President Biden has declined a request to participate in a televised interview with CBS News ahead of the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. The White House turned down the opportunity, which would have aired in the highly rated hours leading up to the big game on Feb. 11. This decision breaks a tradition dating back to 2009, where presidents have recorded an interview with the network broadcasting the Super Bowl. President Donald J. Trump also did not appear on NBC in 2018, and last year, Mr. Biden declined to appear on Fox.
Despite the unusually large audience that the Super Bowl offers for a sitting president to address current events and advance his agenda to the public, the White House cited that they hope viewers will enjoy watching the game as the reason for declining the interview. CBS had offered the White House about 15 minutes for an interview with Mr. Biden, with three to four minutes airing live during the pregame coverage on the network.
President Biden’s decision to sit out the pregame interview comes at a time when there is plenty of news for him to comment on, including recent military strikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, as well as a positive jobs report and Mr. Biden’s own ramping up of his re-election campaign.
Some political analysts believe that President Biden’s decision not to take advantage of the large audience and address current events raises questions about his willingness to engage with the public and the media. Others, however, argue that the President’s declining of the interview may be a strategic decision to avoid potential criticism from cable hosts who are sharply hostile toward him. This comes at a time when Mr. Biden has conducted fewer media interviews than his most recent predecessors, with his State of the Union address scheduled for March 7.