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Former ESPN Host Sage Steele Reveals Biden Interview Was Scripted

By Christina Davie
|
April 4, 2024

In a revelation that has sparked widespread discussion, former ESPN host Sage Steele has claimed that her 2021 interview with President Joe Biden was entirely scripted by ESPN executives, prohibiting any deviations or follow-up questions.

Sage Steele, once a prominent face on ESPN's SportsCenter, has claimed that the network's executives meticulously controlled her interview with Joe Biden.

Steele, who had been with ESPN for 16 years, disclosed that the questions she posed to President Biden were not of her making. Instead, they were crafted in advance by the network's executives, leaving no room for impromptu queries or follow-ups.

Strict Guidelines and No Deviations

According to Steele, the directive was clear and non-negotiable: she was to adhere strictly to the script provided. This script, she recounted, was the result of rigorous review and approval by a series of editors and high-ranking executives at ESPN.

She recalled being told in no uncertain terms, "You will say every word that we write out; you will not deviate from the script."

This order came directly from the upper echelons of ESPN's management, including the company's president and CEO.

The level of control exerted over the interview's content raises questions about the balance between editorial oversight and journalistic freedom.

Concerns Over Biden's Mental State

Beyond the issue of scripted questions, Steele expressed her concerns about President Biden's mental state based on her observations during their interaction. She described feeling heartbroken and criticized those around Biden for allowing him to be in such a public setting under those conditions.

Her criticisms do not stem from a political viewpoint but from a concern for Biden as a person.

Steele's remarks shed light on the ethical considerations of involving public figures in media appearances, especially under conditions that might not fully showcase their capabilities.

This is not the first instance of Steele voicing her concerns about Biden. She has previously made her reservations about his presidency known and shared details of awkward off-camera interactions.

Uncomfortable Off-Camera Moments

One particular off-camera moment that stood out to Steele involved Biden needing clarification about the interview's purpose and who Steele was.

Additionally, she recounted an uncomfortable comment made by Biden about having "the best hands."

These interactions highlight the complexities and unpredictable nature of live interviews, especially with high-profile individuals.

Following her departure from ESPN, Steele has embarked on a new chapter in her career, launching her podcast, "The Sage Steele Show," further establishing her voice in the media landscape.

ESPN's Response and Steele's Future

In response to Steele's allegations, ESPN has remained silent, declining to comment on the specifics of her claims.

Steele's lawsuit against ESPN, where she accused the network of violating her free speech rights, was settled last fall, marking the end of her 16-year tenure with the company.

The controversy surrounding the scripted Biden interview underscores ongoing debates about media practices, the nature of pre-planned interviews, and the ethical considerations of journalistic integrity.

Conclusion

Sage Steele's allegations against ESPN for scripting her 2021 interview with Joe Biden have ignited discussions on journalistic integrity and the treatment of public figures in media.

Steele's concerns about Biden's well-being, her strict adherence to a pre-determined script, and her subsequent legal battle with ESPN paint a complex picture of the challenges facing modern journalism. As Steele moves forward with her new podcast, the industry continues to grapple with these ethical dilemmas.