Fox News Channel (since at least the day I arrived in 2002) is divided into two sections: news and programming. The programming division is made up of the opinion shows (mostly beginning at 5pm-11pm, minus the 6pm). The news division, on the other hand, includes many hours during the day and other special events like presidential speeches, debates etc.
I am in the programming division. I am not in the news division. There is a difference.
As a host of a program in the programming division, I invite reporters on to report the news, have also gone out myself looking for facts, but I also voice my opinion. I would not do that if I were in the news division.
Having been on TV for almost 22 years, chances are you know many of my views and opinions or can often guess them (although sometimes I surprise you, and even myself). Sometimes, with changes in facts, I change my mind and I bet the same is true for you :)
Because I am in the programming division, I answer to the the programming division chain of superiors. I don't answer to the news division superiors. Bret Baier, Shannon Bream, Jennifer Griffin, Catherine Herridge, Shep Smith, Bill Hemmer etc are in the news division and answer to the news superiors. [By the way, in neither division do the superiors tell you what to say, or what opinion to hold. These are just two different divisions with different responsibilities.]
Although I could, I don't give to political candidates' campaigns because I talk about political matters and my personal judgment is that this would not be a good idea. As an aside, even if I were not in the media, I don't know if I would contribute to a political campaign except for a close friend or family member. I have my own favorite charities like GretaHome and Academy [Samaritans Purse], Pet Connect Rescue, WATSI etc. and this is where I want to give money. I could see some rare instance when I might give to a charity that a politician was involved in. For instance, if a politician had a charity to help foster abused pets, I might contribute because I love pets. I don't know if I would, but I do know I would at least consider it. But a political campaign? No.
Let me repeat, and this is important, I am not in the news division at the Fox News Channel but the programming division. This is why you don't see me moderating debates.
Secondly, some people get all revved up because my husband supports political candidates. Well, he is not in Fox's news division either. In fact, he does not work at Fox. He can do what he wants. Over the years my husband has had a rather eclectic list of giving: he gives to both political parties. He has given to Republicans (like Senator John McCain's 2008 campaign for president) and Democrats (he is very close to Governor Martin O'Malley who is expected to announce a run). It is perplexing to many that John contributes on both sides of the aisle. (By the way, I think John contributed in the last five years to a Clinton charity having to do with saving elephants. Frankly, I am glad if he did. You know how much I like animals.)
So what do I do about the critics who complain about my husband's giving and my job? After almost 36 years together, I am not about to divorce him for his exercise of free speech (which is what political contributions are). I confess, I have considered tying him up in the garage until the 2016 race is over to eliminate some of the noise I get about his contributions, but I fear he will scream and the neighbors will hear it and call the police and then I would have bigger problems.
Finally, I have seen the media report that a few years back I contributed $20,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative [CGI] and became a member. This is false. I am neither a member nor have I contributed the $20,000. An important point to emphasize, even if I had given to Clinton Global Initiative, it is a charity, not a political campaign, and second, I am in the programming division, and not the news division of Fox News Channel. And yes, I do give to charities, just not this one (or at least as far as I can recall).
I was invited to attend the CGI event (like others in the media) many years ago. Just as other events where I might meet people who are good sources or guests for ON THE RECORD, I took full advantage of going. I was hoping I could get interviews for OTR and, in fact, I did. As you will note, almost every major news organization was present. It was not, to use a horribly overused TV word, exclusive. There were thousands there as this is not an intimate gathering.
The CGI event attracts people from all over the world -- plus people from both political parties. As noted, it is a good opportunity to snag some interviews and work some sources who I might not otherwise have access to. In short, it is work. (By the way, one CGI event I recall was when First Lady Laura Bush unveiled a water initiative in Africa. I remember it because I thought it brilliant. Merry-go-rounds were designed so that kids pushed them and at the same time water was drawn out of the ground in areas of drought. Who could forget that great idea? It was simple, smart and effective. Why didn't I think of that?)
My recollection of attending the CGI events is not perfect since it was long ago and these events are work for me, but I think I went two years and I think I interviewed President Clinton each time. I don't know who else I interviewed or established contacts with for future interviews, but I oddly do remember it was also one of the two times in the 13 years at Fox News Channel that I have ever met Rupert Murdoch. I shook his hand and gave him my name -- that was it. (The second time was years later when I saw Rupert Murdoch at a lupus charity event and we talked for the first time. We discussed North Korea because I had just returned from a trip there.)
The idea or suggestion that I am or was a "member" of Clinton Global Initiative is just silly -- I think it is just a word the Clinton Global Initiative used in their event program to describe those who were invited and attended. It is never a word I would have used. This was work for me. I sat in the audience and watched. I didn't moderate a panel or give a speech -- I just watched. Besides the two-day event attended by literally thousands (who, unlike the media, did pay I assume), there have been no club meetings, no special dinners, I have paid no dues and certainly there is no secret handshake. I went there for work not for some club like event. Describing me as a member is just weird.
It is fair and smart of you to scrutinize everything that is said on TV -- including by me. I expect and urge you to do that. I certainly do it when I watch TV, but I also know each of you is smart, that you can fact check me with other shows or fact check me with research on the internet and you can and do form your own opinions. My goal is not to tell you what to think -- but rather to challenge us all to make things better. That's what is great about debate and a democracy.
So there you have it.... :)
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