UPDATE 12:30 p.m. PST:
Joe Biden will do a pregame interview with Fox after all, Fox Corp. said in a statement midday Friday. The interview will take place on the streaming service Fox Soul, which is geared toward a Black audience.
“After the White House reached out to Fox Soul Thursday evening, there was some initial confusion,” Fox Corp. said. “Fox Soul looks forward to interviewing the President for Super Bowl Sunday.”
Earlier on Friday, the White House announced that the president would not be participating in the Super Bowl pregame interview with Fox News, which has been tradition ahead of the big match since 2009.
“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,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement at the time. “We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be canceled.”
The confusion referenced is likely attributed to why there were conflicting reports and a lack of understanding between Biden’s camp and the company, who both said the other had canceled the meeting: In a separate statement to Variety, a Fox News executive familiar with the matter had noted that the cancellation was on the part of the White House: “We offered an interview with our top news anchors with no strings attached — they’re walking away from a huge audience and it’s a major missed opportunity.”
The conversation held before the Super Bowl audience has been carried out by former President Barack Obama throughout his two terms, though former President Donald Trump declined to participate in 2018 with NBC News. The tradition initially started with former president George W. Bush in 2004, though it was Obama who cemented its happening annually — including when Fox had the rights to broadcast the game and he was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly.
Biden has given several interviews this week, including with the PBS Newshour and Telemundo. The president has only given a few one-on-one interviews since taking office, and none have been conducted with Fox News.
Speculation that the event would not be happening began last night, when it was reported by CNN’s Reliable Sources that the right-wing news channel had not heard back from Biden’s camp about whether the interview would be proceeding. “We don’t have a formal no, but we are operating like it’s not happening,” the anonymous Fox News source told CNN about the interview that likely would have been conducted by Bret Baier.