Fox News Channel has pulled record numbers of viewers this year as it's ratcheted up its fury at the Obama administration, and the president's team has had enough. The White House communications director, Anita Dunn, tells the New York Times that Fox is "undertaking a war against Barack Obama," and that the administration no longer treats Fox the same as "legitimate news organizations." That may be music to Fox's ears; one network exec said that when the White House complains, "our ratings go up."
Fox insists that it distinguishes between newscasts and opinion programs hosted by Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, but the administration insists there's no difference—the newscasts have heavily promoted "tea parties" and lashed Obama's "czar" appointments. While Fox News chairman Roger Ailes met with Obama adviser David Axelrod recently, the White House's more vocal stance reflects the fact that it gave up, during the campaign, on trying to persuade the network's viewers. "It was beyond diminishing returns," Dunn says. "It was no returns."