Senator Barack Obama broke his boycott of Fox News Channel and sat down for an interview with Bill O'Reilly. The interview just happened to take place on the final day of the Republican National Convention. In a play to capture a bit of attention from the wildly successful convention speech from Governor Sarah Palin the night before, the audience is told by the campaign that it was simply the only time the Senator had available.
The interview is being shown in segments over multiple nights. Some from Fox News who have watched the interview say Obama looks comfortable and at ease. Others say he stammers over answers and seems tentative. Sounds like a balanced review.
In the Washington Post, an article appeared by Howard Kurtz on September 3. Kurtz writes of a secret meeting between Obama and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and Rpert Murdock, the network's owner which happened three months ago. The meeting happened at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan and Obama brought with him David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs.
"I just wanted to know if I'm going to get a fair shake from Fox News Channel, " Ailes recalled him saying. "Senator, you're the one who boycotted us," Ailes says he replied. We're not the ones who boycotted you. Nor did we retaliate for your boycott."
You may remember it was John Edwards who initially demanded all Democrat presidential candidates boycott Fox News, at the insistence of the far left blogs. Rather than show political courage and independence - some say change- the Democrat candidates fell into line and allowed themselves to be dictated to for fear of loss of support.
Ailes says, "he tried to clear the air with the Democratic senator by saying that his organization was determined to be fair but would not be 'in the tank' for Obama's campaign." This is a distinct difference between Fox News and the other media outlets. By doing honest evaluation of the Obama campaign and the candidate's personal story and family life, Obama "expressed concern about the way Fox was covering him."
"As Ailes recalls it, he responded to Obama's concerns about fairness by saying that "there are opinion shows and there are news shows." "Asked to assess the sit-down, Ailes said: "I wanted him to understand that we're a real journalism organization and we're going to cover what's there. We're not out to get him...Neither of us was overly aggressive but neither of us blinked."
"Ailes says he told the senator that there would be no "embarrassing or underhanded stuff" in the interview and that if he had any overall concerns about Fox's treatment in the future, he should call Ailes directly."
O'Reilly invited Obama to appear on his cable opinion show 9 months ago. At the time, Obama agreed to do so. What better time to finally have a free slot in his calendar than the final night of the Republican convention?
John McCain ran an ad on television congratulating Obama and his success on the final night of the Democrat convention. Obama does a personal interview for personal publicity.
Country First? Change?