Former White House communications director Anita Dunn, who led the Obama administration's critiques of Fox News during its first term and lobbied against the network as "opinion journalism masquerading as news," joined HuffPost Live Wednesday to discuss the changes how the network is adjusting to a new political and demographic environment.
Dunn told HuffPost Live host Alicia Menendez that going to war with Fox News was "a simple decision, given the fact that Fox News had really been the not-so-loyal opposition since the President had taken office," and said the network's strategy was to create news stories by blurring the lines between its news and opinion divisions.
"What you're seeing now with Fox is that that alternative Fox universe that they created for four years is crumbling," Dunn said in reference to its purge of controversial conservative pundits and possible attempt to find a new identity. "[Fox News chief] Roger Ailes, who is nothing if not an excellent television person and very smart executive, is realizing that the creationism of the past has to end. And so you see the Fox evolution."
Dunn said that her comments from 2009 are still true today, and added that any changes that Fox News is making amount to a "tacit admission that they had gone way too far to one side and were being seen by people not as a news network, but as a political organization."
Columnist and author Michael Wolff, whose 2008 biography of Rupert Murdoch The Man Who Owns The News discussed the relationship between Murdoch and Ailes, disagreed with Dunn's premise, insisting that the network is, above all, a television operation and not a political organization or a journalistic outlet.
"Fox is not in the political business," he told Menendez. "Fox doesn't really care who wins, who is president. What Fox and Ailes and the network care about is making very, very popular TV."
Wolff explained his analysis of the network's relationship with the GOP, saying that "Fox is not an arm of the Republican Party; more accurately, the Republican party is an arm of Fox."
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