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White House's Fox News War Sparks Criticism, Surprising Backlash

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Anita Dunn's comments that the White House views Fox News as the opposition/the research arm of the Republican party have been met with a surprising backlash — even by people generally critical of the network.

Frequent Fox News critic David Zurawik wrote in the Baltimore Sun that Dunn was wrong when she described the network's pre-election coverage as all about ACORN and Bill Ayers:

By the way, Dunn is absolutely wrong about Fox's coverage of the election last fall. I did watch it every day and wrote about it several times a week for this blog. And while I didn't like a lot of what I saw with soft interviews and only favorable coverage of Sarah Palin, it wasn't all about Bill Ayers and ACORN by a long shot. In fact, I saw Shephard [sic] Smith take down Joe the Plumber after that GOP-created character came on Fox and said, "A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel." I wonder if Smith was acting as an "arm" of the Republican Party on that one.

Zurawik added that he feared for press freedom when he heard Dunn's remarks slammin Fox News:

I have to say I was suprised [sic] to hear a senior White House staffer sounding so uninformed and blantantly [sic] biased. This campaign by the Obama administration is dangerous to press freedom, and it should concern everyone in the press, not just Fox.

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen called Dunn's comments "a risky strategy, and it's not one that I would advocate."

"If you are going to get very personal against the media you're going to find that the animosities are just going to deepen, and you're going to find that you are almost going to draw viewers to people you are attacking," Gergen told Wolf Blitzer. "You build them up in some ways, you give them stature."

WATCH:

Even on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, the panelists largely came out against the White House's war against Fox News.

"Early on, Fox and some of their commentators were...I wouldn't call it supportive, but they were open to some of the ideas the President laid out," Harold Ford said. "I think you do yourself a little bit of a disservice if you're unwilling to take your message to every forum, to every audience."

"It is really fair to say that the Fox News reporters sitting in [the White House press briefing] are the Republican opposition?" Pat Buchanan asked. "I don't think that's fair. I don't think it's fair to say that about Chris Wallace, who runs an objective, tough news show...to call it the Republican opposition, that's really playing small, partisan politics and it doesn't help the White House to do that."

Watch: