The Uneventful Showdown Between Obama and O’Reilly 

Besides the president sticking it to Fox News for harping on nonissues, some in the media say the sit-down was a snoozefest. 

President Barack Obama; Bill O’Reilly
President Barack Obama; Bill O’Reilly Jewel Samad (Getty Images); Stephen Lovekin (Getty Images)

Who “won” in Bill O’Reilly’s pre-Super Bowl interview with President Obama? Was it the public?

“Remember how much was at stake in February 2011: The GOP had just started running the House; we all knew huge showdowns were coming; and of course all of it was prelude to 2012,” Michael Tomasky wrote Sunday for the Daily Beast. “That O’Reilly interview — I remember a definite sense of drama around it — was a sort of Peoria tryout for everything the right would throw at Obama in his reelection campaign.

“This time? It was mostly like both of them were actors playing ‘Barack Obama’ and ‘Bill O’Reilly.’ Going through the motions. Oh, there were brief moments of frisson. . . .”

Tomasky noted “there was nothing about the future at all . . . And it ain’t 2011 anymore.”

Tomasky’s headline writer wrote: “The Obama and O’Reilly Interview Was a Super Snore.” But at the New York Times, the headline was, “Obama Is Tackled by O’Reilly in Pre-Game Interview.”

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple agreed. “Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly aces Obama interview” read the headline over his blog.

O’Reilly’s topics were Benghazi, the IRS and health-care reform. African American and other websites made their headlines from Obama’s answer to O’Reilly’s question about whether a local Cincinnati IRS office knowingly targeted conservative groups for scrutiny with the knowledge of president’s team. Obama replied, “These kind of things keep surfacing because you and your TV station will promote them.”

Obama Blames Fox News for Stirring Up Political Trouble,” headlined The Root.

On his “News One Now” show on Monday, host Roland Martin said he would have asked questions more relevant to the Super Bowl: What about the issue of football players’ concussions? What about the graduation rates of college players? How about that lawsuit by a member of the Oakland Raiders’ ‘Raiderettes’ cheer squad who says that cheerleaders’ wages, which are paid at the end of the season, are equivalent to earnings of less than $5 per hour?

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: O’Reilly outFoxed by Obama