Fox announced on Thursday that Fox News talk-show host Bill O’Reilly will interview President Barack Obama before the Super Bowl on February 2nd. This is actually going to be a two-part interview, as the first part will be shown live prior to the telecast of the football game, while the second part will be taped and shown the following night on O’Reilly’s show The O’Reilly Factor.
It is a tradition for the President to do an interview with the network that is hosting the Super Bowl. As Fox has it this year, they gave the interview to O’Reilly, just as they did back in 2011. Typically, other networks give the interview to someone from the ‘straight-news’ division, not an opinion show host. For instance, last year, CBS gave the interview to Scott Pelley. Instead of giving this over the Shep Smith or Chris Wallace, they prefer to use O’Reilly. Obviously, this shows that opinion matters more than straight news reporting to Fox.
It is also probably fair to say that O’Reilly pushed for this due to his ego. Notice that the former tabloid show host also scored a second interview segment to air on his show. That is sure to be a nice little ratings boost for O’Reilly. I would bet good money that O’Reilly will be harsher in tone and present more difficult questions for the President during the taped segment, so as to satisfy his rabid, anti-Obama audience. Whereas for the Super Bowl interview, he will probably be gentler and try to pass himself off as a fair interviewer.
You do have to give it to the President, though. The man’s a good sport. He’s already been interviewed by O’Reilly twice before. Once, in 2008, when he was still running for President, and the 2011 Super Bowl interview. The last interview was a much easier affair than the caustic one that O’Reilly conducted in 2008. Yet, the 2011 interview still had some tense moments and attempts by O’Reilly to corner the President on some subjects. Plus, Obama has to know the absolute derision and contempt that Fox News and its viewers have for him.
It will be interesting to see how the cool, collected President handles O’Reilly this time around. What tricks will BillO have up his sleeve for this interview? In front of tens of millions of people, will O’Reilly try to pull Benghazi out of his behind to try to rattle the President? Will he give the President any credit for anything? It is Fox News, so I think we all know the answer to these questions.