Former ESPN Anchor Claims Biden Interview Was Entirely Scripted

Former ESPN anchor Sage Steele claims her 2021 interview with President Biden was completely scripted, raising questions about the authenticity of high-profile political interviews.

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Former ESPN Anchor Claims Biden Interview Was Entirely Scripted

Former ESPN Anchor Claims Biden Interview Was Entirely Scripted

Sage Steele, a former ESPN anchor, has alleged that her 2021 primetime interview with President Joe Biden was completely scripted, with no room for deviation from pre-written questions. Steele revealed that she was instructed to stick to the script and not to stray from the questions provided by network executives, who also required her to "say every word that we write out."

The interview, which lasted nearly 12 minutes, took place during the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Steele, she was not permitted to ask any follow-up questions based on Biden's responses, with these demands coming from the highest levels of ESPN's leadership, including the chief executive.

Steele's claims come in the wake of a public dispute between her and ESPN last summer over her criticism of vaccine mandates and former President Barack Obama's racial identity. The conflict led to a lawsuit that was settled out of court before Steele announced her departure from the network.

Why this matters: Steele's allegations raise questions about the authenticity and journalistic integrity of high-profile interviews, particularly when they involve political figures. The incident also highlights the potential influence of network executives on the content and direction of such interviews.

The controversy surrounding Steele's interview with Biden follows another recent incident involving ESPN host Stephen A. Smith, who defended former President Donald Trump's comments about Black people relating to him due to the numerous criminal indictments against him. Smith argued that Trump was being truthful and that Black Americans can relate to the "suffering" Trump is experiencing with the legal system, comparing it to the historic suffering of Black Americans.

Trump is currently facing trials for the alleged falsification of New York business records ahead of the 2016 presidential election, as well as indictments in Georgia, Washington D.C., and Florida for various alleged crimes. Steele's claims about the scripted nature of her Biden interview add to the ongoing discussions about the role of media in political discourse and the challenges journalists face when conducting interviews with high-profile figures.

Key Takeaways

  • Sage Steele alleges her 2021 Biden interview was completely scripted.
  • Steele claims she was not allowed to ask follow-up questions.
  • Steele's claims raise questions about the authenticity of high-profile interviews.
  • ESPN host Stephen A. Smith defended Trump's comments about Black people.
  • Steele's claims add to discussions about media's role in political discourse.