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White House says Biden’s Super Bowl interview with Fox is off

<i>Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images</i><br/>President Joe Biden is not expected to give a Super Bowl interview with Fox on Sunday.
Getty Images
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
President Joe Biden is not expected to give a Super Bowl interview with Fox on Sunday.

By Oliver Darcy and Betsy Klein, CNN

The White House says President Joe Biden will not sit down for an interview with Fox before the Super Bowl, ending a strange back and forth between the Biden administration and the television network with which it frequently spars.

Earlier Friday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Fox had pulled the plug on the administration’s proposal to give an interview with Fox Soul, a small streaming platform aimed at Black Americans.

“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. We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled,” Jean-Pierre said in a tweet Friday.

Hours later, Fox said it would interview the president after all, claiming there had been a mixup with the White House. Fox said its reporters had flown to Washington from Los Angeles earlier in the day to conduct the interview.

But Friday night, the administration said the interview was still off.

“As we said earlier, we had arranged an interview with Fox Sports Host Mike Hill & Vivica A. Fox with the President ahead of the Super Bowl and Fox Corp had the interview cancelled,” a White House spokesperson told CNN. “Fox has since put out a statement indicating the interview was rescheduled, which is inaccurate.”

Typically, such interviews are pre-taped on the Friday before the Super Bowl with the network airing the event.

For weeks, Fox News had been seeking an interview with Biden. But the White House never committed to one with the right-wing channel, with which the White House has a contentious relationship.

Instead, the White House attempted to circumvent Fox News by trying to set up an interview with Fox Soul. An interview with the Fox Soul network could have allowed the White House a workaround to still participate in the traditional pre-game conversation with a Fox-aligned outlet without having to sit with one of Fox News’ anchors or reporters.

Biden’s Fox News snub was the latest example of the Democratic president continuing to ice out the right-wing channel and decline requests to sit down with its hosts and anchors.

Biden has not granted Fox News a single interview during his presidency, despite the network repeatedly asking. The channel portrays him and his administration in a negative light, with far-right personalities such as Tucker Carlson regularly launching vicious attacks on Biden.

Fox Corp. on Thursday had not been formally turned down, but was “operating like it’s not happening,” according to a person familiar with the matter at Fox News, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the interview.

Biden sat down for two television interviews earlier in the week, one with PBS NewsHour and another with Telemundo, which makes the snub all the more notable.

There is some recent precedent for declining the traditional pre-Super Bowl interview. President Donald Trump, who villainized the press with lies and smears, declined to sit down with anchor Lester Holt when NBC hosted the Super Bowl in 2018.

If Biden were to have done an interview with Fox News ahead of the Super Bowl, it would almost certainly have been with Bret Baier, who is a generally respected, traditional news anchor.

It’s not just the right-wing commentators at Fox News with whom Biden has taken issue. The president has even tangled with Fox News’ reporters, calling Peter Doocy, its White House correspondent, a “stupid son of a bitch” last year. Biden later called Doocy to apologize.

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