When Dunn was asked whether the president refused to accept interview requests from Fox because the White House sees the network as “a wing of the Republican party,” the communications director responded: “Is this why he did not appear? The answer is yes.”

That is such a radically wrong response that it calls into question the whole communications strategy of an administration that has somehow managed to take a man who was elected with a mandate and lodge him in a corner where there are now serious questions about whether a Democratic president and an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress can enact basic elements of the Democratic agenda.

Obama should sit down with Fox reporters and anchors and do interviews. That does not mean that the president has to put up with the emotional wreckage that is Glenn Beck. But there is no reason why he shouldn’t go another round with Bill O’Reilly (as Obama did during the 2008 campaign) or sit down with Chris Wallace (as Bill Clinton did).

If the Fox interviewers are absurdly unfair, the American people will respond with appropriate consternation. On the other hand, if they are aggressive and pointed in their challenges, Obama will rise or fall on the quality of his responses.