During last night's State of the Union coverage on Fox News, co-anchor Bret Baier noted that the White House has been noncommittal over whether President Biden will continue an annual Super Bowl tradition -- dating back to 2004 -- by sitting down for a pre-game interview with network broadcasting the big game. It's Fox's turn in the rotation this year, so one would expect that POTUS would take questions from someone like Baier or Fox News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream -- but according to Baier, there has been no answer from the president's team, as the hours tick down toward Chiefs-Eagles in Arizona.
Is the White House just ghosting Fox?
WATCH: Fox’s @BretBaier: “Every year, traditionally the network airing the SuperBowl gets an interview with @POTUS. We have formally asked for that interview but we have not received an answer yet whether they are going to do it or not. We’re running out of days.” #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/ptEgkA5IA6— TV News Now (@TVNewsNow) February 8, 2023
Biden gave an interview to NBC news prior to last year's Super Bowl, which we ended up mentioning on several occasions because he didn't assent to many one-on-one interviews at all last year. He didn't do one for four months after his Lester Holt sit-down, and that was with part-time comedian and Democratic strategist Jimmy Kimmel. He didn't grant a real televised interview with an American news outlet (60 Minutes) until that following fall. In other words, Biden doesn't do these things often, and one of the few instances where it's actually expected is for the extended Super Bowl telecast. If Biden snubs Fox, it will be celebrated among the Online Left as a deserved slap in the face to an outlet they despise as a matter of tribal dogma. From Team Biden's perspective, that could be chalked up as a base play and a deliberate show of disrespect to a news organization that treats this president the way nearly all competitors treat Republican administrations. In case you're curious, Donald Trump did Super Bowl interviews in three of his four years as president, refusing an invitation from NBC in 2018 (though he was interviewed by that network multiple times during his presidency).
I suspect the real reason why Biden's may not be eager to grant Fox's interview this year is that the president generally performs poorly in these settings, and often ends up getting himself into political trouble. Biden has not agreed to a single Fox News interview throughout his tenure in the White House so far (he occasionally fields shouted questions from Peter Doocy, whom he once called a 'stupid son of a bitch'), likely aware that it would be a grilling. GOP presidents are accustomed to adversarial interviews from skeptical-to-hostile news outlets (say what you will about Trump, he took tons of questions and agreed to many interviews). Democrats experience such things far less frequently because most journalists are on their side. If the president's team shields him from sit-downs with media figures from left-leaning networks, of course they'd want to avoid the prospect of tough, sustained pressure in a more adversarial setting. Simply put, they don't trust him to handle it well, and it's not hard to see why. Nevertheless, this man is the President of the United States. He sought this job, well aware of his deficiencies and advanced age. He might soon ask the American people to allow him continue in it for the next six years. He should be able and willing to do things that come with the job.
Hell, Barack Obama was confident enough in his views and abilities that he agreed to be interviewed before the Super Bowl not only by Fox -- but by a brash right-leaning opinion host, not even someone from the news side. The Obama/O'Reilly showdowns in 2011 and 2014 were fascinating television, and actually provided worthwhile information and perspectives. This one got a little spicy, but I believe it offered value to Fox, Obama, and home viewers:
No one is asking Biden to field questions from Tucker Carlson, but will the White House operation decide to shut out journalists like Baier or Bream? I'll leave you with an amusing Super Bowl ad Fox News will run in support of Gutfeld! -- featuring a short cameo appearance from my friend Kat Timpf:
The show has been crushing it in the ratings, and a little boost in front of tens of millions of viewers could attract some curious newbies.