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Gibbs to Kurtz: ‘I don’t think many people have to watch Fox to understand the political slant that they have’

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs is a guest on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” this morning with the cable news channels a hot topic.

HOWARD KURTZ: Let me ask you about Fox. The — the White House campaign against Fox News. Did that end when Fox’s Bret Baier was invited into the Oval Office who a lot of people have called, “The interrupt-athon interview?”

ROBERT GIBBS: Well, I’ll let Fox determine whether or not they got out of that interview what they wanted to get out of it based on the fact that — I mean, I think the uniqueness of having an interview with the president is getting a chance to sit as close as we are and getting that insight.

I mean, he could — remember the last interview the president did before something as historic as healthcare passed (ph)? I don’t think historians will look back on that interview and think, “Boy we really got a sense of what the president was thinking right before such a historic achievement”…

KURTZ: But has the White House moved on from its criticism of Fox?

GIBBS: Howard, I’ll say this. That — that we are, as you said, we — we live in a town in which you have to play the game. And — and we’re happy to put guests on. We’re happy to do interviews. Obviously I take questions from their correspondent each and every day in the briefing. I — I don’t think many people have to watch Fox to understand the — the political slant that they have.

KURTZ: You mean the news coverage as well as the opinion shows?

GIBBS: I think — let me use a good example. The president signed the START treaty last week. And there was a lot of debate about whether us reducing our nuclear warheads was making this country less safe. And then the anchor disappeared. And for several seconds there was a 1960s video footage of a nuclear test and a mushroom cloud.

Now what you didn’t see was — you — you didn’t see in any of that where the last time we are familiar with seeing pictures of START treaties being signed, are that of Ronald Reagan. Or when the president makes a pledge to end nuclear weapons on our planet…

Kurtz also asked about the White House view of MSNBC…


KURTZ: I kind of get the impression that what really bugs [Pres. Obama] is the cable chatter that the White House doesn’t like. You guys don’t complain about MSNBC. Of course opinion…

GIBBS: Well I don’t — I — I don’t — I — I think if you were to talk at individual hosts at MSNBC, you would know that we’ve been on the other end of many of those phone calls. I don’t — look. Again I — I think it’s — I think it’s when you take an issue that’s as important as many that we’re dealing with, again and boil it down to a two and a half or four minute segment where people yell at each other, I’m not entirely sure what that does for people that watch. Maybe that’s why quite frankly less people are watching.

KURTZ: Well, that is true. A lot of people watching Fox though.

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