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Scottie McClellan: One last fib for the road

Reported by Chrish - April 29, 2006

Everyone knows FOX is the White House network of choice. At least for the time being, before FOX opens its official branch office in the West Wing, reporters don't have to listen to the propaganda while traveling on Air Force One. Now if we could just get it off the armed forces network....

From the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (Bill O'Reilly's most hated paper):

The controversy du jour aboard Air Force One today was one near and dear to the hearts of many otherwise happy couples: Command and control of the TV tuner.

“It’s come to my attention that there’s been requests – this is a serious question – to turn these TVs on to a station other than Fox, and that those have been denied,” Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei told Press Secretary Scott McClellan. “My question would be, is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?”

“Never heard of any such thing,” said McClellan, soon to be replaced by Tony Snow of Fox News, long viewed as an operation that enjoys most favored network status in the Bush White House.

The reporter pursued the question after a straw man thrown out by McClellan, and added that the force-fed FOX is taxpayer financed.

As McClellan and VandeHei talked TV channels, Agence France Presse photographer Tim Sloan volunteered that he was the one who raised the issue.

“I was the Fox victim,” he said, “and I was told, the quote was, ‘No,’ when I asked for CNN. … I was told, ‘We don’t watch CNN here. You can only watch Fox.’”

Asked who told him that, Sloan said “the magic people at the other end of the phone” in the press cabin.

McClellan said he found the issue “quite amusing, to tell you the truth.”

“I mean there are a lot of people on this plane that do watch that channel,” he said of CNN. “First time you brought it to my attention. I’ll go see what we can do on it.”

Moments later, after a quick trip up front, McClellan came back with the update.

“We just called up. They’re going to be changing it, at your all’s request, to the channel that you requested, which is CNN,” he said.

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