Obama clashes with Fox News in Super Bowl showdown

President accuses conservative TV network of propagating controversies he believes settled

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President Barack Obama has accused conservative TV network Fox News of keeping alive controversies he believes settled, including accusations the White House played down the significance of the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

In an interview with host Bill O'Reilly prior to the NFL's Super Bowl, the most-viewed sports event in the United States, Obama said Fox News has repeatedly resurfaced controversial issues that emerged during his presidency.

Issues cited include Benghazi, the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, and questions over whether there was “widespread corruption” at the Internal Revenue Service.

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

He said Fox News had helped propagate the idea that his campaign team sought to downplay the cause of Benghazi attacks, an allegation he rejects. “They believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” Obama said.

The interview was aired before the Super Bowl, in which the Seattle Seahawks thrashed the Denver Broncos by 43-8.

Super Bowl advertising draws almost as much attention as the game itself, with big brands paying around $4 million per 30-second spot. Advertisers played it safer this year, with less sexual innuendo and little crude humor.

Music legend Bob Dylan appeared in a commercial for Chrysler, urging consumers to buy American.

“Is there anything more American than America?” Dylan asked in a moody voiceover.

“Let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.”

Other commercial highlights included English football icon David Beckham, who appeared in an ad for Swedish clothing company H&M.

The ad featured the 38-year-old stripped down to a vest and underwear sprinting across urban rooftops in order to reach a photo shoot on time, losing his form-fitting boxer shorts in the process.

As expected, Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson appeared in her controversial ad for drinks company Sodastream, which operates a factory in an Israeli settlement on the West Bank.

The slot was the subject of controversy after Johansson's appearance was criticized by the international charity Oxfam, for whom the actress has served as an ambassador for the last eight years. Johansson quit her role with the charity following the dispute.

(With Reuters, AP and AFP)