Obama on Fox: Betrayal, or Smart Move?

For two years Obama gave Fox news the cold shoulder. Progressives, myself included, enjoyed this quite a bit considering the fact that Fox is little more (actually, nothing more) than a right wing propaganda machine, and by shutting them down, Obama sure was showing them he meant business.

But then he conceded to an interview by Chris Wallace. Were we all betrayed?

Matt Stoller seems to think so. Actually, Matt feels lied to, this coming from a previous staffer’s promise that Obama was going to “take on Fox,” or something like that.

On that one note alone, I have to ask, what did you expect Obama to do? Point a finger in Chris Wallace’s face and yell, “You guys suck! You’re really mean to Democrats, and you report Republican lies like they’re gospel?”


Of course, the right answer, I suppose, would be to continue the boycott, but the salient point to make here is that the man is running for president. You don’t get to lead a boycott, particularly a boycott on one of the most watched “news” channels in the market, and run for president at the same time. Whether we like it or not, Obama had to go on Fox some time.

And to be honest, I think it was a smart move. Check John Hinderaker’s response to the appearance:

In my opinion, given that Obama has essentially zero record of working with Republicans, that was extremely well done. He makes you want to believe him.

I’ve said that I think John McCain is the early favorite to beat either Obama or Hillary Clinton, but Obama’s performance today was a reminder of how formidable he will be in the fall, assuming that he gets the nomination–and that’s apart from the fact that he is the greatest money-machine in the history of American politics.

Which Sully follows up on pretty nicely:

One of the most striking things I discovered about Obama last year was how many conservatives and Republicans who have encountered or met or engaged him over the years think highly of him. When the partisan right tries to swift-boat him with any number of polarizing clips, smears and half-truths, his best bet is to counter them directly, in the lion’s den. He should do more of these interviews. He should go on O’Reilly and Hannity. His ability to talk to and engage those on the other side of the aisle is real. It’s an asset he shouldn’t hide.

Which illustrates about where I tend to break with a lot of my brethren on the more ardent left. True, I may never be as ideologically pure as some of my friends and colleagues, but at the same time, my feelings aren’t so easily hurt either. Fact is, President’s a pretty big job, and you’re looking for votes from a whole lot of people.

It would have been absolutely hilarious had Obama gone and given Wallace the one fingered salute, and said to the entire studio what most of us say about FNC on a regular basis. But it would have also most likely been the end of Obama’s campaign (seriously, not the faux ends like “bittergate” and “Wrightgate”). I’m also sure there would be many on the left that would be thrilled with Obama if he continued to show Fox the cold shoulder, but the fact of the matter is, a lot of people watch Fox.

Believe it or not, some of those rust belt folks Obama has trouble with probably watch a little Fox News as well.

So, no, I don’t feel particularly betrayed. And really, when you realize that from here on in it’s a race for independents, and people who do watch Fox News, it doesn’t hurt to stick one’s head in the lion’s mouth once in a while.

It may prove to be a pretty smart move.

UPDATE: Big thanks to Dr. Chusid for linking in!

(edited by DrGail)

2 Responses to “Obama on Fox: Betrayal, or Smart Move?”

  1. Bostondreams says:

    Taylor Marsh has a particularly idiotic post up on this, in which she again suggests African Americans and Obama supporters are not important, and also suggests that rules shouldn’t matter. Very Republican of her.

  2. David Welliver says:

    If you want a balanced look at the candidates, watch the Republicans on CNN, and watch the Democrats on Fox.


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