As many of you know, I have no use for Fox News. Frankly, I see Fox News (and virtually every on air personality that comprises the network) as little more than a communications arm of the Republican Party.
So, based on that, I was a bit surprised that President Obama would take time out of his schedule (with so many important issues on the table) and waste it talking to a representative of a channel that is doing essentially everything within its power to undermine his presidency. 24/7, Fox News personalities take turns taking shots at President Obama, attacking him, attacking his administration, and attacking any and all policies even remotely affiliated with him. So, as President Obama went on the air with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, I knew he was in enemy territory with a man who was predisposed to doing everything in his power to making the president look bad.
Ultimately, Baier miserably failed (in my opinion) to make the president look bad. Actually, Baier came across as a man who had an agenda (one to attack the president relentlessly and disrespectfully challenge him repeatedly). What made the failure of Baier almost a certainty was his ignorance to fall into the same trap that so many right wingers fall into: he underestimated the intelligence and toughness of the president. Several times now, President Obama has challenged the Republicans on their own turf and beaten them like a bowl of eggs. Still, in the back of his mind, I can imagine Baier believing that President Obama was not that spot and probably chanting “teleprompter, teleprompter, teleprompter” in his head (thinking he had the president’s number with no teleprompter … and that the president’s act was little more than smoke and mirrors).
Like so many others, Baier ended up looking foolish and (perhaps worst) came across as an angry, disrespectful and frustrated partisan.
This is from a Washington Post blog written by Jonathan Capehart:
Watching the entire interview made me miss the late moderator of “Meet The Press,” Tim Russert. He would have asked process questions. He would have pushed the president to answer questions he didn’t feel were being answered. But he would have done so in a manner that was firm, yet respectful. More importantly, he would have focused intensely on the substance of the health-care legislation to cut through the clutter, rhetoric and political posturing so that viewers at home would have as much information as possible before their representatives voted.
Baier was less interested in substance (if he was at all) and more interested in trying to portray the president as working some sort of unsavory backdoor deals to pass this health care legislation that conservatives and Fox News (one in the same) abhor.
Baier showed a stunning and complete lack of respect for President Obama and his presidency. I was shocked at the depth, breadth and boldness of his disrespect of President Obama.
Repeatedly, Baier cut off the president when he didn’t like his answers, and came out with right-wing talking point after right-wing talking point to try and paint President Obama as negatively as he possibly could. It’s fairly clear that Baier was in full partisan Fox News mode as he tried to talk over the president and interrupt as Barack Obama attempted to answer his questions. Much like a sports announcer for the flagship station, Baier was playing to his far-right audience by trying to rough up the president with clearly disrespectful intentions. To a large extent, Bret Baier was playing to his right-wing audience.
The right wing doesn’t hate Obama just because he’s black. They hate him because he’s an “uppity negro” who doesn’t agree with them. This story was predictable long before it ever took place.
I think Dr. Boyce is right on the money. Many conservatives see President Obama as overstepping his bounds and being out of his place in society.
Bret Baier’s actions, during this Fox News interview, were a sign of how a lot of conservatives feel about President Obama, and it is not just because of his politics.
He was speaking for millions of individuals on the far right who have no respect for this president and have nothing but contempt for his presidency.
UPDATE: Watch the difference between how Baier practically gets on his knees sucks off President George W. Bush while practically spitting on President Obama. This is from Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/03/18/baier-bush-obama/