Coppins: When he does things like calling the press “enemies of the American people,” does that concern you?
Baier: Of course it does. Now on the flip side, I will tell you that there have been stories by some organizations where they’ve gotten over their skis. I mean, they’re clearly advocating [against Trump] and not covering [him]. Every time one of those stories happens, it gives ammunition to the president and the people to say it’s all fake news.
Coppins: Fox News often holds itself up as the one outlet with its finger on the pulse of the heartland. How many of your colleagues at Fox saw Trump’s victory coming?
Baier: One: Sean Hannity. Seriously. Maybe two—Laura Ingraham, she was always convinced he was going to win. Most people inside the Fox building believed that Hillary Clinton was going to pull it out. Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham really, truly believed that the country was in a different place. I used to say to Sean, “Really? You think that’s going to happen?” And then I took Uber like 22 times and the drivers were from every ethnicity, around the country. I said, “Listen, you don’t have to tell me, but if you want to tell me, who are you voting for?” And 21 out of 22 people said they were voting for Trump. Every ethnicity! And I said, “This is a moment, you know. This is something that we’re not seeing.” The media missed that.
Coppins: Including you?
Baier: I would include myself. I think we covered it effectively. We covered the anger, we covered the thoughts [that voters had] that both sides suck, and [they wanted to] kick the table over, and something’s got to work better than this. And that’s what happened.
Coppins: How have you accounted for the changing conservative landscape as you’ve assembled the panel each night for your show?
Baier: I try to be balanced in how I book it, but in this landscape, it’s not just left and right. It’s left, right, and Trump. I’ve had to rotate some different people in. Laura Ingraham had been on my show a lot more, as she sort of balanced out my panel from the Trump side. I think that may have led to [her recently announced] 10 p.m. show. I don’t know.
Coppins: During the Obama administration, there were efforts to freeze out Fox News, but for the most part the White House press corps pushed back on that. Do you think your network has shown the same kind of solidarity with President Trump’s favorite punching bags in the media?
Baier: From my perspective, the news side—when there’s been a pushback on those kinds of things like interviews, access—we’ve been fighting along with the White House Correspondents Association for that, even if it wasn’t us. Now, opinion shows clearly have different takes and a loud megaphone, and they had a different stance.
Coppins: With the primetime opinion shows in general, it feels like the media-bashing has been ratcheted up this past year. When you watch this stuff, does it upset you at all as a news guy? I think you know that most journalists are coming from an honest place. Does it bother you to see this stuff?