The Super Bowl is undoubtedly the United States’ largest annual sporting event. The football brawl is a day for most Americans to relax with friends, consume massive amounts of calories and yell at the tv. The game and all of the hype leading up to it have become one of the country’s most revered and respected traditions. During Super Bowl week, it’s also sufficient to say that lots of other news stories take a back seat to pre-game postulation.
But one interesting event is starting to become something of a tradition on Super Bowl night is political in nature. For the second time Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly landed a major interview with President Barack Obama. Including an appearance on the O’Reilly Factor with then-candidate Obama, Sunday’s brawl marked the third time the President has interviewed with the cable news mogul. As Washington Post writer Dana Milbank notes, the most interesting take-away from this latest installment was much less about Obama, and more about growing mistrust within the country’s right flank.
This was O’Reilly’s third such session with Obama — and as such it served as a milepost on the conservative movement’s road to Obama hysteria. O’Reilly’s first sitdown with Obama, in 2008, was a lengthy and affectionate encounter. The second meeting, another Super Bowl interview in 2011, had its share of interruptions, but there was lighthearted banter and the questions were more neutral (“What is it about the job that has surprised you the most?”).
But this time, O’Reilly gave only a passing pleasantry at the end (“I think your heart is in the right place”) and otherwise was hostile from the start. He leaned forward in his seat, waving his pen and pointing his finger at the president. He shook his head doubtfully at some of Obama’s answers.
No doubt the Fox News viewers got what they wanted from the session. But there’s a whole other viewership that the President seems to be ignoring out there… the one that is left-of-center. By contrast to O’Reilly, MSNBC’s lead anchor Rachel Maddow has had only one session with candidate Barack Obama, and has NEVER been granted an interview during his Presidency. That’s right folks… arguably the most Progressive voice on television has been locked out of the White House for over 5 years.
One can only speculate the reason for this. Perhaps it has to do with the known fact that Bill O’Reilly’s program is the highest rated in Prime-time cable news. But if that were the case, then why would the President grant interviews to Jake Tapper at CNN, whose program is much lower than Maddow? Ratings has little or nothing to do with the decision. Or perhaps Maddow’s first and only interview was a bit too harsh for Obama to take. But then why would he even deal with O’Reilly??
Regardless of reason, this losing streak for Maddow needs to end. This country is more than just Conservatives and Independents… Progressives are just as American as anyone else, and we deserve to have our issued discussed with the President and American public too. I call upon President Obama to grant Rachel Maddow an interview this year. Whether it turns into a ‘Super Brawl’ or not… this interview is LONG overdue.