Bret Baier—along with Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith—is generally considered one of the few Fox News personalities who actually lives up to the network’s old slogan, “Fair & Balanced.” So naturally, Jimmy Kimmel asked him Thursday night how he can stand to work at the same company as someone like Sean Hannity.
Baier made news this past week when he stood up for CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins after she was banned by the Trump White House from an official event for the sin of asking the president questions he didn’t like. “As a member of the White House press pool, Fox stands firmly with CNN on this issue of access,” Baier said on air, much to the dismay of many Fox viewers who, like Trump, prefer to think of CNN as “fake news.”
“I found it reassuring to see journalists sticking together, even though you’re competitors, even though you’re not exactly on the same page from a network standpoint,” Kimmel told Baier.
“It was a no-brainer,” Baier told Kimmel. “You know, I’m on the news side of the house, and you have to stand for access. This is a credentialed person.” He said that “to Fox News’ credit, they stood up right away, it was instantaneous” and pointed out that CNN’s Jake Tapper similarly stood up for him when the Obama administration tried to block Fox News from a round robin interview. “Being a member of the White House press pool is something,” he said. “And I think we need to always stand for that.”
“It seems that the president gets most of his information directly from Fox News,” Kimmel said, “so when you say something at least we know he’s going to hear it and he knows it’s not coming from an ‘enemy’ source.”
Baier, who was on the show to promote his new book, Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire, told Kimmel that while he knows Trump watches his afternoon show occasionally, “obviously, I think he likes the opinion shows a little better than the news shows on Fox.”
Kimmel asked if he might want to split the news and opinion sides of Fox apart so that they don’t get “lumped” in with figures like Hannity and Tucker Carlson. “I would imagine that Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace and yourself, that sometimes you’re not crazy about, perception-wise, being a part of that.”
Baier insisted, “We’re one team, we’re one company,” but also said that “we’re two different businesses entirely.”
“The biggest problem is that people who are the most critical of Fox are usually people who have not watched Fox News,” he added.