Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner and executive editor Eric Bates went to the White House last Friday to interview President Obama (Mr. Wenner wore brightly striped socks; President Obama expressed envy). Mr. Wenner and Mr. Bates asked the President if he thought Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News was a “good institution for America.” President Obama’s answer was incredibly polished:
[Laughs] Look, as president, I swore to uphold the Constitution, and part of that Constitution is a free press. We’ve got a tradition in this country of a press that oftentimes is opinionated.Before that, you had folks like Hearst who used their newspapers very intentionally to promote their viewpoints. I think Fox is part of that tradition — it is part of the tradition that has a very clear, undeniable point of view. It’s a point of view that I disagree with. It’s a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world. But as an economic enterprise, it’s been wildly successful. And I suspect that if you ask Mr. Murdoch what his number-one concern is, it’s that Fox is very successful.