President Joe Biden will not sit for a pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox before the network airs the game on Sunday, according to a statement from the White House. In a later statement, Fox said that Biden is still invited to sit for the interview.
“The President was looking forward to an interview with Fox Soul to discuss the Super Bowl, the State of the Union, and critical issues impacting the everyday lives of Black Americans,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon. “We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled.”
However, Fox said in a statement hours after Jean-Pierre’s post that there was “was some initial confusion.”
“After the White House reached out to FOX Soul Thursday evening, there was some initial confusion,” a Fox Corp. spokesperson told news outlets. “FOX Soul looks forward to interviewing the President for Super Bowl Sunday.”
Fox Soul is the broadcaster’s streaming platform targeting black Americans. According to the channel’s Twitter account, it features topics about “Black News, Inspiration, Celebrity, Social Justice & more!”
It’s not clear if the White House will go ahead with the interview.
Jean-Pierre did not provide more details about why the interview was scheduled, although from her Twitter post, the White House appears to be signaling that it was Fox News that canceled it.
For the past decade or so, presidents have often conducted pre-game interviews before Super Bowls, which are typically the highest-rated television programs every year. Throughout his two terms, former President Barack Obama conducted numerous Super Bowl-related interviews, while former President Donald Trump participated in several; he declined to do so in 2018 when NBC hosted the Super Bowl.
Biden, meanwhile, has held pre-Super Bowl interviews with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell in 2021 and “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt in 2022.
At least one unnamed Fox News executive claimed that the network offered to interview Biden with no strings attached.
“We offered an interview with our top news anchors with no strings attached,” the Fox News executive told The Washington Post. “They walked away from a huge audience, and it’s a major missed opportunity.”
On Thursday, CNN’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter, citing anonymous sources, also said Biden might be snubbing the interview. “We don’t have a formal no, but we are operating like it’s not happening,” an alleged Fox News source told CNN.
This week, Jean-Pierre was asked by Capitol Hill reporters during her press briefings about whether Biden would do the Fox interview. She did not provide any updates in her responses.
Jean-Pierre’s allegation came after Fox News anchor Bret Baier said Tuesday that the network was awaiting confirmation from the Biden administration to go ahead with the interview set to air Sunday.
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