On his Fox News program The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly claimed that his interview with President Obama proved that Fox News was fair and not out to get the President. O’Reilly said, “Since the liberal media lies about Fox News all the time that demonstration was important. Folks who don’t ordinarily watch us now have some eyewitness data to go on.”
Here is the video from Media Matters:
O’Reilly defended his interview with Obama by saying, “Well, here’s my take on this. Many Americans bring preconceived ideas to any political exposition and rate interviews according to their ideology, but among less intense Americans, I think the consensus is that I got my questions in. The President answered some, dodged some, but the back and forth was spirited and worthwhile. Also, I think Fox News showed the world that we are not in business to demean the President. We want answers, but are not on a crusade to harm the administration. Since the liberal media lies about Fox News all the time that demonstration was important. Folks who don’t ordinarily watch us now have some eyewitness data to go on. In the end the live interview worked for us, and we hope it worked for you.”
The best part of his whole commentary was O’Reilly’s defense of his question that told President Obama that people hate him. He tried to use a question to George W. Bush in a 2010 interview to claim that he treated Bush the same way.
Here is what he asked Bush last year:
O’REILLY: And that was my next question. Again, I don’t know you very well but you are affable and people around you, staff, like Dana Perino works for us now. She thinks you’re the greatest. She loves you. But people in the press hated you. A lot of them. Why? Why?
BUSH: I don’t know. You have to ask them. I’m not a hater, and so sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why somebody hates somebody. And it could have been because of my policies. Maybe they didn’t like my religion. I don’t know. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, but that’s what happens when you’re the president, and it can either bother you or not bother you.
Here is the Obama/O’Reilly exchange:
O’REILLY: I asked this to President Bush when I talked to him a few weeks ago. Does it disturb you that so many people hate you? No. I mean, it’s a serious question.
OBAMA: You know, the truth is, that the people — and I’m sure previous presidents would say the same thing, whether it was Bush or Clinton or Reagan or anybody. The people who dislike you don’t know you.
O’REILLY: They hate you.
OBAMA: Even — the folks who hate you, they don’t know you.
O’REILLY: That’s true.
OBAMA: What they hate is whatever funhouse mirror image of you that’s out there. And they don’t know you. And so, you don’t take it personally.
There is a huge difference in the two questions. In his question to former President Bush, O’Reilly asked him why the press hated him, thus furthering the myth that the liberal media is out to get a Republican. In contrast he asked Obama if it bothers him that the American people hate him, and just to make sure that Obama got the point O’Reilly added, “They hate you.” When each of the two questions is put together, you can see the O’Reilly and the Fox News bias at work. The message is simple. The American people love George W. Bush, but they hate Barack Obama.
The trick is that the questions are framed with inherent bias. Most liberal guests on Fox answer the question as asked, and perpetuate the Fox News world view. The most intelligent of guests, like Obama yesterday, is able to see and exploit the bias in the questioning in order to further their message.
Non-Fox News viewers did get plenty of eyewitness data that they can use to make up their own minds with. What they saw was an extremely biased set of conservative questions asked to a President who kept moving the discussion to the center.
Instead of proving that Fox News is not biased and out to get the administration, the interview did the exact opposite. It provided tens of millions of people with glowing proof of the Fox News bias, and their agenda to bring down this president. The politics behind Fox News are not a liberal lie. They are on the airwaves at FNC every day, and no amount of spin in the “No Spin Zone,” can change the bias that put on full view for all of America to see on Super Bowl Sunday.