Executives at the parent company of Fox News have reportedly reversed the decision to cancel a planned Super Bowl broadcast interview with President Joe Biden on a Fox-owned channel targeted at Black audiences.
According to The Daily Beast, a Fox Corp spokesperson said late Friday that the company’s Fox Soul network “looks forward to interviewing the President for Super Bowl Sunday”.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had said Mr Biden had planned to grant an interview to the streaming channel, which launched in 2020 and is owned by Fox Corp, which distributes it on multiple streaming services and over-the-top television platforms.
Ms Jean-Pierre said Fox had nixed the planned sit-down rather than allow Mr Biden to speak to a correspondent Fox Soul instead of an interviewer from their flagship news channel.
“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. We’ve been informed that Fox Corp has asked for the interview to be cancelled,” she said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a query from The Independent regarding the status of the interview.
The question of whether Mr Biden would engage with Fox Corp personalities became salient this week because Fox’s television broadcast network is airing this year’s Super Bowl, the National Football League championship game. Since the early 2000s, the sitting president grants an interview to the network hosting that year’s NFL broadcast.
Mr Biden has sat for separate interviews this week with correspondents from the PBS Newshour and Telemundo, but not with anyone from Fox News Channel.
The president’s failure to grant the Rupert Murdoch-owned cable network a sit-down most likely steps from the channel’s status as a de facto ally of prominent Republicans.
During former president Donald Trump’s time in the White House, multiple Fox personalities were known to be informal advisers to the twice-impeached ex-president and his campaign apparatus.
One Fox host, Sean Hannity, was a speaker at at one of Mr Trump’s signature rallies.
Mr Trump also frequently drew on Fox’s personnel files when staffing his administration. At one point, a high-ranking Fox executive, Bill Shine, served as his deputy chief of staff for communications.
In the wake of his 2020 election loss to Mr Biden, many prominent Fox hosts promoted false claims about the conduct of the 2020 election and suggested Mr Biden’s victory was illegitimate. The network is current defending against a billion-dollar defamation suit from voting machine maker Dominion Voting Systems.
The president has also clashed with Peter Doocy, the network’s lead White House reporter, who he once called a “stupid son-of-a-b**ch” after he asked Mr Biden if inflation was a political asset to him.
The president later apologised to Mr Doocy, who is the son of Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy.