Low expectations

Bill O'Reilly will be interviewing President Obama before the Superbowl.  O'Reilly doesn't want us to expect too much from him.  Interviewing the President is, like, hard.  For one, you've got all these rules about being respectful.  You don't get to cut the President's mic if you don't like what he's saying, or interrupt him and call him a pinhead.  Well, that's it:

That's because the rules are different when it comes to interviewing the president of the United States. . . . For example, he is addressed as "Mr. President." No one says "Yo, Barack, how you doin'?" There is a respect for the office that formalizes all conversation.

Right.  You don't open with 'Yo.' But the point is that you don't undermine the dignity of the office, instead of make some lame attempt at racializing the president.  Seriously, 'Yo'.  Yo.  Right, so were the president Irish, you make a big deal about not starting your conversation with President O'Malley with "Blarney!" or asking where he keeps his leprechauns.  Methinks the pundit doth protest too much.

Regardless, O'Reilly prepares us for a subpar interview and a round of critical beatings of his interview.  Instead of preparing his questions, he's preparing his rationalizations.

I fully expect to get hammered after the interview. Depending on how you feel about the president, the questions will either be too soft or too intrusive.

Nope.  False dilemma. O'Reilly can't even rationalize properly.  The questions will not be either too soft or too intrusive.  They will be too improperly formed.  Too ideologically obtuse.  Too pandering to an audience on the other side of the camera and not to the person to whom they are posed.  Too… Fox.  And they will be insufficiently intelligent, serious, or intelligible.  They will be exactly what we expect from Bill O'Reilly.  Which means that our expectations will be low.  Just as O'Reilly has asked us to set them.  Except for different reasons.  Oh well, at least we're all prepared for his journalistic failure.  The only problem is that too many will blame the President and his office for O'Reilly's failure, not the interviewer.  Sheesh, if O'Reilly knew already that this interview wouldn't portray him in a good light, why did he agree to it in the first place?  Doesn't the President know that O'Reilly is important and that interviewing Presidents is hard on him and puts his career in danger?  It is such a sacrifice, you know, interviewing a President when you know that you just can't win. 

12 thoughts on “Low expectations”

  1. Is it worse that O'Reilly racialized the President with "Yo", or suggested that the first thing the Irish guy is likely to do after the interview is "to get hammered"?

  2.  'yo' hasn't been just a 'black thing' for quite a while now. I am in fact Irish, 100%, born and raised, and I say 'yo' all the time. Also, I don't drink, and have no problem with people making jokes about Irish people drinking, because for the most part we do drink a hell of a lot. This blog post is pretty much the dumbest thing you've ever complained about.

  3. As far as I know, "Yo" is originally a Philly-Italian thing (cf. 'yo Adrian. . .")–from the Neopolitan "guaglione."  But I don't think O'Reilly is thinking of that. 

    I'd be curious if in the run-up to the interview (more than once?) with Bush O'Reilly pointed out that he can't talk to Bush that way.  I looked for his pre-interview comments and was unable to find them, but I suspect he didn't curb our enthusiasm in the same way.

    Anyway, Peej, the bulk of this post isn't about that.

  4. It's a well-established fact that O'Reilly is a bigot and racist, so I don't think we need to challenge the intent of the 'yo' remark.

    And peej, I hope you don't believe that O'Reilly's stupidity is justified by the fact that you are "100%" Irish and you don't care that people call you a drunkard

  5. No, I still think O'Reilly is a nutty loon. And I say 100% because I actually live in Ireland, of Irish parents. When Americans say they're Irish they mean something different. It's all about the intent of the comments that'd make them racist or not, and you can't tell what the intent is from the quotes. You may believe already that O'Reilly is a racist. But that's not evident here.

  6. Help me out – O'Reilly has made a lot of comments on a lot of events, issues and people. What are the other contexts for his use of "Yo!"
    I would feel awful if we were misconstruing O'Reilly's intent. ("Feel awful", not falafel – that's something completely different.)

  7. Hi Aaron, follow that link of Jem's.  The Sylvia's comment is priceless.  I think the point here is that you have a kind of super informality–racially motivated or not–that he proposes (in order of course to dismiss) regarding Obama.  I don't think he would have done that with Bush.  This is analogous to his surprise that at Sylvia's no one was saying "Motherf—er, bring me some more iced tea"–he found it to be more like an Italian restaurant, where people where enjoyng themselves. . . . .

    Nonetheless, the point of the post was a bit different, I think. 

  8. OK. I'll back down from the 'yo'-analysis as racialized.  Fine.  I just watched the interview.  I counted at least ten times O'Reilly interrupted the President.  I wonder how many times he would have done so had he not been on his best behavior.

  9. I got the 'falafel' reference, for sure, Aaron.  The moment in the interview where he asked Obama how it feels to be hated was unusual.  Obama could have easily turned it around by asking Bill how he deals with being hated and thought stupid. One more thing: was it my TV, or was O'Reilly excessively orange-looking?  Not a question about argument analysis, but one about aesthetics.

  10. I thought the same thing. O'Reilly seems to bristle at criticism of his objectivity and of Fox News, as exemplified by his various exchanges with Jon Stewart. I doubt that he could have come up with a better answer than the President… even if repeatedly pressed for a different answer.

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