News out that Sen. Barack Obama will be sitting down for his first major prime time appearance on Fox News in an interview with Bill O’Reilly. Apparently the negotiations have been in the works for over a month.
The crux of this story focuses around Obama sitting down with top Fox News execs with regard to ensuring he gets fair treatment at the network.
Report from the Washington Post:
ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 2 — At a secret meeting with Barack Obama three months ago, Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes says, he tried to clear the air with the Democratic senator by saying that his organization was determined to be fair but would not be “in the tank” for Obama’s campaign.
During the sit-down in a Waldorf-Astoria hotel suite in Manhattan that included Rupert Murdoch, the network’s owner, Obama expressed concern about the way Fox was covering him. “I just wanted to know if I’m going to get a fair shake from Fox News Channel,” Ailes recalled him saying.
“Senator, you’re the one who boycotted us,” Ailes says he replied. “We’re not the ones who boycotted you. Nor did we retaliate for your boycott.”
The meeting appears to have eased tensions between the two camps, which began when all the Democratic candidates, complaining that the network favors Republicans, refused to hold any primary-season debates on Fox. After resisting invitations for months, Obama now plans to appear on Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time Fox program on Thursday, the night that John McCain delivers his acceptance speech at the Republican convention here.
The talk turned to “The O’Reilly Factor,” and Obama said he would appear on the show before the election. Ailes says he told the senator that there would be no “embarrassing or underhanded stuff” in the interview and that if he had any overall concerns about Fox’s treatment in the future, he should call Ailes directly.
Asked to assess the sit-down, Ailes said: “I wanted him to understand that we’re a real journalism organization and we’re going to cover what’s there. We’re not out to get him. . . . Neither of us was overly aggressive but neither of us blinked.”
The big news here is that clearly Obama is attempting to take some wind out of McCain’s sails on Thursday night. The O’Reilly interview will be big with viewers from across the political spectrum. However, O’Reilly airs at 8pm eastern and McCain will not be speaking probably until 10pm eastern or later.
We’ll have the full video once it airs.
Watch the first part of the interview and get more information about when the next parts will air:
Video: Barack Obama on The O’Reilly Factor (Part 1, 9/4/08)