Special Report with Bret Baier
An expert in U.S. politics and host of his own show, Bret Baier, catches up with us on surviving the craziest election in history, the popularity of his show, Special Report with Bret Baier, getting family time amid Covid-19 and how listening is the best advice he can give parents of teenagers.
Your show, Special Report with Bret Baier garners more than 2 million total viewers each night! Why do you think the show resonates with viewers so much?
We set up Special Report with Bret Baier to cover the big stories of the day in the U.S. and around the world so that someone watching can get to the end of the hour and feel like they have a straightforward sense of what’s happening. The end of the show features a panel of journalists and columnists who have covered Washington for decades combined. They offer different takes on the issues of the day. I think the success of my show is really due to the fact that it is driven by the news, not personalities.
What do you love most about working on the show?
I love that it’s different every day and it’s a real honor to be able to bring the big stories, the big events, and the big interviews to our viewers. The biggest challenge I have every night is trying to fit it all in under one hour! The bottom line, I get fired up to go to work.
You survived the 2020 election! How did the experience of covering this election differ from past ones?
I thought the 2016 election was crazy. This election night turned into election week and was completely different because of Covid-19 and absentee ballots. The fact that former President Trump never officially conceded the race also made it unique. We, as a country, have a lot of healing to do after the election and the events of January 6th. Hopefully, by covering the news on our show, we can help with that by facilitating listening on both sides, which really needs to happen.
Do you talk politics at home with your family?
Yes. My boys, Paul, 13, and Daniel, 10, had a lot of questions about the election and the issues in the election. Bombarded by TV ads and online commercials, they had a good idea of how each side was portraying the other. They wanted to know more about the process and what it meant to be in control, which I was happy to explain. We can definitely use some more civics lessons across the board. When I was growing up, the Schoolhouse Rock: America cartoon from Disney with “I’m just a Bill and I’m sittin’ here on Capitol Hill” taught me a lot. We need more educational videos like that for kids today.
You’re a dad of two teenage sons – how is quarantine at your house?
We have survived. The boys have had to do a lot of virtual schooling, which can be tough to stay focused and stay engaged. But, they’ve had some success. Fortunately, they have started to head back to school every other week and hopefully in time, will be heading back full time. The silver lining has been the amount of family time I’ve had (usually I am traveling a lot).
How do you keep your sons busy during quarantine?
We go on walks, play basketball, come up with trick golf shots in the backyard, and have even played the occasional board game. Mostly, we try to have dinner together as much as we can and we go around the table talking about the things we want to do when Covid-19 is finished, like the trips we want to take, and the sports we are excited to get back into.
If you had to list 3 good things that came out of Covid-19 (in your life), what would it be?
- Time with my family. I do feel closer to them.
- We got a dog, Coco, just before Covid. She has been a real love and has helped us get through these tough times.
- Since there were only a few sports left that we could do together; our golf games have gotten better. There has been a lot of driving range, chipping, and putting time.
When you’re a teen, your friends are your life. How are your sons dealing with a limited amount of hanging out, etc?
Fortunately, our sons’ school does Covid testing pretty frequently. So our boys have invited friends over to play sports outside or the occasional socially distanced video game. So it is good that they have stayed in touch. I am not a big video game fan, but the way kids can connect with their friends online while playing has worked to keep them socially connected.
Your son, Paul, was born with a heart defect. Can you tell us about how it affects him today and how you deal with it as a family?
Paul was born with five congenital heart defects, so essentially his heart was pumping the wrong way. He has had to have four open-heart surgeries and 10 angioplasties. He’s doing great. His recovery has been quick and he’ll be back in full swing to play golf (his love) very soon. As a family, we try to power through. We pray a lot during the toughest hours and days, and we think about getting to a good place health-wise.
You had another scare earlier last year with a car crash! Thankfully, your family walked away with just minor injuries but looking back, what did the experience put into perspective for you?
The car crash happened on an icy road in Montana driving to the airport after a ski trip. We slid through a stop sign because of the ice, were sideswiped, and then flipped over in a ditch. It was scary. I can still see it all in slow motion in my mind. What it taught us was something we already knew because of Paul. Every moment is precious, time with your family is precious so don’t take it for granted. We were blessed to be able to walk away with minor injuries and thanks to a Good Samaritan who helped pull us out, we climbed out of the flipped SUV quickly.
Being a dad to sons is such an important role! How do you stay connected with your teens?
I try to ask as many questions as they let me without being a pain. We try to have dinner together and talk about the day or any issues or problems they may have. I try to make sure that I know what they are watching on their phones and computers and I try to do as much with them as I can. There will be a time when they don’t want to hang out with me and they’ll just want to be with their friends. But fortunately for me, that is not yet.
What are the biggest lessons you want your sons to learn from you?
The harder you work, the luckier you become. You can do anything you want – you just have to imagine it, work hard, hustle, and dream big. I want them to know that life is what they make it by how they think and feel. And I want them to be respectful of others and be kind. If I can instill at least three-quarters of that, I will be happy.
Any last advice for other parents of teenage boys?
Sometimes I get upset that my boys don’t listen or are too into watching YouTube or some show. But just be patient and carve out a time to talk. The best thing I think parents can do is listen. As an interviewer, listening is just as necessary a skill as asking questions. Don’t just have a list of questions or a list of things to talk to them about. Listen first and then adjust your questions accordingly. Sometimes that’s all they really want – to be heard and appreciated. Parenting is not easy. And it can be frustrating. But it’s also the best thing in the world… so, hang in there.
Written By Rachel Naud