Television journalist Geraldo Rivera attacked Bill O'Reilly on Friday over his interview with President Barack Obama before the Super Bowl on Sunday, charging that the Fox News host was confrontational and did not give Obama "the classic decorum and respect and deference that you pay the office."
"This was not a classic interview," Rivera charged in the "Fridays With Geraldo
" segment on "The O'Reilly Factor," which was first reported by Mediaite. "What you had here … was a culture clash."
"It was almost as if you were two equals with two opposite world views coming together for a confrontation," he continued. "It was the president of most of the white guys in America and Barack Obama, the president of almost everybody else — and the discussion was at that level."
Rivera also attacked O'Reilly for referring to Obama as a "community organizer" in his questioning about the decline of families in the inner city — adding that to watch the interview was "in some ways, unsettling" because of the Fox host's disposition.
O'Reilly responded that "I was very respectful. … There was no disrespect to that," in making the reference.
From April to October 1992, the president served as director of Illinois Project Vote in Chicago, which registered 400,000 African-Americans in the state during Obama's tenure.
"It's not my job to be a social scientist," O'Reilly fired back. "It's my job to get information. That's my job. I got it.
"And I asked him the tough questions that nobody else — no one — has asked him," he added. "This is what journalists do."
Rivera also said that, while O'Reilly was right about the decline of inner-city families, "it was obscured by the fact that you minimized him: 'You're a community organizer from Chicago.' He's the occupant of the Oval Office."
"I respect the office," O'Reilly said, "but he's accountable to the people. I'm the people's voice.
"I have to ask the questions, and I did so in a polite way," he said.
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