In October of 2009, the White House declared war on Fox News. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House,” communications director Anita Dunn said, “we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.” Obviously, they were right about the “war against Barack Obama” part, at least. This is a station run by a man who claims Obama “just has a different belief system than most Americans.” It’s a station that for the past couple of years or so has tried to convince its viewers that everything Obama says or does is part of his grand scheme to destroy American capitalism.
But the war, officially, lasted only a few weeks. Whatever Obama thinks of Fox News, openly feuding with them doesn’t do him any good. Especially now, as he’s (successfully, so far) positioning himself as a mature pragmatist, working to tone down the caustic partisan environment and cooperate with the opposition, Obama has to play nice with Fox News. And in Part II of his Super Bowl Sunday interview with Bill O’Reilly, which aired on The O’Reilly Factor last night, Obama forced himself to play really nice. Afterward, we imagine, he ran into the bathroom and dry heaved.