The decision to do such a contentious interview on one of the nation's largest stages is especially surprising given the White House's decision to freeze out Fox News during 2009. Since that time, the relationship has improved, but the White House is still concerned that Fox News has not been accurate in its coverage.
The White House is also saying that the interview is being conducted in part because it is a tradition for the sitting president to do a pregame interview with the network hosting the Super Bowl. Last year, President Obama did an interview with CBS when they were the hosts.
I'm not sure what to think about this one. Perhaps this is one tradition that President Obama needs to break. I am especially concerned if the interview is live. By legitimating an instigative pseudo-journalist like Bill O'Reilly, the president is positioning himself to be politically body-slammed by a group of people who will surely set traps for him.
On the other hand, perhaps I am naive. Given that President Obama must deal with a Republican Congress, he may be using this as an opportunity to show conservatives that he's actually a good guy. It didn't work last year, but perhaps the White House is hoping that those who've dedicated nearly all of their energy to undermining the Obama Presidency will have a sudden change of heart. I don't plan to watch the interview, because I don't see the value of such a spectacle. But I certainly hope the president knows what he's doing on this one. I have a really bad feeling.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.