President Joe Biden has done just 10 extensive interviews with journalists since taking office, far fewer than either of his last two predecessors.
Biden’s number of interviews is nearly six times less than former President Donald Trump had done by the same time in his presidency. The difference is much more stark compared to former President Barack Obama, who had completed 131 interviews by the same time, according to former CBS White House reporter Mark Knoller.
Biden’s presidential interview count is also far off his pace when he was vice president in the Obama administration. By October 2009, Biden had completed roughly double the number of interviews he had as president. The dearth of interviews reflects the Biden administration’s “bunker mentality” and approach to the media, according to Politico. As the outlet reports:
Biden’s team is quick to note that he often takes questions from reporters after he does events. Allies of the president are even quicker to note that no one outside of the Washington press corps really cares about press access.
But the lack of interviews reflects the bunker mentality this White House has taken with the media — particularly the extensive back-and-forths where reporters can follow-up, push, and prod. Biden has been especially wary of talking to print publications; he has yet to do an interview with reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, or Reuters.
Biden’s full list of interviews, as reported by Politico:
Feb 3 — People Magazine’s SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL
Feb 5 — CBS’ NORAH O’DONNELL (Super Bowl Interview)
Feb 26 — UNIVISION’s ILIA CALDERÓN (joint with the First Lady)
Mar 16 — ABC’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS
Mar 31 — ESPN’s SAGE STEELE
Apr 30 — NBC News’ CRAIG MELVIN
May 13 — MSNBC’s LAWRENCE O’DONNELL
May 20 — The New York Times’ DAVID BROOKS
May 25 — The Atlantic’s EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE
Aug 18 — ABC’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS
The White House has gone to extensive lengths to keep Biden, who is known for meandering off-script and often flubs public remarks, on message and limit his contact with the media. In September, the White House press pool filed a formal complaint against Biden for avoiding reporters’ questions on topics such as his handling of the U.S. southern border.
In August, after some speculation over Biden’s press briefings, the president admitted that he called on reporters following a pre-selected list. As The Daily Wire reported at the time:
President Joe Biden said he had been given a pre-selected list of reporters and was instructed which ones to call on during his Thursday press conference regarding the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
Kayleigh McEnany, who was White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, blasted Biden’s list and said nothing like that ever took place during her tenure.
“Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here,” Biden said during the press conference. “The first person I was instructed to call on Kelly O’Donnell of NBC.”