Yesterday’s #AskNewser focused on news network presidents talking about how Covid-19 has permanently changed the industry. As we wrap up 2020, the next two installments of #AskNewser will feature insights on 2020, and 2021 predictions, from on-air talent.
For this installment, we talked to some of the most recognizable names in cable news—Fox News host Laura Ingraham, CNN host Don Lemon, CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, MSNBC anchor/NBC News correspondent Stephanie Ruhle and Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum—about how their shows will evolve under President-elect Biden’s administration, and how they’ve handled the work-from-home process in 2020.
How do you expect your show will evolve in 2021, under a new presidential administration?
Ingraham: With fact-based analysis and a dash of satire, our show will be a fearless check on Biden and the other political and cultural figures who will be running perpetual defense for him. We will also be spreading our wings across America to hear directly from the people who make this country work—regardless of what happens in Washington.
Keilar: We’ve been rigorously fact checking and explaining complicated issues to our viewers, especially this past year, and I don’t see that changing. Americans are suffering, and we’re going to keep calling out people in power, asking tough questions–and follow up questions–and expecting more from guests than just talking points.
We recently rolled the tape on Democratic governors and mayors who were not heeding their own coronavirus guidelines. If there is hypocrisy, dishonesty or an abuse of power, we will be covering it regardless of political party.
President Trump has an unmatched capability for the sheer volume of his lies, but the need for accountability didn’t begin with him and it won’t end with his departure from Washington. There are vocal QAnon supporters who will be sworn into Congress next month. Domestic extremism is on the rise. Social media companies are fertile ground for conspiracy theories. I am sure we will be very busy.
Lemon: We will gladly shift back to reporting on and holding accountable an administration operating in reality. We won’t have to waste so much of our and the viewer’s valuable time debunking outrageous conspiracy theories. We won’t have to be distracted by unwarranted attacks on our profession and ourselves. A return to decency and sanity will be welcome news. All of this will obviously help us Be Best!
What habits did you pick up working from home earlier this year that you’ve brought with you back to the office?
Keilar: I’ve actually been physically coming into work since the pandemic began–in a safe, socially-distanced way, of course. That said, I only see a few coworkers regularly and I’m not operating out of the large studio I was, so chances are there are Uggs on my feet and I’m wearing my dress over yoga pants.
I don’t see most of my coworkers in the halls anymore, so I get really excited to see them in live shots on my show and have even told them I miss them on air, because I do! I used to talk to Dana Bash in makeup every day or swing by Gloria Borger’s office or catch up with Evan Perez in the hall and those lost moments I took for granted are probably the worst part of the pandemic, when it comes to work.
For months, I did my own hair and makeup–which for women in news can eat up a lot of time–and I had to figure out how to prep for my show while doing that. My producer would read out loud to me as I yelled questions over the sound of the hairdryer. Sometimes she reads dramatically, and it’s rather funny. Things get weird when you’re basically out to sea with only a few people on the boat!
Lemon: I often wear sweatpants, shorts or jeans as I am not back in my big studio with a see through plexiglass desk.
MacCallum: We’ve been back in studio since June, and traveled to cover the elections, so we’ve made the transition, and my new habits include saving money. I got in the habit of making my lunch at home and I’m still brown-bagging it these days, back in New York!
Ruhle: Instead of what I’m bringing to the office, it’s what I’ll continue to bring home. One of the most impactful things that’s happened as a result of Covid-19 is I talk to my kids about what’s happening in the world more often. It’s made them more civic-minded. It’s made them care more about the community and the country because they’ve had a front-row seat to all of it while I’ve worked from home.