Talking Points

Was O'Reilly's Interview With Obama Pinheaded or Patriotic?


By Bill O'Reilly


As predicted, reaction to my interview with President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday was all over the place. Some people loved it, others hated it, and the assessment wasn't always along ideological lines.


One of the more interesting aspects of the talk was when I asked the president how he reacts to people who hate him.




BILL O'REILLY: Does it disturb you that so many people hate you? I mean, it's a serious question.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: You -- you know, the -- the truth is, the -- 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 -- even the folks who hate you, they don't know you.




Apparently that exchange offended some on the left, like Nancy Pelosi.



REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: To hear this used in the presence of the President of the United States, I think we all have to recognize that while we may disagree with people and while we may think they are wrong, we shouldn't think that they are bad and we shouldn't ever use the word hate in context of people.




Oh, I see. So now there's another word banned from conversation. How crazy is this? And it gets worse.




MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": What do you make, Joe, of the question why do people hate you so much?



BRZEZINSKI: And I just wonder if that would have ever been asked about George W. Bush?




I wonder. I wonder. Would anyone have dared to ask President Bush that kind of question?



O'REILLY: The people in the press hated you, a lot of them.




O'REILLY: Why? Why?

BUSH: I don't know. You have to ask them. I -- I -- I -- I'm not a hater. And so sometimes it's hard for me to understand why somebody hates somebody.



So apparently the people at MSNBC missed that interview there. So somehow I don't remember Nancy Pelosi objecting to that exchange. Do you think she just might be trying to manufacture controversy to make Fox News and me, your humble correspondent, look bad? Do you think?


Other reactions: The uber-left British newspaper The Guardian said I was rude and blustery. The Los Angeles Times called the chat a freewheeling exchange. The New York Times called me conservative twice in four sentences, in case you missed it the first time. Howard Kurtz said I didn't put any points on the board. The Baltimore Sun guy David Zurawik wrote that both participants did things well. Politico called it friendly sparring.


But Arlene Dietrich, who lives in Cadiz, Kentucky, says that I let Mr. Obama lie so she, Arlene, turned off the interview.


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 FNC 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.


And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots


The Super Bowl halftime show featured the Black Eyed Peas, and some people didn't like them. What do you think? Were the Peas pinheads or patriots in their set on Sunday? Please vote on