Big news. On Friday, House Democrats are invited to attend a training session in the Capitol. The subject? How to have successful interviews on Fox News.
This is great, and I wish I could be there. I started as a Hill press secretary and moved on to hold that job at the White House. I’ve just passed my 10-year anniversary at Fox News. Besides, giving advice is one of my favorite pastimes.
A few tips from me:
Do the Math.
You can’t beat Fox News. Literally, you can’t beat it.
Fox is the highest rated news network in cable television and has been for over 17 years. You have limited time and you’re competing for attention with 534 other lawmakers.
Fox News has the most viewers of any of the cable networks and, for many hours of the day, more than the other cable news networks combined. We have multiple platforms -- digital, radio, podcasts, social, a streaming service -- and we’re really good at sharing content across the board.
To give you some perspective, our website hit a record 4.6 billion page views in the first quarter this year. It’s a great place to post an opinion piece.
The bottom line: if you want to be seen and heard and to have a chance to persuade engaged news consumers, you need to be on Fox News.
Know Your Audience.
Our audience is not made up of only Republican voters. Research shows that our audience includes a robust number of Democrats and independents.
From senior centers to neighborhood bars, to waiting rooms, to young families’ living rooms, (and even some airports!), Fox has a broad and diverse audience.
For many of these viewers in your state or district, an appearance on Fox News might be their first impression of you. If you come on the network, you’ll increase your name ID without even leaving the Capitol.
If you want to be seen and heard and to have a chance to persuade engaged news consumers, you need to be on Fox News.
Know Your Programming.
Just like you’d prepare differently for an interview with your local editorial board than with a beat reporter, know what program and program type you are going on. With nearly 24 hours of live programming, there’s a wide array of shows and formats.
Are you an early bird? We have lots of options. Not a morning person? Join us in the afternoons. Have a district on the West Coast? For many, our 9-12 a.m. ET show, “America’s Newsroom,” is their preferred way to get their day started. Enjoy a challenge and debating? Well, you know where to head -- prime time. Night owl? “Fox News at Night” is the place for you.
One thing you should NOT do is pitch something that doesn’t fit; for example, once in a while we’ll get a pitch to have a guest on “The Five.” That’s a tell that you’ve never watched “The Five.” How? Because “The Five” doesn’t have guests. If you pitch a guest segment, we’ll know you’ve never bothered watching the show.
However, if you think “The Five” or another program is going to be covering an issue that’s brewing, send a note over to the producer or hosts so that we can stay informed of your point of view. It’s amazing how many people just assume we know because we might be on Twitter.
Know Your Host.
Just like every quarterback, point guard, or pitcher watches hours and hours of game film, spend a few days watching Fox (don't worry, it won't hurt...or make you a Republican!). See what host you think has the interview style you like the most and then watch him or her for a few days prior to your interview to see what's on their mind.
For example, anyone who watches the “Daily Briefing” and “The Five” would be able to pick up on a few things -- I’m from rural America, and I like to talk about farm country. I’m also very interested in criminal justice reform and paid a lot of attention to the issue well before the First Step Act passed. National security? Right up my alley. Country music fan? That’s me. And, of course, I am the proud mother of Jasper -- America’s Dog. Surely we can find something in common?
Pull Your Punches.
If you plan to come on Fox News just to take a shot at the network or the host, you’ll lose. Taking shots at Fox News while on our air on makes you look small and is disrespectful to the audience that is tuned in and loyal to the channel. Complaining about the refs is best reserved for Sundays (except for The Who Dat nation -- they’ve got a right to complain).
If you decide to come on a show, take on the issue, not the personality. Demonstrate your gravitas and your confidence and ignore the trolls who complain that you had the nerve to go on Fox.
Fox viewers are like every other voter. They want to see you be yourself. Authenticity is what people crave. Obviously, you'll have points you will want to make, but rigidly sticking to unnatural talking points is a turn-off. Come in armed and ready to defend your position. It’s the job of the news media to ask tough questions of those in power. Trust yourself to make a good point and always believe that someone watching might say, “Well, that’s a good point. I never thought of it that way before.”
At Fox News, we welcome all comers. We want to understand what voters care about -- why did people who pulled the lever twice for President Obama break for President Trump in 2016, and what does that portend for the future? There’s a reason our Town Hall with Bernie was in Bethlehem, Pa. -- one of those Obama-Trump regions. That event was the most-watched Town Hall of this election cycle so far, and Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum and Chris Wallace have more where that came from on their schedule.
We have a lot of viewers and we’re looking for elected leaders who are willing to engage beyond their bubbles in the Acela corridor -- that was a mistake I think everyone can agree the Democratic presidential candidate made in 2016. You can’t win elections in this country without the support of at least some Fox viewers -- it’s basic math that even I can do.