The backlash is not just from Republicans but also from moderate Democrats.
“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”
The criticism from Fox News and others was just that -- criticism. The White House, accustomed to being pampered by most in the main stream media, construed the critical comments to be attacks.
Perhaps moderates on Capitol Hill are beginning to remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of Germans following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
Although Pastor Niemoller gave several versions of the following words in speeches through the years (see second link below) this is the version he prefers:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Social Democrat.
Then they came for the free-speech media, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a media publisher.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak out for me.