Bret Baier talks Trump, politics in Washington, journalism today
Inaugurating the 2018 Broward College Speaker Series, Fox News’ chief political anchor and host of Special report, Bret Baier gave his insight into politics in Washington.
Opening his speech with the questions people ask him the most, Baier took the opportunity for some humorous remarks.
He talked about the behind the scenes at Fox, about his colleagues, and about that time when, during the Republican debate before the primaries, his question about civility on the campaign trail got an answer from then-candidate Trump about the size of hands.
“It was the most surreal moment of the 2016 campaign,” said Baier.
Moving on, Baier focused on his journalism career and how he ended up at Fox News 21 years ago.
He began as a reporter for the small market tv in South Carolina, where he worked for a PBS affiliate.
“I was a photographer, editor, anchor reporter, all in one, a one man band,” he said.
He would then move on to North Carolina, where he worked at a CBS radio affiliate. This would be his last stop before joining, then startup cable news channel, Fox News.
Upon joining Fox, he went on to cover stories all over the country, as well as South and Central America.
Even though he was based in Atlanta, and is basically the founder of Fox’s Atlanta Bureau, he covered the Florida election recap, and when 9/11 happened he and his crew were asked to drive up to New York to offer their support.
And it was after 9/11 that his journalism career took off. He would go off to cover the Afghan War, where he reported from 13 times. He also reported 12 times from Iraq and covered the Pentagon for six and a half years.
It was then time for him to take over Special Report, where he has been the anchor for the past nine years.
Over his time covering politics, he admits that he’s never seen anything like Trump’s presidency.
“Covering this White House is like nothing we have ever seen before. Donald Trump is a news machine,” said Baier.
“Covering Washington is like drinking from a fire hose.”
But Baier has a unique anedocte. He played golf with Trump once, an opportunity during which he understood, although not immediately, that all Trump cares about is winning.
“That’s what he cares about, the W, not how he gets there, how sloppy he is… We have not seen a politician like this ever, and this election changed the whole dynamic of how elections are won,” said Baier.
Baier admits that when Trump won it was a shock for a huge part of the media industry.
“We realized that we missed things collectively in the news business in the election, that we could have listened more and perhaps gotten a better sense of where people were,” he said.
Baier understands that both Trump’s presidency and social media, have caused an incredibly fast evolution of journalism and it’s created hard obstacles to get to the truth.
“It’s been a challenge because he uses [social media] as his own printing press,” Baier said.
It’s because of it that he encourages people to be critical of the news they consume.
“Don’t believe everything you read on social media,” he said.
And he makes a special emphasis on political news.
“When you’re covering Washington you have to take a 30,000 foot view of what’s happening.”
Despite working for a network often criticized for its bias, Baier asks people to watch his show and see that, when it comes to the news, the network strives to deliver them as balanced and fair as possible.