Obama criticises Fox News coverage in O'Reilly interview

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 9:55pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 February, 2014, 9:58pm

US President Barack Obama accused Fox News of keeping alive controversies the White House believes have been settled in a testy interview that aired before the Super Bowl.

Host Bill O'Reilly asked Obama why he did not sack his health and human services chief over the botched rollout of the health care law last year, whether there was "widespread corruption" at the Internal Revenue Service, and if the White House had tried to play down the significance of an attack in 2012 on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama said "some boneheaded decisions" were to blame for extra scrutiny the IRS had given to conservative "tea party" groups seeking tax-exempt status, and that the issue had been cleared up during "multiple hearings" in Congress.

"These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them," Obama told O'Reilly.

O'Reilly told Obama that many people believed his campaign team sought to downplay the cause of insurgent attacks in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"They believe it because folks like you are telling them that," Obama said, rejecting the allegation, which became an issue in the 2012 presidential election.