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It seems President Biden will not sit for a Super Bowl Sunday interview with anyone from Fox Corp., after all.
“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 canceled,” a new statement from the White House said. “Fox has since put out a statement indicating the interview was rescheduled, which is inaccurate.”
The most recent statement comes after a day of confusing back and forth where press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Fox canceled President Biden’s interview, which was set to be on Fox Soul, and Fox claimed it didn’t.
“After the White House reached out to Fox Soul Thursday evening, there was some initial confusion,” the company said in a statement. “Fox Soul looks forward to interviewing the President for Super Bowl Sunday.”
Earlier in the day, breaking from tradition, the White House signaled Biden will not sit down for an interview with Fox News during the network’s pre-Super Bowl pregame show.
“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,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled.”
Fox Soul is a free streaming service and digital broadcast network targeting African American audiences that is owned by Fox Corp. A White House official said that they had “locked” an interview with sportscaster Mike Hill and TV personality Vivica A. Fox for Fox Soul, which could have been shared across Fox platforms (including, presumably, on the Fox Super Bowl pregame show.)
The Super Bowl interview — always with the network that airs the Big Game — really began with President Bush in 2004, though it was Obama who turned it into an annual event. Obama was interviewed every year of his presidency, including on Fox News, where he occasionally sparred with Bill O’Reilly.
President Trump was interviewed by Fox News while in office, and with CBS News, though he declined to participate in 2018 when NBC had the Super Bowl rights.
Biden has given a few interviews this week (with the PBS Newshour and Telemundo), but by not participating in the Super Bowl interview, he will be missing out on a large (and bipartisan) audience. Biden has only given a handful of one-on-one interviews since taking office, and none have been with Fox.
The White House said that it booked the interview with Fox Soul because “reaching diverse audiences in innovative ways is a cornerstone of the President’s media strategy,” and, with the big game airing on the Fox broadcast network, it may have been hoping that Fox would take the Fox Soul interview for the pregame show too. Of course, Fox News is one of the most powerful pieces of the company’s portfolio, and it appears Fox Corp. was not going to let the sidestepping of Fox News happen.
Feb. 10, 12:20 p.m. Updated with Fox Soul saying the interview was back on
Feb. 10, 8:30 p.m. Updated with news that the interview is off
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