With Super Bowl LVII set to kickoff on Sunday, most people have their plans set by now, just not President Biden and Fox News.
Biden and other presidents have traditionally granted the host network of the Super Bowl a pregame interview, but this year, with Fox airing the game, the customary pregame chat appears increasingly unlikely. Surprisingly, Fox News gave CNN the tip that Biden has not agreed to an interview.
“A source at Fox News told me Thursday evening that the right-wing channel has not heard back on whether Biden will grant it the traditional pre-Super Bowl interview,” CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy wrote in the Reliable Sources newsletter. “And that at this point the outlet is proceeding as if it is not going to take place.”
“We don’t have a formal no, but we are operating like it’s not happening,” the Fox News source told Darcy.
Jim Nantz conducted an interview with George W. Bush for CBS in 2004. Barack Obama did an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer five years later and the tradition of the president joining the Super Bowl pregame show has been largely uninterrupted since then.
Donald Trump bypassed an interview when NBC had the Super Bowl in 2018 after criticizing the network for “fake news,” but he made his triumphant return a year later on CBS.
Biden agreed to do an interview with Lester Holt on NBC before last year’s Super Bowl, and he spoke to Norah O’Donnell on CBS in 2021. But Fox News has not exactly been kind to Biden during his first term in office. Fox was, however, prepared to have Bret Baier conduct the interview considering his track record as a more respected, traditional news anchor, as compared to some of the network’s more controversial and fear-mongering hosts.
Bill O’Reilly conducted the Super Bowl pregame interviews during Obama’s years as president and Sean Hannity spoke to Trump when Fox had the game in 2020. But this year, Fox will prepare to broadcast the Super Bowl without an appearance from the president. And every minute that passes by makes it less likely that Biden and his camp will change their mind about doing an interview with Fox.