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Radio Host Fired by Station Amid Biden Interview Controversy

 July 8, 2024

In a recent development, WURD, a Philadelphia-based Black-owned radio station, has ended its relationship with Andrea Lawful-Sanders.

The decision came after Lawful-Sanders admitted to using pre-approved questions provided by the White House for an interview with President Joe Biden, as Fox News reports.

The interview, which took place last Wednesday, was set up by Lawful-Sanders without the knowledge or approval of WURD's management. The disclosure followed a challenging debate performance last month by Biden, raising questions about the President's readiness.

White House Supplied Pre-Approved Questions

Lawful-Sanders acknowledged that she had received a list of eight questions from the White House, four of which she approved and used during her interview with Biden. The topics included Biden’s achievements, his debate performance, his progress in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and guidance for voters considering abstaining from the vote.

The sharing of questions was, according to sources, intended to help Biden defend his record and address current news. However, this practice raised concerns about media independence.

On Sunday, WURD’s president and CEO, Sara M. Lomax, announced that the station had mutually agreed to part ways with Lawful-Sanders to uphold the station's commitment to independence.

Commitment To Independent Journalism

Lomax emphasized the importance of WURD maintaining its role as an independent media outlet, focused on holding elected officials accountable. She stated, "WURD Radio is not a mouthpiece for Biden or any other admin." This assertion highlights the station's dedication to its listeners and its principles. Lomax also disclosed that the interview arrangement was made solely by Lawful-Sanders without consulting the station’s management, stressing that the incident violated WURD's standards of practice.

"The interview featured pre-determined questions provided by the White House, which violates our practice of remaining an independent media outlet accountable to our listeners. As a result, Ms. Lawful-Sanders and WURD Radio have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately," Lomax explained.

Broader Implications For Media Trust

Lomax did not shy away from criticizing the broader media landscape, especially the mainstream media's trust issues among Americans, particularly Black Americans. She urged introspection within mainstream media to regain lost trust.

"This practice of de-legitimizing Black voices continues today. Internally, we will commit to reviewing our policies, procedures, and practices to reinforce WURD’s independence and trust with our listeners," Lomax said. She reiterated the necessity for WURD to uphold its 20-year tradition of journalistic integrity.

Adding to this controversy, it emerged that another local radio host, Earl Ingram from Wisconsin, admitted to receiving similarly pre-approved questions for his interview with Biden. This similarity was pointed out by CNN’s Blackwell, raising further concerns about the integrity of these interviews.

White House Defends Practice

Despite the backlash, Biden campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt defended the practice, arguing that it is common for interviewees to share topics they prefer discussing. She stressed that the questions were relevant to current events.

"It's not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees to share topics they would prefer. These questions were relevant to news of the day - the president was asked about his debate performance as well as what he'd delivered for black Americans," Hitt stated. Hitt also pointed out that interviewers maintain the freedom to ask the questions they deem most informative for their audience. She mentioned that Biden had numerous unscripted interactions with the press following the debate.

Consequences For Lawful-Sanders

Following these revelations, Lawful-Sanders' show was promptly removed from WURD's website by Sunday afternoon. This decisive action reflects WURD's stance on upholding its independent status and journalistic principles.

Lomax concluded by reiterating WURD's unwavering commitment to its audience and independence. "This is something we take very seriously," she remarked, highlighting the significance of maintaining credibility and trust with their listeners.

The incident underscores the challenges media organizations face in preserving journalistic integrity while engaging with powerful political figures. WURD’s firm response serves as a reminder of the critical role independent media plays in a democratic society.

Impact Across Media Landscape

The fallout from this incident reaches beyond WURD, spotlighting the broader issue of media independence and trust in journalism. Mainstream media outlets are now under increased pressure to demonstrate their commitment to unbiased reporting.

As WURD takes steps to review and strengthen its internal policies, other media organizations may also be prompted to re-evaluate their practices to restore public confidence. The events highlight a critical discourse on the responsibilities of media outlets and their relationship with political entities, particularly in the context of upholding democratic values and transparency.


In conclusion, WURD's decision to part ways with Andrea Lawful-Sanders following the revelation of pre-approved questions for a Biden interview underscores the station's dedication to independent journalism.

This incident has led to a broader discussion on media integrity and the importance of maintaining public trust. As media organizations navigate these challenges, their commitment to transparency and accountability remains paramount.