Bill O'Reilly helped write books about the killing of Abraham Lincoln and Jesus. Based on his performance before the Super Bowl, if given the opportunity to interview both men, O'Reilly would have asked Lincoln why his wife was spending so much of the tax payers money on sprucing up the White House, and for her own personal wardrobe, and he would have asked Jesus why He ran away from his parents...caused them so much anxiety and acted so irresponsibly when He was 12.
In a ten-minute interview before the game, O'Reilly interrogated President Obama. This interview comes at a time when, amazingly, Democrats and Republicans admit the gap between the rich and everyone else is the widest its been in over 100 years...economic stagnation has crushed mobility meaning if you are born poor you are likely to stay poor...(so long Horatio Alger)...Syria isn't getting rid of its chemical weapons or destroying the weapon's factories...Iran is still pursuing a nuclear weapon and wreaking havoc in Syria and throughout the region...tensions in Asia between China and its neighbors are rising...cyber attacks are now a bigger threat to this nation than physical terrorist attacks...stocks are taking a beating...we now know the N.S.A. is spying on every phone call, email and all internet activity including anything on your Facebook page, Twitter feeds and any web site you have ever visited (you would think he might be interested in the gutting of the 4th amendment)...job growth is anemic and what new jobs are being created don't pay enough which is why there is a huge debate about raising the minimum wage...and Jersey Shore has been replaced by a group of southern crackers who make Snooki look like a Rhodes scholar.
So what does O'Reilly do with his precious ten minutes? He jumps on Obama about the Affordable Care Act, firing Kathleen Sibelius, the attack on the consulate in Benghazi and the I.R.S. investigating regressive political organizations. He wants to know if telling people they could keep their insurance if they liked it was Obama's biggest mistake in his entire presidency? Really? (in the latest polls, most Americans don't like how the law was rolled out, are skeptical about increasing costs but also say leave it alone and quit trying to repeal it) O'Reilly went for the "gotcha" question right out of the box. He continued with questions about why Obama didn't fire Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius? (also something Americans waiting for the Super Bowl to start were vitally interested in) In his way-back-machine-like questioning, O'Reilly moves on to challenge the president on Benghazi, "what did you know and when did you know it?" "Did anyone use the word terrorism in front of you?" "Were you covering up just to win the election?"
As stated before, the Affordable Care Act is a settled issue for most Americans. They aren't sure if they like it...don't know how it will affect them ultimately...millions have insurance who never had it before...and they say "enough" leave it alone except to tinker if necessary. No one, except a Fox habitué, cares if Sibelius was fired or not...the Senate just issued a report from a bi-partisan commission, which did not find any Benghazi cover-up linked to the President...and due to the I.R.S. "scandal" the rules have been changed so regressive Republican rich guys can't hide behind non-profit 501(c)4 groups while they attempt to hijack elections.
O'Reilly didn't ask a single question about what the American people worry about on a daily basis. He played to his audience. He failed any journalistic test. (Which is ironic since he was apoplectic when I told him he wasn't a journalist, but rather just a talk show host, when I appeared on his show. Sunday proved my critique was spot on.)
Recently, the publication "The Week” ran an item about a poll showing Americans who neither watched nor listened to news on a frequent basis were better informed on issues than viewers of Fox News. Glenn Beck now admits everything he said and did on Fox was a setup, a hustle, a sham intended to play to the audience and follow the Roger Ailes playlist. Now, O'Reilly reinforces all of this by playing "gotcha" with the President, exploring no new ground, and only informing his Fox minions leaving the rest of the audience out in the cold.
President Obama did not exactly cover himself in glory during the exchange. When asked about his "...if you love it, you can keep it" comment, he admitted he shouldn't have said it, but didn't add much more than that, nor did he ask O'Reilly what his or Fox's substitute would be if the law were repealed. (this could be because regressives have steadfastly refused to offer any alternative knowing it wouldn't cover as many people, nor would it reduce costs) When asked about Sibelius, the President claimed he always held people in his administration accountable for their actions, even as he gave Sibelius a pass and did not fire her, which is exactly what he should have done. Score one Bill. On Benghazi, he would not say what then Secretary of Defense Panetta told him in the early moments after the attack, dancing around the word terrorism, when he should have answered straight up that the talking points issued after the attack were wrong and misleading. (while pointing out all of the false "facts" put out by Fox and repeated by O'Reilly.)
It was interesting to see O'Reilly so obviously toadying for his Fox bosses and the older, white, mostly male audience the network caters to, instead of demanding from the President what he will do now to create jobs...rebuild the nation's infrastructure...enunciate our foreign policy position vis-à-vis the Middle East, Ukraine, China and the South China Sea...why he has been so unable to address the real concerns of Americans on Super Bowl Sunday.
O'Reilly decided to shoot some fish in a barrel...pick off some low-hanging fruit...pander to his base...boost his own ego...rather than do the responsible thing and push the most powerful man in America about issues most Americans, other than Fox aficionados, wake up every day filled with worry.
On Super Bowl Sunday, in those ten minutes running up to the kickoff, there was no new chapter in Profiles in Courage written by the "journalist" from Fox.