Thursday, CNN, NBC/MSNBC, ABC and CBS all refused to go along with an attempt to toss Fox from a media pool that was supposed to conduct interviews with White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, who was unveiling restrictions on pay for executives of companies that accepted bailout money from the government.
Under an arrangement designed to save the networks money, a crew from one network shoots some White House events for all five outlets. The pool camera was supposed to shoot each network’s separate interview with Feinberg, but the networks were notified that Fox, which has been part of the pool arrangement since 1997, would not be allowed to question him.
The Obama administration relented after the other networks, in a gesture of solidarity, said they would take a pass on interviewing Feinberg if Fox was kept out of the mix. (Ironically, the effort to block Fox from covering what was arguably Thursday’s biggest news event came just a day after White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said decisions on who would be included in pools would be left to the media organizations, not his office.)
Unequivocal statement of principle (yes, Dana, it probably is a liberty fetish): The State having the power to restrict the free--even partisan press--is a greater danger to the American republic than anything that press might ever say.