30 Dec Rick Borman interviews Bret Baier, acclaimed Fox News Anchor
Fox News continues to dominate its rivals across the cable television industry’s most coveted time slots. At the center of that illustrious grouping is a broadcasting lion whose demeanor and principled approach to journalism are cheered daily in living rooms across America. Five nights a week, he bears witness to Washington, D.C., insider politics, events played out on the world stage and heartwarming stories that remind us of our goodness as a people. An intrepid gladiator in a craft whose moral compass has, at best, been called into question in recent years, Bret Baier stands heads and shoulders above the fray.
The anchor of “Special Report with Bret Baier” had already been a regular fixture in my home for several years before we were introduced and later became friends. His visit to Naples Town Hall last year revealed many insights into his world. Daily show prep alone proves to be a daunting task. Add to that writing, verifying information, coordinating with special guests and an hour-long live television broadcast, and you have one mammoth undertaking — one at which Mr. Baier is very good.
He boasts the No. 1 political news program on cable with an average audience feeI of more than 2 million viewers. In 2012 alone, he moderated five GOP pi presidential debates. Who can forget the interviews with President Obama. Did candidate Mitt Romney, or Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz? It would be impossible to label Mr. Baier a partisan shill or softball thrower.
In May of this year, Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News Channel, signed a multiyear deal with Mr. Baier, taking this contract through the election of 2016. “Bret’s tough but fair approach to journalism has made him one of the most trusted news anchors in the industry and an integral part of Fox News Channel’s success,” Mr. Ailes said at the time. “I’m proud to have him at the helm of this year’s election coverage and for years to come.”
Indeed, Mr. Baier is that rare breed of talent and integrity that many of us have longed for since the glory days of Walter Cronkite — and the good news for us: He’s just getting started.
I will tell you two things about this guy. 1) He is a family man through and through. And 2) What you see is what you get. The Bret Baier you see on television is the same man who goes home each night to his family. We are lucky indeed, America.
Here’s what he had to say when I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with him for an impromptu interview.
Q: The presidential election of 2012 seemed to be a relentlessly contentious news cycle that challenged many seasoned and sagely journalists. You not only held your own, but stayed cool and remained unbiased in spite of a few less-than-friendly on-air interactions. What campaign event presented the biggest challenge to you?
A: Covering the 2012 presidential election was a thrill from beginning to end — honestly. The most challenging of the campaign events were the five GOP debates I moderated. You’ll remember at that time in the primary and caucus season, there were quite a few candidates, so making sure that the timing worked out equitably, that the questions were hard but fair and that candidates had enough of a chance to challenge each other proved to be the biggest challenge, especially as we moved along on the primary calendar.
Q: “The All Star Panel” is a unique roundtable that can be as unpredictable as it is entertaining. Charles Krauthammer’s wit and sharp tongue often venture fearlessly into areas that we, as viewers, only wish our elected representatives would have the courage to navigate. It is evident that there is a friendship and mutual respect between the two of you that goes well beyond on-set politeness. Can you give us an insider’s edge on how you two work together and what that friendship means to you?
A: Charles is brilliant. Whether you agree with him or not on any given topic, most people I talk to on both sides of the aisle praise him for his thoughtful analysis … He’s my first baseman and a great friend. The best part about Charles is his sense of humor; you never know what he’s going to say, which I think is what makes the organic nature of the discussion on the panel work so well.
Q: I will answer the first part of the next question for you: “Yes, that is my real hair.” The elephant in the room is that you have throngs of devoted fans, many of them women, who find you fascinating well after you have finished providing vital news and information. Some may call it the Sinatra effect. I make no claim to fully understand the phenomenon. Seriously, as a devoted husband and father, how do you stay grounded with the demands of your career and manage to ward off the ill effects of fame?
A: Ha! Yes, this IS my own hair and no, I don’t dye it. I actually would welcome some gray hair, but have yet to get any. And I’m 42 years old, 43 in August. Does that cover it? My family keeps me pretty grounded. I am blessed with a beautiful and loving family, and to be honest and not to be cheesy, that’s all I really need.
Q: In these electronically connected times, news is instantly delivered via social media, television, radio and the Internet. Recent events have proven that speed is not a suitable replacement for accuracy. Lives can be ruined or tensions escalated by the race to be the first to post a video or a get the scoop. As a result, we are often unable to reliably differentiate between news, disinformation or even propaganda. With so many news sources and even more special interests that desire to skew the news we receive, how does the modern journalist rise to meet these challenges and continue to fulfill the responsibilities of the creed?
A: You are correct; we are bombarded by all kinds of “sources” with various “pieces” of information. Fortunately, we have solid reporters here who really work sources and people with knowledge in and out of government … and while we try to “break news” first, we are first and foremost trying to be RIGHT. In today’s world, you have to be very careful. I get a lot of e-mails asking, “Why aren’t you covering X story or Y story that’s floating around on the Internet?” I type back, “Because they’re not true.”