huge boon for the news channel, propelling the networks' already sky-high ratings even higher with a 9 percent uptick in the three weeks following the dust up, according to Nielsen Co., the leading tracker of television viewership.
Perhaps Dunn's early departure is a signal that Democrats are waking up to the fact that after Tuesday's election results, the public views the troubled economy, out of control federal spending and the White House's failure to keep unemployment below 8 percent paramount to an intellectual exercise (though gauging from their maniacal focus on health care and climate change, that's unlikely).
With radical, loose cannons like Dunn and Jones gone from the Obama team, the real question is how many more like them are hiding in the White House woodwork?
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator and columnist. She is the former press secretary to House Republican Leadership and Communications Director for Massachusetts Governor William Weld. For more go to: www.andreatantaros.com or follow her on Twitter: @andreatantaros.