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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Obama?s absence from Fox News is censorship

By Jonathan Deesing

Criticizing elected officials has long been a proud tradition in American media. Whether it’s Ann Coulter spewing hateful tripe about President Barack Obama or Nancy Grace screaming about senators, the media cannot seem to resist easy stories.

And why should they? We do the same thing here at The Daily Utah Chronicle, waiting for the Associated Students of the University of Utah to screw up so we can jump on their mistakes. From the collegiate to international media, freedom of the press is paramount in improving our general well-being.

When a politician comes forward and tries to limit this freedom, it is the media’s responsibility to protest such a move. Such is the case with the most recent White House-Fox News feud that boiled over last week. Fox has long had a conservative leaning, which it does not try to hide. Fox News has criticized Obama since before day one and has shown no signs of stopping.

Unfortunately, now, Obama’s advisers have gone on the offensive to discredit and limit Fox News’ commentary on his presidency. During September, Obama appeared on every Sunday news show except for Chris Wallace’s on Fox News.

Whether the White House agrees or disagrees with Fox’s reporting doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that the Obama administration is pursuing a policy that supports favoritism, and thus limited censorship, among the news media.

There certainly is a difference between criticism and censorship. Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly said that in Utah, many senators have blogs that “take on reporters all the time.” He included that many politicians have outlets for their complaints against the media.

One such outlet is K-TALK, which hosts Sen. Howard Stephenson and Rep. Greg Hughes every Saturday morning for a show titled “Inside Utah Politics,” which Rolly said is always going after the press.

Although legislators are frequently criticizing the press, Rolly said, “I don’t have a problem with any of that…they have the right to criticize.” But, he said, when a single outlet is punished, the media should stand together to support them.

The news media is in a state of flux. Once the powerhouse of journalism, newspapers are taking a backseat to television and the Internet. The Pew Research Center reported that printed newspaper readership fell from 34 to 25 percent from 2006 to 2008.

The last thing that American news media need is any sort of limit on what they can say. If Fox News wants to call Obama a communist, it should be able to do so. It’s insulting, it’s erroneous and it’s ignorant, but it’s a freedom we are guaranteed.

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