White House press secretary lays into Fox News reporter — this is “civility”? 

At yesterday’s White House press briefing, Robert Gibbs responded to a question from Fox News with a barrage of criticism about the network’s decision to air the views of a former FEMA director (Michael Brown) critical of the current administration’s oil spill clean-up efforts. While Brown certainly deserves scrutiny, he’s not the only person to have suggested that this is Obama’s Katrina. Here’s video:


If the White House wanted to avoid the comparison, however, perhaps they should have moved faster to deal with the oil spill rather than wait days.

Here’s another sneering reply by Gibbs to a question by Jake Tapper about transparency:

Is this the kind of response Obama was referring to when he was discussing the need for civility in public discourse? As Noemie Emery notes in her column today, it doesn’t look like the White House has any interest in maintaining a standard for civility when it comes to addressing critics:

You say “listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship,” and we agree. But we wonder what you had in mind last year when you tried to attack, marginalize and possibly silence a number of commentators, along with the network Fox News.

There are several networks that are openly slanted, and more that are and don’t say so, but the one you called “illegitimate” is the only one that slanted against your direction. Where would your friends find these opposing views, if these voices were silenced? And did you think about that?

About The Author

J.P. Freire

J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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