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Radio station cuts ties with host over scripted Biden interview

WURD Radio has said it is no “mouthpiece” for any administration and refuses to engage in access journalism

FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden attends a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ©  Alex Wong / Getty Images

A US black-owned radio station has fired one of its hosts, who had agreed to interview President Joe Biden on air using only questions written by his team.

Pennsylvania-based WURD Radio, the only black-focused independent radio channel in the state, recorded a sit-down with Biden immediately after his disastrous performance in a TV debate with Donald Trump on June 27. It was later revealed that the questions that The Source program host, Andrea Lawful-Sanders, asked the president were exclusively provided by the campaign ahead of the interview “for approval”.

”WURD Radio is not a mouthpiece for the Biden or any other Administration,” the station’s CEO, Sara M. Lomax, said in a statement on Sunday, announcing that the media outlet and the journalist have “mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately.”

Lawful-Sanders negotiated the format of the event “without knowledge, consultation or collaboration with WURD management,” the CEO claimed.

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Biden campaign fed questions for ‘I’m a black woman’ interview

So-called access journalism, reporting which prioritizes time spent with powerful, important or famous people, jeopardizes audience trust, the statement noted. ”The mainstream media should do its own introspection to explore how they have lost the trust of so many Americans, Black Americans chief among them.”.

During the interview Biden maintained that his bad debate night did not erase his good record as president, insisted he had no intention of dropping out of the race, despite pressure from Democratic donors.

The president was also interviewed by the Wisconsin-based CivicMedia, another black-focused outlet. Host Earl Ingram Jr. has likewise since confirmed that the Biden campaign gave him “exact questions to ask”.

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Biden says he is proud to be a ‘black woman’

Black voters, a demographic that traditionally sides with Democrats during elections, are showing an increasing reluctance to support Biden at the ballot box in November, according to opinion polls. A Washington Post/Ipsos survey last month said that only 62% were certain they would vote for him, down from 72% in June 2020.

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