FOX News Channel Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier Talks Fox News’ 25th Anniversary

Bret Baier has been an anchor at Fox News since the very beginning, starting the Atlanta Bureau out of his apartment garage with just a cell phone and fax machine. And now as Fox News celebrates its 25th anniversary, Baier is the current executive editor of Special Report with Bret Baier and chief political anchor of the network. Baier has covered every hard-hitting news story imaginable – from 9/11 to the most recent tumultuous presidential elections.

“25 years is a long time,” he says. “The news business is transitory and a lot of people move around all the time, but the amazing thing about Fox News is that a lot of people have stayed here. That tells you something about the place that you work when people want to stay. I think we have another 25 in us at least.”

Baier has anchored more than two dozen political specials on FNC, reported from Iraq 12 times and Afghanistan 13 times, traveled the world with various administrations and military officials, and reported from 74 countries. As an anchor, his reputation is one of a fair and balanced demeanor with tough, grilling interviews of important political figures.

Recently, Bret Baier chatted with Haute Living about how he got his start, how he maintains his balanced approach to politics, and Fox News’ 25th Anniversary.

Haute Living: As one of the originals at Fox News, how did you really get your start with the company?

Bret Baier: I started in small market TV in college, bouncing around the country. I got a call from my agent and they said, “This start-up really wants to hire you based on your tape.” And that was the beginning of Fox News Channel in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta Bureau started in my apartment with a fax machine and a cell phone. So the early days of Fox were very scrappy. 

I quickly realized more and more people were watching and it was taking on a lot of viewership. And then 9/11 happened, and I was called up to back up in New York when the second plane hit. Then the third plane hit, and I was rerouted to the Pentagon. I started doing live reports outside the burning Pentagon for 5 affiliates around the country. 

Then I never left! I packed up my stuff in Atlanta and I became the Pentagon reporter. I covered the Pentagon for 6 and a half years, covered the White House for 4 and a half. And took over for my mentor and friend as the anchor of Special Report on January 5th, 2009.  

HL: After being a part of the network for so many years, what is the number 1 thing you’ve learned?

BB: The number one thing I’ve learned is that the equation here is pretty simple. It is authenticity— don’t speak down to viewers, bring them in and tell them what you know. And from a news side, it is about covering things fairly and making sure people come to the end of my hour and they have a good sense of what’s happening in the world and in the US. The opinion side does amazing things and they have great numbers that watch them. It’s just a different part of the business under the same umbrella. And that’s how we’ve operated for a long, long time.  

HL: Your reputation as an anchor is one of fair and balanced reporting, how do you maintain that when most of the news sphere is one side of the aisle or the other?

BB: I’m working on my show with horse blinders on. I’m not thinking about what every other show, or what every other network is doing. I let the news drive the show, not the point of view. We have a lot to research and study about different ideologies, and Special Report has a really good mix— liberals, independents, conservatives— because we feel like we can get to the heart of the story and do it in a way that viewers can make their own decision. That’s the ultimate goal. I don’t think it’s just a slogan, I really think that’s what we’re supposed to do.  

HL: Besides political reporting, you also are involved with philanthropy and spending time with your family. Do those aspects affect your reporting as well?

BB: My son, Paul, has gone through some health challenges as he has had 3 open-heart surgeries. But he’s doing awesome now, he’s 14 and he’s taller than me, unbelievably. Going through that and being in the hospitals and my son being touch and go sometimes—it does give you perspective on life and it gives you a perspective that everybody has something that they’re dealing with. When we’re covering the back and forth on Capitol Hill, about something or another and all the sides are very emotional about it, it gives you the ability to step back and say, “Everybody’s dealing with something that’s probably a lot bigger than this argument.” So it makes me a better anchor. And throughout, this Fox family has always been there from the beginning. One of the first people to call me are the executives here. I’ve been blessed— so far so good.  

For more information on Bret Baier and Fox News’ 25th Anniversary, please watch the video below or visit the website here.