Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas on Monday advised the Obama administration to stand down and avoid fighting with Fox News and its correspondents.

In an interview with MSNBC, the columnist -- who is promoting her new book on presidents and their campaigns -- also stressed the White House ought to "stay out of these fights."

"They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger," said Thomas, who has covered every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama.

Whether the White House takes her advice, however, is another story. Just this weekend, Senior Adviser David Axelrod charged Fox was "not really a news organization." And Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel twice insinuated the channel was a danger to the craft of journalism itself.

“It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective, and that’s a different take," Emanuel told CNN's "State of the Union," a line he echoed in principle on CBS later in the day. "And more importantly, it’s important not to have the CNN’s and the others of the world being led and following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization."