Obama O’Reilly “smackdown”

This report on the Obama/Bill O’Reilly interview, suggested by Ben Freed, extends the theme in the previous post regarding the Campbell Brown interview.  In an age of total packaging, journalists and commentators attempt to penetrate the screen to get something of value.

The best political interviews knock the subjects off their chosen script, either by getting a rise out the guest or eliciting an unexpected answer. 

While the results may be of value in attracting attention, to what extent does it elicit the kind of information that voters would find of benefit?  Given that O’Reilly has clearly been opposed to Obama’s candidacy, what was to be gained by Obama consenting to an interview?

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8 Responses to “Obama O’Reilly “smackdown””

  1. Rachael Abrams Says:

    It’s funny how Obama backed out of many debates and consented to an interview by BILL O’REILLY! I think the only reason why he did is because Obama knows O’Reilly and his conservative views. He knows that he is known to be very “fiery” and that if he did have an interview with him, it would only make him look good. I don’t think so- but then again, I’m a McCain supporter.

  2. Laura Holt Says:

    I feel like Obama’s appeal is making himself out to be the “strong victim” if you will. He always places his life story in every speech to make him seem stronger. In this case, he is only trying to show that even though he is O’Reilly’s victim, he is still strong enough to have an interview with him.

    Unfortunately, everything Obama says is canned; nothing from his heart. The public suffers because what we do get from the packaged campaigns are altered views of reality. At least in European countries, they have a better clue as to what they’re getting in their government even though it doesn’t look as pretty.

  3. W. Anderson Says:

    If Obama “knows that [O’Reilly] is known to be very ‘fiery’,” how would that help him, or make him look good? Isn’t it possible he simply wanted to appear on a talk show (very light usage of the word when it comes to ‘The O’Reilly Factor’) that didn’t pander to a traditional demographic of his followers?

  4. Rachael Abrams Says:

    It is very probable- but it still makes him look good. He could say, “HEY I CAN’T STAND UP TO MCCAIN BUT I CAN DEFINITELY STAND UP TO O’REILLY.” But really, you are right, he’s able to make his point across to another demographic which is a smart political move.

  5. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert Says:

    I’m not quite sure if it was a “smart” move, but it was certainly an interesting one that drew attention. I think he wanted to show a different demographic that he can keep his cool with O’Reilly. Plus, a lot of independents who are sitting on the line may have tuned in to see the match-up, just to see how it would go down.

  6. Ben Freed Says:

    With all due respect to John McCain, if the republicans were going to be picking their candidate based on speaking ability alone, I highly doubt McCain would have gotten the nod. I actually would be much more afraid to engage Bill O’Reilly in debate than McCain. Why Obama declined to do the town hall things, I’m not quite sure, but I think that the Obama camp is looking forward to the debates much more than the McCain camp. And speaking of McCain, he’s the one who said that he wouldn’t do an interview with someone, not because they were asking questions that were too “fiery” but that someone they work with happened to have asked a question that he believed was too fiery. Maybe it was “how many houses do you have?” Because I hear that’s a tough one for him.

  7. Ashley Morgan Says:

    In response to the question of knocking a subject off script, I think it’s great to move a subject away from generic or pre-planned responses, but the benefit to voters really depends on the situation.

    On one hand, if the subject is baffled by a particularly tough, yet relevant question, viewers can spot legitimate shortcomings or see how a candidate deals with the situation.

    However, if tempers flare because of twisting words and constant interruptions (O’Reilly’s specialty), there is is little to no benefit to an informed voter.

    As for Obama appearing on the show, I think he wanted to make a statement that he is not avoiding or afraid of his critics – an “I’ve got nothing to hide” kind of thing. I think it’s interesting how this appearance contrasts with the McCain boycott of Larry King featured in a previous post.

  8. John Odum Says:

    I think this clip from The Daily Show does a pretty good job of showing journalists knocking people off their scripts.
    http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=184114

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