President Obama's suggestion for a patron at an Ohio bar to switch off a TV playing Fox News, was later reported to be part of "a humorous exchange." But some viewers aren't laughing.
President Barack Obama's two-day bus tour through the Rust Belt brought him to Ziggy's Pub and Restaurant in Amherst, Ohio, on Thursday evening.
Obama popped into the brick-walled bar to hang out with some potential voters, USA Today reported.
Mark Landler, a New York Times reporter, was assigned to write the pool report for the White House press corps on Thursday. BuzzFeed noticed this back-and-forth exchange Obama had with bar patron Jeff Hawks:
As he thanked the group for their support, one of them, Jeff Hawks, gestured to one of the TV's and said, "You're in a building that has Fox news on."
Obama suggested that Hawks ask for it to be changed. "The customer is always right," he said.
UPDATE: Landler adds, in an addendum to a new pool report, that Obama's remarks were in jest:
When President Obama told a patron at Ziggy's bar in Amherst, OH that he suggest that the TV be switched from Fox, he made the remark in a humorous exchange.
Not everyone is laughing. Readers like Charlie Wibel seemed to believe that the reporter was forced to add the update to his report.
"So the reporter after being threatened with the loss of his job rewrites ther [sic] report to indicate the request to censor Fox was made in jest," Wibel wrote on BuzzFeed via Facebook.
Bruce Smith couldn't agree more. "To have a president advocate against any news organization is just a president advocating against one of the main doctrines of our constitution." Smith said on BuzzFeed.
Destructive for the long-term growth of America
Over the years, Obama and Fox have had a, well, rocky relationship. Obama addressed it in a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, CNN reported.
CBS news stated that Obama laughed in response to a question from Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner about whether or not Fox News was "a good institution for America and for democracy."
"Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press," he said.
While he can't object to Fox News carrying out its constitutional right to freedom of the press, Obama thinks it promotes a perspective that is "ultimately destructive for the long-term growth" of America.
Obama clarified this point by making an example. He compared the cable news outlet to papers owned by William Randolph Hearst at the turn of the 20th century that unabashedly pushed Hearst's own political views.
"We've got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated. The golden age of an objective press was a pretty narrow span of time in our history. Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints," Obama told the magazine. "I think Fox is part of that tradition -- it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view."
For their part, Fox came under fire recently for airing a four-minute video broadcast on its morning show “Fox & Friends” that critics say attacked the President for not delivering on his promises of hope and change.
It was even criticized in conservative circles. According to the New York Times, a blogger on the conservative Web site Hot Air wrote of the video, “It makes a pretty powerful argument against another four years of Barack Obama, but that shouldn’t be the job of news-reporting organizations, even when we like the message.”
Fox, which continues to command by far the largest news audience in cable television, is owned by the News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch.