LOS ANGELES, February 4, 2014 — Fox News host Bill O’Reilly interviewed President Obama in a mutually beneficial sit-down. Part of the interview aired on Super Bowl Sunday before the game and the remainder the day after on O’Reilly’s program.
While many Americans dislike politics interfering with NFL Sundays, the reason these two men sat down on Super Bowl Sunday is obvious.
Nobody draws ratings like the president. Obama spreads his message in front of the largest television audience, far surpassing the dwindling number of people tuning out his State of the Union addresses. Both men reach an audience who may avoid political shows.
The predictable problems with the interview were two-fold. Time constraints prevented follow-up questions. O’Reilly is also so obsessed with being fair that accusations of bias put him on the defensive, wasting time. Chris Wallace and the late Tim Russert just asked tough questions without worrying perceptions.
As for Obama, he refuses to answer questions. He blames everybody else, repeatedly jabbing Fox News in the middle of a Fox News interview. He rambles to prevent more questions. Fox haters love this, confusing their own biases for open-mindedness.
When O’Reilly asked about the Obamacare website, Obama stated that nobody anticipated the degree of problems with healthcare.gov and that now it’s working the way it’s supposed to. This is untrue.
O’Reilly noted that only 8% of Americans feel it’s working well and inquired why Obama does not fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius?
Obama insisted he holds everybody up and down the line accountable, a meaningless untrue platitude.
O’Reilly asked if Obama’s “you can keep your healthcare” statement was his biggest mistake?
Obama does not admit mistakes, saying, “I try to focus not on the fumbles but on the next play.” This is meaningless blather.
O’Reilly inquired if former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Obama if Benghazi was a terrorist attack, since General Carter Ham told Panetta it was.
Obama insisted Panetta told him of a terror attack on our compound but did not know it was a terrorist attack. Something dangerous was happening. Obama then filibustered and blamed O’Reilly and folks like him for Benghazi critics.
O’Reilly asked why IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman visited the White House 157 times. Obama insisted that was for healthcare.gov and financial reforms so we do not have taxpayer-funded bailouts in the future. Obama stated, “I do not recall meeting or seeing Schulman.”
Obama can release the unredacted, unaltered visitors’ logs showing who Shulman met with and when. Since there is no national security issue concerning the IRS. If Obama is being truthful, he would gleefully release them.
Obama kept blaming Fox News and said there were multiple IRS hearings. He cited “boneheaded decisions” but “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
The corruption is ongoing on because conservatives are still being targeted, from Friends of Abe to Dinesh D’Souza. O’Reilly did not bring them up or the innocent Benghazi film-maker who was imprisoned for jeopardizing Obama’s reelection.
O’Reilly asked Obama why we have to fundamentally transform the nation when Obama himself has done so well here.
Obama insisted he did not say that despite loudly and proudly claiming he would do this in a public speech five days before the 2008 election. His words are on video for the world to see, if he would ever be held accountable.
O’Reilly asked who would win the Super Bowl, and Obama punted.
O’Reilly asked Obama why he does not address the horror of 72% of black children being born out of wedlock. Obama insisted he talks about it all the time and it’s not given publicity. Once again, it’s all the media’s fault.
O’Reilly wanted to know if the Keystone Pipeline, which would create 42,000 jobs, would be a go or a no-go after five years of delays. This was a simple question. Is Obama for it or against it?
Obama refused to answer the question. He insisted building it would only create 2,000 jobs, ignoring the number of jobs that would be created after it was built. He said, “We’ll take a look at it,” because five years of studying the matter is not enough time for a man desperate to avoid taking a stand.
O’Reilly wasted time asking Obama, “Am I unfair?” Obama took the softball and gleefully responded, “Of course you are,” and that attacking him “has made Fox News very successful.”
O’Reilly asked Obama if he was the most liberal president in American history. Obama said Nixon was more liberal because Nixon started the EPA and regulatory state.
O’Reilly asked Obama if he was more of a big government guy. Of course Obama is. That is the very essence defining him. He deeply believes in government. He would rather give a political answer then the truth, insisting, “I disagree with that.” What Obama calls sensible, others call liberal. “We have not massively expanded the welfare state. That is just not true.”
O’Reilly wrapped it up by defending Obama on wounded veterans’ issues, allowing Obama to end this uselesss interview by exclaiming what an honor it was to be Commander in Chief.
If Fox News hates Obama so much, one wonders why they would give him a free campaign commercial. The issue is not whether O’Reilly asks tough questions. What matters is that Obama outright refuses to answer them. O’Reilly rightly concedes that he has no power to make Obama answer them. The appropriate response is that next time Fox News should simply ignore Obama and refuse to interview him. He rejects their legitimacy, so they should just refuse to give him another outlet to throw his temper tantrums.
Fox News is a solid entity, but the quest for ratings should not trump quality. Until Obama has something to say, there is no reason the rest of America should be forced to listen when we turned on the television to watch a football game.
The game is important. Obama’s comments at this point are not.