That’s fewer than half the number done by Donald Trump (22) in 2017 and a third as many as Barack Obama held (27) in his first year in office.
And it’s not just news conferences where Biden is lagging his predecessors when it comes to interacting with the press. Biden had done just 22 press interviews through December 31 of his first year in office, a total dwarfed by the 92 interviews Trump had done and the 156(!) Obama participated in during their first years as president.
The one measure where Biden has outpaced the men who came before him is in informal question and answer sessions — of which he has done 216 compared with 120 for Trump and just 46 for Obama.
Some of these discrepancies are explained away by quirks of each president. Trump liked to do news conferences with a foreign leader in tow (the lion’s share of his news conferences in his first year were of the joint nature) while Obama felt at ease conducting sit-down conversations with reporters.
Biden is less quick on his feet but also less formal, meaning that it’s not all that surprising that he prefers impromptu question-and-answer situations with reporters as opposed to scheduled press appearances. That is also a remnant of the decades he spent on Capitol Hill, where most interactions with reporters are both informal and quick.
With all that said, it’s clear that in terms of overall availability to the media — particularly in more formal settings — Biden is lagging far behind the last two men to hold the presidency.
The Point: The numbers don’t lie. Biden doesn’t ignore the media but he interacts less with the Fourth Estate than either of his two most recent predecessors.