After White House communications director Anita Dunn slammed Fox News Channel as either "the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party" in October, Glenn Beck’s FNC show unearthed video of her speaking at a June 5, 2009 graduation at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, where she lightly declared that mass-murdering Chinese communist dictator Mao Zedong was "one of my favorite philosophers." This speech clip was completely ignored by ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, Time, Newsweek, USA Today,
and the New York Times
. (The Washington Post
published it – but only in two syndicated columns, not in any news story.) Here’s what she said:
The third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers - Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other but the 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?’ You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here’s the deal — these are your choices. They are no one else’s.
In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai-Shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities, they had the army. They had the air force. They had everything on their side, and people said how can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this? Against all the odds against you, and Mao Zedong said, you know, ‘You fight your war, and I’ll fight mine.’ And think about that for a second.
While these remarks were skipped, Dunn’s statements against Fox were noted by the networks. On October 12, CBS Early Show
co-host Harry Smith asked analyst John Dickerson about them. On October 18, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked David Axelrod about them on This Week
: "Are you worried that your strategy is fortifying your enemy?" On the October 25 Meet the Press
, NBC’s David Gregory started a panel discussion with it.
None of these networks thought that Dunn’s Mao remarks said anything about her ideology, or the Obama administration’s worldview in general. Dunn’s attack on Fox News was designed inside the White House to accomplish just this objective: to make sure that news that breaks on Fox never makes it to the ears of consumers of other networks. This "no one takes Fox seriously" was even used by the White House against the Mao story. When a reporter asked for comment on Dunn’s "favorite political philosophers" remark, White House spokesman Bill Burton answered: "I caught some of that from the Glenn Beck show yesterday, but I don’t think anybody takes it -- takes his attacks very seriously."Previous: ACORN