Was Obama's Fox News Face-Off Worth It?

He got a grilling and an apology from Bret Baier, at least

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President Obama entered the proverbial lion's den Wednesday giving an interview to Fox News' Bret Baier. Seen as a last ditch effort to promote health reform, the exchange was scrappy and somewhat confrontational. Baier zeroed in on the Democrats' controversial "deem and pass" strategy and interrupted the president when he sidestepped the question. Before ending the interview, Baier apologized for his interjections saying "I was trying to get the most for our buck.” Was it a constructive interview? Commentary after the clip:

  • Too Focused on Process, writes Katie Connolly at Newsweek: "Baier refused to indulge Obama's verbosity. Most reporters would similiarly push for answers in a combative interview with somebody a bit less important. But they'd normally do it over policy stances, actions or statements, not over their views on a procedural tactic that both parties use. It was certainly out of the ordinary for a Presidential interview, and after a while, watching him badger Obama over process questions became irritating."
  • I Disagree, Process Matters Right Now, counters Steve Krakauer at Mediaite: "While Obama had answers for some of Baier’s specific questions about what was contained in the bill, he wouldn’t comment on the process. Maybe it won’t matter in six months looking back, but in this moment, it is still relevant and valid. Baier came off looking sharp and prepared in what was likely his most high-profile interview ever." The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz agrees. During the interview he tweeted, "Bret Baier interrupting Prez a lot but legitimately. O has a tendency to filibuster."
  • Either Way, the President Showed Courage, writes Patrick at the conservative Political Byline: "I have to give President Obama credit, after bashing Fox News... he did show some guts by going into the lion’s den and going head to head with Bret Baier. That took some serious guts. It could help his image too; not with those on the hard right, but the independents, who voted for the guy."
  • Baier Did a Fine Job, writes Archy Cary at Big Journalism: "Baier was respectful, but not intimidated. Unlike most of the legacy media interviewers, Baier understands that he represents more than himself and his network. He represents the viewing public. It’s why the media has been historically called the Fourth Estate."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.