Biden was Right to Skip Fox's Super Bowl Interview
Fox News tried to set a trap for Biden; He is was right to avoid it
Last week, a new controversy bubbled up in the Beltway media complex. This controversy had nothing to do with newly uncovered classified documents, Chinese balloons, or incivility during the State of the Union.
Instead, people were worked up because President Joe Biden was considering not doing an interview with Fox News on Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, you read that correctly. People are surprised and upset that the President didn’t sit down with the network that helped spread the conspiracy theory that he stole the election. The network that employs people who smear him and his family on a nightly basis.
How dare he? Is civility dead?
Having been around these idiotic, insular media stories before, it’s easy to see that everyone is chomping at the bit. Fox leaked to reporters that the White House had not yet scheduled the interview (something that usually happens weeks in advance). Others in the media were tweeting and writing stories about whether the White House was going to “snub” Fox.
After some back and forth and the White House trying to schedule the interview with interviewers from Fox Soul, the interview is off. This is how Politico Playbook breathlessly described the outcome:
BIDEN’S FOX NEWS SNUB — After several days of bickering, it’s official: President JOE BIDEN will NOT give an interview with Fox or any of its sister networks as part of its Super Bowl coverage this weekend. The decision breaks with the tradition of presidents sitting for pre-game interviews with the network hosting the most-watched sporting event of the year.
This morning, we have to ask: Was that such a good idea?
Take it from someone who once faced this exact decision, not doing the interview was a good idea.
A Widely Watched, Kinda Weird Interview
Traditionally, the President does an interview with an anchor from the network airing the Super Bowl. The interview typically includes airing a portion during the pre-game show. Then, the rest airs on a news program like the morning show or evening news the next day. President Obama did one every year he was President. Trump did the interview every year that he was President except the year NBC aired the big game. Last year, President Biden sat down with Lester Holt.
The upside of these interviews is that they offer a massive audience. The Super Bowl is usually the most-watched event of the year. Last year, 99 million people tuned into the Super Bowl. To put that number in perspective, 27 million people watched the State of the Union last week. The downside? The interviews are a weird mix of news and sports. Some tough questions about the issues of the day. Some serious questions about the sport of football, like the dangers of concussions or underrepresentation of Black coaches. And then some lighter questions about who the President thinks will win the game or their favorite Super Bowl snacks. While the audience is large, they aren’t necessarily interested in news, and they mill about at Super Bowl parties eating wings and portions of seven-foot sub sandwiches. One year, CBS News’ Scott Pelly used the entire interview to grill President Obama about Afghanistan. This was totally his right to do, but an odd choice given the context.
With all of that said, the Super Bowl interview is an easy choice every year except the year Fox has the game.
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