Bill O'Reilly's pre-Superbowl interview with President Obama

Did anybody see this. Fox News demagogue and iconic hot head Bill O’Reilly tried to interview the President before the game yesterday. O’Reilly did not make himself look good in the exchange. He cut Obama off numerous times, wouldn’t let him finish answers and sometimes asked a question then answered it himself.

The questions about Egypt in the beginning of the interview weren’t terrible, though he did try to get Obama to say he supported the Muslim Brotherhood and darkly commented that “Mubarak knows a lot of bad things about the US,” trying to adumbrate, I guess, that Mubarak is going to go to wikileaks and bring the US to its knees if he walks.

He also asked if Obama knew exactly when Mubarak would leave, as if that’s up to the US to decide. O’Reilly kept up with the Fox News policy of not really taking a strong position on Mubarak leaving one way or the other in order to preserve a strategy of making Obama wrong no matter what happens.

Obama handled those questions fairly well, saying basically that he thought Mubarak was done, and that he wanted to see a representative democracy in Egypt, while deftly deflecting the “Muslim Brotherhood” questions, pointing out that they are a minority in Egypt.

Things went downhill after that, with O’Reilly trying to go after Obama on the Health Care Law, with frequent interruptions from O’Reilly.

Then O’Reilly just started getting stupid, saying that “lots of people think you [Obama] are a leftist and a redistributionist who wants to take away our freedoms.”

Obama literally laughed in O’Reilly’s face at that one, which I think discomfitted him a little bit.

O’Reilly then asked him, “does it disturb you that so many people hate you?” (a question which could easily be turned around on "O’Reilly), a stupid, meaningless question that Obama handled well nonetheless, pointing out the obvious, that those who hate him don’t actually know him, but only hate a “funhouse mirror” representation of him.

They then turned to the Superbowl, and O’Reilly expressed surprise that Obama knew anything about football (I guess O’Reilly assumes that Kenyans only know soccer).

O’Reilly came off as kind of an idiot, and one who was disrespectful to the Office as well (he never interrupted GWB like that), Obama came off a cool and collected, and did not get ruffled at O’Reilly’s stupid questions. The interview didn’t do any damage to Obama, if that’s what the Fox News audience was hoping for, and if anything it might have slightly marginalized O’Reilly even more as any kind of serious political pundit or interviewer in the wake of an already embarrassing week after declaring that the ocean tides move by magic.

I can’t help but think, though, that if someone asked Sarah Palin, “does it disturb you that so many people hate you,” Fox News and talk radio would go into full bore “poor Sarah” mode, and Palin would facebook all about how she was just like the Jews in Nazi Germany going off to Pearl Harbor on the Underground Railroad.

Other thoughts, opinions, comments, jokes?

I caught the first minute or two about Egypt and the whole enterprise made me nervous (I knew I wouldn’t have been able to keep my cool in such a situation), so I went in the other room and ate pierogies.


I thought it was exactly what one would expect from O’Reilly. But it was exceedingly odd to me that this interview was presented as part of the Super Bowl pre-game. Just weirdly incongruous.

FOX usually manages to keep their cable news operation separate from their broadcast network, and this was an excellent example of why. They’ve got a pretty sweet preaching-to-the-choir deal going on over at FOXNews. If they think it’s wise to start trying to spread their message through their Sports programming, I think rather it has the effect of causing anybody who might not be familiar with Bill O’Reilly to think, “Jeez, what a prick!”

Funny, when he interviewed Bush, he had his head so far up his ass he could see daylight.

So, did this actually air on the Fox Network (by which I mean the broadcast network that airs Family Guy, Simpsons, etc.) as part of the pre-game show, or did it air only on Fox News?

It was on the actual broadcast network. They hyped the hell out of it too. “The interview all of America is waiting for.” Really?

It was on the standard FOX network as part of the pre-game.

I thought it was “okay” although I had more respect for O’Reilly when he interviewed Obama pre-2008 election. This was too dominated by “Obama: Socialist or Fascist? You decide!” style questions.

The bits about Mubarak knowing “a lot of stuff” only made me wonder “Wait, so is O’Reilly admitting that the US does a lot of bad stuff that’s ‘bad’ enough that it would be terrible if made known to the world?”

Sorta bizarre. O’Reilly was relatively well behaved when he interviewed candidate Obama three years ago. In general, when he has a liberal guest (or even a lot of his conservative guests) he just uses them as a prop to transfer his own views, but for high level ones, he usually reigns himself in a bit. You’d think in front of a Superbowl Audience, whose likely to be less in his corner then the regular viewers of his show, and with pretty much the highest level guest its possible to get, he’d try and be extra reasonable.

Instead he comes off looking like he thinks people tune into an interview with the leader of the free-world to find out what O’Reilly has to say.

It’s especially odd because during Obama’s campaign, I remember someone asking him and McCain what they would change about college sports or something. McCain answered with some serious stuff about, oh, I can’t remember, but Obama said that he thinks that Division I football should have a playoff instead of having a computer or reporters pick who plays in the championship game.

I thought at the time, what a cool, on the spot, non-political answer.

As for the rest of your points, I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I’ll see if I can track it down, or maybe track down the Daily Show’s version of it.


I don’t think he comes off that way, I think he IS that way.

Did O’Reilly call him “dude” at any point?

We were laughing out loud at O’Reilly. The bits where he interrupts the fucking POTUS were too much. Yah O’Reilly, you really need to interject when Obama is speaking, mm hmm. And the follow-up to the ‘people hate you question’: “Ok, but doesn’t it annoy you just a little bit that people hate you?” Way to hang in there, pal. Can’t say I have watched much O’Reilly, but this made him look like a jackass IMHO. And it made Obama look good, portraying him as a non-partisan fellow who really will try to communicate with both sides of the aisle.

2 points, Obama.

O Reilly had a terrible make up job. Like they didn’t cover the area around his eyes, and it looked half done.

Link to a video of the interview:

I saw part of it, and O’Reilly didn’t come off too well, IMHO. In fact, I was physically embarrassed for him fairly early on and told my wife I was going to the computer room to play the DoWII beta. I assume that, unlike being turned into a Newt, O’Reilly didn’t get better…


Billo actually looked like he might be a little nervous to me. the interrupting looked like it might have been a function of getting the yips a little bit. He wasn’t on his own turf, with control of the microphone and studio and with some ineffectual putz sitting in as his target. He was in the White House, interviewing the President of the United States (probably after a series of deep cavity searches), getting the stink eye from Secret Service agents, and I think he got the yips and started babbling. I did get some impression (maybe I’m imagining things) like maybe he felt like he’d gone too far and was trying to pull it back some at the end (“I hope I’ve been fair, I try to defend you sometimes. I hope YOU think I’m fair”). I don’t remember if he interviewed Bush in the White House, but even if he did, he wasn’t face to face with a President that he had spent five days a week trashing on the air for three years.

Here’s an excerpt from a transcript of an interview he conducted with Bush a few weeks before the 2004 election. I don’t know if this particular interview took place in the White House (I know he did interview him in the White House at some point), but I’m surprised they didn’t bring in the jaws of life to separate Bill-O’s lips from Bush’s derriere.

Does it bother anyone else that the President of the USA is not wearing a tie, while O’Reilly is?

Doen’t bother me. Why should it?

It was Super Bowl Sunday. Automatic casual day.

Because it is a (inter?)nationally broadcast formal interview with the head of state of the most powerful nation in the world?

I know it was O’Reilly and it was the Superbowl, but c’mon. My mother would probably slap me senseless if I went on TV like that.